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On its 9th birthday, Facebook loyalists talk about their association with the platform
The world's most loved social networking website, Facebook, is turning nine today. Launched on 4 February 2004, it has grown with its one billion users, adding many features in these nine years. While talking to Facebook loyalists, this citizen journalist (who also falls in the same group) tried to understand the appeal of the networking website.

Sumedha Goswami, corporate communication executive at Dr. Reddy's, says: “Facebook has improved my social life in a way that the website has brought back many old friends and classmates in my life once again. I believe it is very powerful and through this, it is easier to reach people. Professionally also, the social networking website has proved to be very efficient as these days most of the organizations and creative people have formed their own pages, which have made these organizations easy to reach to and interact with.”

However, Goswami points out that the platform has not improved her personal communication skills. “I still communicate the way I used to. Although, the need to think before writing something is paramount here. However, as some people swear by the network, it is not so for me. If I have access to it, well and good, if not, then it doesn't bother me,” she says.

Ashim Sunam, sports journalist, feels that he needs to know what his friends are up to, at least, once in every 24 hours. Talking about his addiction, he says, “Facebook has become part and parcel of life now. You can't do without logging in at least once, no matter what. With communication made easy through Facebook, my social life has definitely seen an upward trend. It is so easy for someone to arrange a party or a gathering with friends as well.”

After researching on the subject, I feel that people these days lead dual lives, and doing well in the virtual world has become very important. According to Ankit Huss (for anyone who doesn't get his surname, he has rechristened himself as he is an ardent fan of Australian cricketer Mike Hussey, and insists on using this name), most of the people take to Facebook to escape the realities of the real world.

For Ashish Arora, a copywriter, Facebook is a stress buster. “Our daily lives are hectic and day in and day out, we are so involved in our jobs, meetings and business luncheons that we hardly take time out to socialize. Thus, thanks to Facebook, which allows us a virtual stay-in-touch technique, we do not feel that isolated. It has definitely helped us improve our social life and also our communication," he feels.

B. Alekhya, mother and a working woman, who doesn’t find time to call her friends up, believes she would be lost without Facebook. “On the flip side, it is an addiction as well,” she adds.

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