Saturday, May 29, 2010

Facebook Turns Two for Me Today

Over time Scott & I both have a somewhat spotty record in terms of posting to our blog, in part because it's so much easier to share things in other environments such as ASAE's listserv and acronym. It's certainly where all our friends and competitors in the association world hang out, so I know I haven't ever written much personal here. I do envy friends such as Shelly Alcorn being able to bring much more personality to their posts than certainly I ever do. 

But for a change of pace, I thought I'd commemorate a small milestone in my own online development. As I was cleaning my email I saw my very first user greeting from Facebook. I guess that maybe made me the 100 millionth user in a community that now has more than 500 million. I know from our research that there are two predominant views of social media: as a business tool and a personal tool. I am never quite certain where I fall as I have been able to use LinkedIn un-self consciously to track 750ish of my business friends, former colleagues and clients and to post the occasional message promoting the next event I'm speaking at.

But Facebook has morphed into something so much more personal that it's hard to think of it in the same league as a "business tool." Sure, I flag myself as a fan of my friends' companies, but as I look through my list of friends I find people I haven't spoken to in person since junior high and I find myself commenting on notes from people I probably sit next to and do not speak to directly at happy hour at Hard Times Chili, just because they also know my favorite waitress. The analyst in me thinks of the classic social networking diagram that shows the web of contacts we form in any workplace--using the number of contacts we make to establish who's in the loop, who's not, who's a connector, who's influential, and who operates in relative isolation.

Sometimes it really is better to not overthink things. I would have no idea how to craft a message that "works" just as well for my cousins who are ministers in Oregon, high school friends from Idaho who kindly shoot and share images from my hometown, including the house I few up in (above, just behind the farm implement store in tiny New Plymouth Idaho), and the association execs and consultants who are my primary contacts in life today in Washington DC. I guess I'll just write what's on my mind and to enjoy a tool that shrinks the scary outside world into a place where a few hundred of the people who have touched my life over the years "live." I can hear all about their lives, their bad jokes, their children's proms and graduations, and even sometimes still play the smart-aleck teenager I used to be even after the wrinkles and bald spots serve as a constant reminder that I am no longer a puppy. As someone without a family and who primarily works alone today, I appreciate even more the luxury of being able to "speak" to people I never see in person. Even our school reunion in two weeks, the first one I've ever attended, is hard to picture without having something like this to link us together when and how we want to be linked.

Thanks, Facebook!   -Kevin (NPHS Class of '82)

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Kevin. For all its flaws, Facebook has enriched the quality of my life in ways I could never have anticipated just a couple of years ago. I've connected with a ton of friends from high school, college, and everywhere I've lived or worked since. Besides answering a lot of "what ever happened to so-and-so?" questions, these were mostly people I liked then, and find that I still do. It's let me stay connected with my siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins all around the country. It lets me share things I care about and has exposed me to some amazing things I would never have known about otherwise. I doubt I spend more than a half-hour a day with it -- and I go through stretches where I don't visit it for days at a time -- but I always find it's time well spent.