Facebook, started by a 23 year-old Harvard student named Mark Zuckerberg with two small servers in his dorm room to keep track of fellow students’ doings, is now the largest photo sharing site in the world. It is all the rage, and Baby Boomers are the largest new demographic group seduced by its charm. Where does Facebook fit into Social Media? It depends on your age, purpose and life situation. I am 61 years old with an expertise in Psychology and Business Networking, and for me Facebook is but a part of my online and face to face networking. Facebook is a tool that allows people to connect with others through pictures and “updates” as well as announcements, opinions, invitations and other forms of online communication.
For me, Facebook is for fun! Though I sometimes post my business activities, it is primarily social and a way to stay connected to family and friends. In many cases it has supplanted email as a form of communication. It is also an excellent way to find people from my past, though my age group is still under represented compared to people under 35. I enjoy making humorous and philosophical comments, as well as commenting on others’ situations or posts. One interesting aspect of Facebook is that you can engage in online communication with others with whom you wouldn’t ordinarily contact. In fact, there are a number of people with whom I have Facebook communication that I don’t even know their phone number, email address or where they live. It is this kind of worldwide online community.
Some people post their innermost thoughts and even bodily functions. Some are quiet observers or even voyeurs. In some cases our Facebook “friends” are not really friends at all. As a serious networker, Facebook is more social, more fun, less business. For others, it is merely an extension of their business world.
The core of Facebook is visual: pictures, albums, and the like. It is also a way to announce important events life births, weddings and other passages. You can publicly post things on others’ “Walls” or send private emails to “friends.” You have to be careful though, because public postings can be seen by everyone in your friend network. An intesting aspect of Facebook is that of developing communication exclusively on Facebook with people with whom you are not particularly close, or eavesdropping on their communications with others. Some “Facebook skeptics” eventually join because they want to see if Bobby’s baby is as cute as everyone says he is. Facebook has left My Space in the dust, but only time will tell if it is here to stay.
Now I will Retweet this post on Twitter, which will be the subject of another posting.