What do Japan's estimated 8 million Facebook users really feel about their experiences on the SNS? Spa! (May 1-8) begins its five-page assessment with the headline "Facebook no Bakayaro!" It's tricky to translate -- something along the lines of "those Facebook idiots!" -- but certainly an unflattering statement at best.
This assessment is based on the results of a survey of 900 male and female users of Facebook, whose ages ranged between 15 and 59, and who reside in Japan's two major metropolitan areas. The survey results were made public on April 5.
To the question, "Does using Facebook cause you to feel stress?" A total of 19% of respondents replied in the affirmative and another 28.4% said they did on occasion. To that, 21.0% said yes they did on rare occasions.
When asked to be more specific about the cause of stress, the most frequently given answer, with 34.3%, was due to lack of privacy when engaging in interpersonal relationships in a frank manner. The second most stressful factor, with 31.1%, was that users felt besieged by meddlesome solicitations (invitations or pitches). Third, with 27.1%, was that they felt they were put on the spot by people's requests to become "friends" and had difficulty refusing. And fourth, with 26.5%, was that users found it annoying to receive messages or notifications from friends of friends, or other parties with whom they had no direct relationship.
In cyberspace, someone with whom you have a relationship in real life can, due to the vagaries of online entanglements, quickly become a nuisance or worse.
"I became a 'friend' of a former instructor at my university," says a 29-year-old man who currently works as a care provider. "He happens to be acquainted with my current boss, and has apparently been confiding with my boss about my personal affairs, which my boss appears to accept unquestioningly as the truth. It's become a real headache for me."
Some of these "friends" may also turn out to be virtual sex predators.
"This guy I met online, even though he's supposedly working late at night at his office, will use chat and pour out the details of his past sexual activities for an hour or longer," complains a 24-year-old woman employed in the IT sector. "He also coerced me into discussing my own sexual indiscretions."
"Since most people register on Facebook using their real names, the stuff they post is visible to others, making it difficult to set up dates, and so on," points out Isseki Nagae, a prolific contributor to the BLOGOS (http://blogos.com/) blog portal who devotes a good deal of space to critiquing Facebook. "If a user transmits too many messages to lots of unspecified people, he also risks having his Facebook account locked. While Facebook has not had problems like the fraudulent ticket sales that reportedly took place on mixi (Japan's most popular SNS with over 20 million users claimed), other types of troubles (he doesn't go into detail) have been increasing."
Nagae cites problems created when some unknown organization set up spurious Facebook accounts, posting the photo of a beautiful women -- who appear to be Chinese or Taiwanese. "When I raised this point on my blog, I got a huge number of hits from Taiwan, which makes me suspect that some unknown organization or group, probably in mainland China, is engaging in large-scale data mining."
"Whatever you do," Nagae adds in the way of advice, "Don't accede to requests from people you don't personally know to accept them as 'friends.' People who claim to have thousands of friends on Facebook are that much more likely to have links to phony accounts or con artists scattered among the mix."
To get the most out of Facebook, critic Tomofumi Hamano recommends that a user needs to learn to deal with its negative aspects in much the same manner that one copes with challenges in real life. "Don't seek to accumulate friendships at random; focus on increasing friends among the kind of people with whom you can exchange views in a casual and unreserved manner," he advises.© Japan Today