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October 27, 2008

TIme to Get on Facebook

I have been on Facebook for about a year now. When I first joined, I was highly dubious but I am now sold on the idea. It has some serious advantages over other online stuff, and some interesting potential--and is a great way to organize and promote activities such as the vintage dance and historical activities in which I am so deeply involved.

When I first joined, it was at the urging of a local friend, and I joined because, as a professional web guy, I really needed to find out what all the fuss was about. For about six months, I had three friends, and all it seemed to be about was movie quizes and other time wasters.

Then, a bunch of other friends got onto Facebook, and I started to see how "Groups" and "Pages" could be used to link up people with shared interests and keep them informed about upcoming events. It also provided a degree of interactivity that is not available on a conventional website.

People can join your groups or become "fans" of your pages, and thus affiliate themselves on an ongoing basis with your activity. You can use these sites to send out periodic emails and updates and your fans can post their own pictures and make comments, which can make your supporters more invested in your activity.

Further, unlike email distribution lists, your Facebook messages cannot be blocked by errant spam filters.

On a personal basis, it has the effect of keeping you connected with a wide range of people whom you may know from your current activities, school, your past life, your job and your interests. It is very interesting and kind of nice getting little updates from old friends whose lives would otherwise be a mystery to you--even if you haven't got the time to write regular messages to them.

Given the popularity of social networking with the young, there will be an interesting phenomenon in the future, as these young people enter the workplace and yet continue to maintain contact with almost everyone they ever went to school, worked or hung out with.

Social networks, like Facebook, are the future of the web. You can resist it, but in doing so, you will find yourself getting left out of the action. One speaker at a conference I recently attended said it would make you irrelevant. I think that is an overstatement, but you will soon find yourself to be the last to know.

It's not difficult, even for the computer-phobic. It's free. Give it a try.

PS: I would recommend Facebook over MySpace (too frivolous--full of spam), Tribes (not as big) and Tagged (annoying--seems to be all about hooking up.)



Posted by Walter at 10:34 AM