Columnist Jane Binnion: Love or loathe it, Facebook is still popular

Jane Binnion
Jane Binnion
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It’s pretty safe to say that there’s a bit of a love-hate relationship between the UK population and Facebook.

Even so, Facebook is still the most popular of the social media sites.

According to the Office for National Statistics, UK users are the 2nd most prolific Facebook users in Europe. Facebook claims that there are now 24million daily active UK users! It’s also the most popular site across all ages, with the over 45s being the biggest growing group and one in 5 over 65s now on there too.

Those that are most nervous about Facebook associate it with bullying and bad behaviour, and of course there are indeed some unpleasant people on Facebook, but those people are around anyway and will find a way to bully people if they want to. I know there have been some very nasty cases, but at least Facebook comments are public. This allows other people to challenge bullies and show support for the person being bullied , so peer pressure can come into force, and of course there is written evidence if you need to take a case to the police.

Obviously you can always block them and report their behaviour, or just unfriend them. It’s interesting how many people are ‘friends’ with people they don’t actually like.

Facebook is annoying the way it changes things so often, but it’s still a free site and it plays a significant role in society now.

The exciting thing about Facebook for me is the way communities can use it. There was a recent example in Galgate where a burglar had been recorded on CCTV and the image was quickly shared between residents via Facebook until he was caught.

Facebook is also used effectively to find long lost family members and also to communicate important messages, such as in the case of natural disasters or the Free Our Girls campaign in Nigeria.

I’m actually on a bit of a mission at the moment to encourage Lancashire GP surgeries to set up Facebook pages to improve communication with their patient community. Two really good examples of local community pages that you might find useful are What’s On – Morecambe, Lancaster, Heysham and the Lancaster BID page, Lancaster Unlimited, which shares events and news from businesses in the Lancaster BID area. Check them out.