|Sorapon "Gorn" Witchurungsee of Thailand|
Gorn is a lawyer in Thailand. He is preparing to enter the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas this fall to begin his studies for the LL.M. degree. After completing his studies in the United States, Gorn plans to return to Thailand and to work there in the legal field.
Below is Gorn's essay.
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By Sorapon Witchurungsee
Using Facebook surprises me because some of my friends behave differently on Facebook from in person. For example, one of my friends talks too much on Facebook—considering how often she posts a day—but in person she seldom talks with others at all.
From my experience with Facebook, I categorize my friends into 5 categories.
- People who like showing off
- People who analyze situations and share information
- People who love describing their emotion
- People who do business
- People who want to keep contact with their friends
People who like showing off
I am not sure why people share their pictures on Facebook; I do not even know why I share my own pictures. However, I assume that one reason is to show scenes of their lives with their family so that their parents can know how well they are doing.
People in this group always love taking photos—of themselves, their friends, tourist attractions, or whatever they think may become the best shots. As soon as they have gotten the beautiful shots, they will upload them on Facebook—if they take photos with a camera rather than a cell phone, they will upload them later.
The consequence of showing pictures on Facebook is that friends will make comments and/or give a like on pictures. Showing photos is one of the best ways to keep in touch with friends because some pictures can be a good discussion topic, such as old high school pictures, or new pictures of an old hang-out.
People who analyze situations and share information
Some of my friends on Facebook belong to this category. They always analyze political or social issues and share the analyses on Facebook. Some are experts, such as the law school professors who illustrate issues and/or give opinions to their students and other people. Some are amateurs who love to show their visions of problems. Besides giving their own analyses, they like sharing the analyses of others whom they agree with.
Sharing specific points of view may cause conflict with Facebook friends who hold opposing views. However, people in this category also like to share helpful information, mottos, or encouraging statements to motivate their friends on Facebook. In addition, they strive to make the world a better place by sharing pictures or statements for helping poor people. For example, my friend Aoe shared a request for anyone with the rare AB-type blood to help someone in need, her own professor. No matter what the result is, sharing this kind of information can make the world more beautiful.
People who love describing their emotion
In the past few years, expressing emotions was limited to a few people: friends, parents, sisters, brothers, or anyone immediately involved. However, now with technology like Facebook, people can express their emotion to a larger group than they did in the past.
Happiness, sadness, frustration, and excitement are examples of emotions people express through Facebook every single day. It is good to share a happy moment or release an annoyance via Facebook because friends are supposed to stay together in every single moment whether happy or sad. People can get encouragement and various solutions via Facebook whenever they face a problem.
However, even though you can make people happy by sharing a positive moment, or can find true friends standing up for you when you face a negative moment, the most important thing that you must be aware of is that sharing emotion too often makes you a complainer.
People who do business
Marketing, increasing consumption to gain a massive amount of profit, is the key of success in business. The more people know your products, the more successful you are; therefore, advertisement is crucial.
Technology changes people’s behaviors, that is, people play more on Facebook and spend less time on watching television and listening to the radio. Therefore, my friends interested in setting up business choose Facebook to advertise their products for two main reasons: free and easy. Not only my friends who begin to do business, but also the huge companies in the world—such as Apple, Microsoft, Toyota—use Facebook as one of their advertising strategies.
These users do their business by posting their commodities on their Facebook status. Then, the advertisement will show on their friends’ feed. Besides, sometimes they tag the picture of the advertisement to their friends so that the picture can appear on the feed of their friends’ friends. Another way to advertise on Facebook is to create a Facebook page devoted to the product and convince people to be a member by giving a like. This measure, in my opinion, is more polite than tagging an advertisement to other users because this measure depends on the willingness of the users, whether they want to give a like or not.
The people in this category sometimes irritate other users who are not interested in buying a commodity and want to use Facebook for other purposes. Therefore, users in this classification should use Facebook with discretion, balancing between running their business and respecting other users.
People who want to keep contact with their friends
This group of my friends rarely has any movement in their Facebook, such as posting messages, sharing pictures and/or information, giving a comment or a like. Most actions on their Facebook happen with specific purposes: keeping contact with their friends and tracing what is going on with their friends, such as who is about to get married, what their friends’ new jobs are, and when the reunion party will be.
For example, I belonged to this category of Facebook users when I became a monk for two weeks in November, 2012. (In Buddhist tradition, young men should be a monk to show their gratefulness toward their parents.) Before entering the monastery, I used Facebook to announce my event to my friends as well as to ask them to forgive my former bad actions, for Buddhists believe that before becoming a monk, one should receive forgiveness from whomever one has wronged, whether through action, speech, or thought. Many of my friends—both close and not close—got this news through Facebook. They also congratulated and forgave me through this channel. Without Facebook, it would have been hard to contact many of my friends under the limited time.
Posting messages, sharing pictures and/or information, or giving a comment or a like not only can keep friends in touch with each other but also can bring friends closer. The reason is those kinds of actions can cause long intimate conversations between friends.
Even if these categories are distinct, a person can belong to more than one category. From time to time, people can change from one category to another category. Moreover, a new category may emerge. Whatever category you belong to, using Facebook has both upsides and downsides; therefore, people should use Facebook with courtesy.
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Thank you, Gorn Witchurungsee, for this excellent analysis of Facebook uses and users!
Our next post will take you with us on our most recent LIEP field trip to the Louisiana Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, Louisiana!