Facebook makes the world a small place


Facebook, the popular social networking platform, has provided people with opportunities to showcase their skills in a variety of areas and solidify their profiles while sharing information and ideas with others spread out across the globe.
With many people having left Zimbabwe over the past years in pursuit of more rewarding lives as their home country experienced an unprecedented political and economic meltdown, the utility has provided them with a chance to hook up.
Although some have kept lines of communications with their loved ones through telephones and mobile phones and e-mail, Facebook went a step further –through its chat-room facility – in affording them an opportunity for a live chat experience with someone thousands of kilometres away.
UK-based Langton Makawa describes the networking forum as a “miracle” which has enabled him to have “minute-by-minute tabs” on developments back home despite the distance that has separated him from his family for six years.
“Through the pictures posted on friends and relatives’ walls, I can even see how many people I left when they were very young are growing up,” he said.
The forum provides a facility whereby an individual can post their pictures on their personal walls.
There are also some people who have used Facebook as a marketing springboard for their products.
Namibian based journalist and award-winning author, Wonder Guchu, says: “Facebook has given me a big platform for experimenting with my ideas and new skills.”
He says the social network is “a testing ground” that allows him to interact with his readers as they often give immediate feedback.
Sometime early this year, Guchu began serializing a comedy strip called Kumafulatsi Kwanetsa which read like a social satire tracing the lives of people living at a block of flats in Harare’s Avenues area.
He was, however, forced to remove the strip, which has began to command a huge following on Facebook, after some company decided to buy the rights to publish the play after it had hit its 35th episode.
Guchu says last year, he also ran 50 chapters of his forthcoming book I Died the Day I Fell in Love on Facebook.
“It was well received and I got people in-boxing me with their details of how their romantic affairs were like. I later used their experiences to enrich my account,” Guchu says.
Sally Machivenyika of Chitungwiza says through the platform, she has been able to track down former high school friends with whom she had since lost touch over 10 years ago.
“It’s amazing. When we started communicating again through Facebook, it was like we had never parted. I was amazed to discover that most of my friends from school are now in the UK,” she says.
Another ardent Facebook fanatic, Ashleigh Matongo of Greendale, says since she started using Facebook, she has become addicted.
She adds: “I can spend the whole day on Facebook. Of course, I’ll be working, but now and again I’d go on Facebook to chat with friends or write e-mails.”
Robert Saizi of Warren Park D says one of his friends found his girlfriend through Facebook after they had become friends because of their common interests and as one step led to another, they ended up falling in love.
The Internet social network’s explosive growth in users and advertisers boosted 2009 revenue to as much as $800 million as it is increasingly making money off its 6-year-old service, which ranks as the world’s largest Web social network with nearly half a billion users.
The booming social networking site dreamed up by Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard in 2004, is probably now the world’s largest global internet social network, having displaced MySpace from the top spot.
Information Technology specialist, Mark Sibanda, says over the last few years, Zimbabweans have increasingly caught up with the new technological wave sweeping over the world.
He noted that technologies such as Facebook are part and parcel of the world’s globalisation process in which communication with people in far-flung places all over the globe can have live communication via the internet through facilities such as Facebook.