Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reflections on Facebook

Last June. I received an invitation to join Facebook from a friend I knew through an organization I have done a lot of work for and with. I really knew nothing about Facebook but pulled the trigger and signed up on July 21. (No…I did not have that date committed to memory…you have a history of all of your updates…click on Profile…scroll to the end of the page and continue to click on show me more updates…the first one will be the date you joined. This is likely an exercise worth performing…not so much to remind you of the date you joined but for you to understand what the “record” reveals about you and for you to understand the picture that you are painting about yourself).

So….I gradually and in spurts added friends which were an interesting group of family, folks I would introduce to you as a friend, and then acquaintances who I really did not know but heck….they asked me to be their friend…how could I say no?

So…..I’m 50 plus years old and my peer group thinks I’m quite tech savvy. I suppose what that means is I know almost as much as the AVERAGE middle class 14 year old, although that might be too strong. They likely know more. So, when I asked my real, lifelong friends to join, they trusted my judgment and signed up. This post is for them.

Facebook is a social networking site. So, when you log onto Facebook, you are in a virtual room with all of your “friends”. Now…you can lurk around and watch and listen. Quite a few folks do this. And why is this their chosen response? (1) Facebook can take a lot of time, particularly if you don’t keep it in its place. So….no time for yet another distraction….makes some sense. (2) Just like the real analog world, people are individuals…some are introverted and some are extroverted. Some are good listeners and some just can’t wait to talk….and you see that reflected in Facebook. (3) Some folks are more conscious than others about “the record”. I have a lot of friends that are lawyers…they…understandably…have a heightened sense of how the “record” can be used. It seems to me like to get the most out of Facebook, you likely want to do some participation….i.e. make a status update entry with some regularity…….and that can be once a week. If you want to paint a more complete picture, perhaps more often is warranted….but I do think some participation only makes sense…..sort of along the line of give what you want to receive…..but be mindful of the “record”.

Most of my immediate family does not live in Charleston… I know my nephew is in Puerto Rico, my son is studying some sort of math I don’t have any clue about, and I see my granddaughter on her new bike.

Some of my friends make a habit of posting great articles about national/international events or WVU sports. I read most of them….you get a sense after a while about friends whose perspective you might find interesting or even occasionally compelling……even if you don’t agree with the perspective.

You are building your network in a reasonably cheap manner. This might be good for business or in some way satisfy your need to be connected.

Here’s an interesting link for beginners.

There’s way more about all of this I could reflect upon but I think BLOG entries need to be quick reads. I have thoughts about mobile devices and Facebook, Twitter, the topic of “unfriending”, (I think this might become a legitimate verb), the topic of not having your friend request acknowledged but for right now, I think I need to clean up the house…that’s today’s status update.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Hi Dave, I love your post regarding Facebook. You did a great job explaining some of its benefits. I might also mention that it is so much FUN. I had no idea about the entertainment I was missing out on before I joined in October.

Also, it's a wonderful way to find old friends. I found folks I'd inadvertently lost touch with over the years and it has been such a joy to reconnect with them, even when it generally means simply watching their posts and experiencing the challenges and joys from afar.

You mention networking as a benefit. I also see it as a potential social change engine, which I suppose is a form of networking or marketing. FB provides such a terrific platform for bringing up new (or old) ideas and increasing understanding.

Anyway, thanks for posting your thoughts on the topic. I loved reading them.