The fascination of social media is soaring up at a phenomenal speed. Young generations, especially teenage are becoming crazy for the buzzing media even so middle-aged people are not lagging behind.
And this is not a typical scene of Bangladesh alone; it is a worldwide phenomenon. According to the global ranking of popularity, social networking sites are stand in the following order – Facebook, twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, My Space, Whatsapp and so forth. Needless to say, that Facebook is the most-ever trendy social network in Bangladesh and in some parts of the world.
According to the statistics of ‘Internet Live Stats’, cited by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and World Wide Web Foundation as of July 1, 2016, there are 21,439,070 Internet users in Bangladesh which is 13.2 % (penetration) share of Bangladesh population, 0.6 % share of the World Internet Users and users change in one year in the country is 10.4 %.
CIA World Factbook’ country profile on Bangladesh reports that the internet users in the country is 24.33 million and country comparison to the world is 42th as of last updated on December 12 last year. Though, the local tech experts predict that the amount could be more even twice unofficially.
And Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) indicates that overwhelming 80 percent internet users of Bangladesh are on social networking website i.e. Facebook. State Minister for Information and Communications Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak made the disclosure saying, a new user of social networking site Facebook is being added in every 12 seconds in Bangladesh which is more than the birth rate of the country.
The number of Facebook users in Bangladesh was only 10,000 in 2008 but now the figure stood at 3 crore he remarked while addressing a round-table discussion in mid of 2015. So, it could guess that at least 10 percent increase to till today usages of Facebook, I assume.
On the other hand, accordingly, a report published by a national Bengali daily, citing Socialbakers ( a social media analytic) the ratio of the age group of Facebook users in Bangladesh are 73% of 13-25 age, 20% of 26-34 age, 5% of 35-45 age 2% above of 45 age respectively. So the figures no doubt portrait that youths are at the forefront of Facebook users in the country.
The statement of the BTRC further depicts that the social media platform has earned significant growth. So, for sure, it witnesses that the socialization process is mounting at an amazing pace with the escalating use of the internet.
For instance, the Government of Bangladesh had banned the Facebook and other online messaging and calling services in the country for 21 days citing security reasons in November 2015. About 50 percent of social media users bypassed the blocked ones and used Facebook through free VPN services as is known from various media sources. Though they are violating the law in a sense, it nonetheless shows their craze for Facebook.
On the other hand, it is a very good sign that rate of internet abuse in the country is less than in any other developing countries. According to the BTRC, law enforcement and other intelligence agencies, the amount of internet abuse in the country is less than 10 percent. For this reason, businesshabit.com a business blog site has recommended that Bangladesh is a tech-friendly country and here many potential employees and Facebook users are available.
Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook should not late to open its office in Bangladesh and to understand the importance of this, the blog site included. However, one thing I noticed as a result of Facebook fascination is that people are fervently serving as social media journalists, though they may not be conscious about their latent talent and that they are performing a great job. Many Facebook posts and writings are noticeable where people inscribe their personal diary, sightseeing, any video or any stories rich in content.
If they can derive some journalistic knowledge, they can surely produce reports or stories of the highest standard. Or, if those videos are to be captured and edited by professional hands, those would be really a good piece of work. Alongside this, photos and video shots on Facebook sometimes serve as measures for crime prevention as well. All of the above things fall into the category of citizen journalism which many of us are not even aware of.
Consequently, so many youths are engaged in f-commerce (doing business through Facebook) is also tinted issue of the use of the Facebook nevertheless it is not spotlighted as expected. They are selling their products and services through organic Facebook posts which are a cheaper and easier way of marketing.
The concept ‘Citizen Journalism’ is based on public citizens who are non-professional journalists without regard to age and gender and they produce news for public interest including either text, pictures, audio or video. But it’s basically all about intentionally some kind of communicating information and the main feature of citizen journalism is that it’s usually found on online.
Such writings and posts in various instances come to the news feed of our Facebook are sometimes helpful, learning and create awareness among us, though tiny measured examples of citizen journalism are rarely found in our country while peoples’ interest of use of Facebook varies person to person.
Chris Measures, a renowned British Social Media and Public Relations expert, in his blog-site Revolutionary Measures, worded an article titled ‘The rise of citizen journalism’. In this write-up the author highlighted the spread of the term, saying pretty much everyone now has the means to report what is going on in the world around them.
Even the most basic phone has a camera and it is simple to post images, video and text to social media sites at the click of a button. Consequently – citizen journalists – ordinary people doing the job of trained reporters – are everywhere.
So, the social media users in our county can take the platform as an optimistic way serving the society in the four following ways:
1. Awareness of any issue or innovation for public interest;
2. Crime Prevention & Counter Radicalisation;
3. Self-development and Personal Branding and
4. Entrepreneurship development.
For the sake of internet, days are becoming easier than before. Social media becomes an ingredient of daily life. Not only for socialisation and pleasure but also to work for citizen journalism and f-commerce can be core mode use of Facebook to bringing more urbane of the society is expected.
The Writer is a freelance Journalist, CEO of NewsfeedPR and a fellow alumnus of International Exchange Alumni of US Department of State