At the risk of dating myself, I’m proud to say that I was an early adopter of e-mail, Windows 95, Google and many other online technologies that truly made life easier and kept people informed. And while I quickly saw the value of Instant Messaging, the chat room never really appealed to me. So is Facebook the new chat room? Does it make my life easier? Those were the questions that I posed to our Tweeters, Facebookers and MySpacers at our recent holiday party. I got a lot of blank stares and long-winded answers, so I decided the best way to answer the question was to use Facebook for one week.
Signup – a few red flags here: Why are there so many personal questions and why do they need my birth date? (If you connect with me on Facebook, I want you to know that I am not really 103 years old. Please do not call The Today Show on my next birthday.) My strategy during sign-up was to dip my toe into the Facebook waters and reveal as little as possible about myself — I put in my name, and the name of my high school. Once enrolled, I became a fan of the MoreVisibility Facebook page and stare at my blank wall and nearly empty profile. (According to Facebook your birth date is required to comply with the US Child Protection Act.)
I opened up my e-mail to find that a friend from high school has sent me a friend request. My first thought was, how did she find me? Friend request accepted, now it’s time to check out her Facebook page. Apparently my restrained approach to Facebook was way off. In addition to incriminating photos in your profile; several times a day I’m supposed to reveal: Every detail of my life, my inner feelings, thoughts, and all activities.
Someone wrote on my wall? (Your Facebook wall, as I’ve learned, is a section of your profile where others can leave you notes and gifts.) How could they allow someone to clutter my austere profile? Apparently there is no rule against this and it’s actually encouraged.
What is a Good Karma request? I thought I actually had to do good things for people in order to receive positive energy from the universe. In the world of Facebook, all I have to do is ask for it!
Is Facebook the only online company name that is not a capitalized contraction? Shouldn’t it be FaceBook?
More people are looking for me on Facebook? Today I received another friend request, this time from a former co-worker — how are these people finding me? I feel a little too exposed and vulnerable to accept.
I relent and accept the friend request, only to get several more from old acquaintances and co-workers that are connected to him. This is clearly not the place for anyone in the witness protection program. I view the other pages and am truly shocked at the level of activity and the personal connection to their profiles. Facebook users are addicted to and engaged in their community.
After one week of using Facebook I can’t say that I have a definitive answer to all of my questions. But, I do know that Facebook is much more than a chat room and I have warmed to the concept. I realize that, like LinkedIn, Facebook has the power to quickly connect you to the people whose relationships you value. Does it make your life easier? Is it supposed to? Facebook’s goal –and real value– seems to be to help people easily share information, and for that Facebook hit’s a home run.
– 140 million active users and growing with 100 million international users.
– More photos are posted on Facebook than the next 5 photo sharing sites combined.
– More events are publicized on Facebook than any other site (4 times the next event site.)
– Users are engaged and spend more time on Facebook than most other Social Media sites.
Are you a Facebooker?