So you e-mail and you “Google”. Many readers tell me that’s all they do with their PCs; but is that all there is? What’s next for the inquiring mind? Dare I say “Social Networking”? What is that all about? It’s away to share information; have fun on line, waste time and even conduct business; all at the same time. Actually we’ve always been social networkers; we just did it in different ways. My consulting business is built almost entirely on networking for example. I do work for someone and if they like my work, they tell a friend and hopefully pass along one of my cards and that generates business for me.
There are many social networking Websites on the Internet today including special ones for just about any interest you may have, but I want to focus this column on the phenomenon that is Facebook. Facebook now has over 200 million members; not just kids and college students, but young adults and seniors and businesses and enterprises all over the world. Approximately 70 % of the members are outside the U.S. One of the fastest growing demographics is women over 55. Half of the total membership logs in at least once a day.
If you’re ready to dip into this fast growing phenom, surf on over to Facebook.com and create yourself a space. Make it easy on yourself, just fill in the bare minimums, a simple profile and get your page up and running so that you can start learning the language and building a network of “friends”. Start by searching your address book for people who are already on Facebook. You type in a email address and Facebook will know if someone with that address is already a member. Now, send them a request to be your “friend” and you are off. Once you have a friend, you’ll see how easy it is to look over their friends and see if you have any in common. Once others see you on Facebook, they’ll start sending you requests to be friends. You’ll be amazed how fast your network will grow.
Will you be exposed to inane, time wasting information about people and subjects you care nothing about? Absolutely! But you’ll also hear interesting news about people that you care about; you’ll see pictures of that niece or nephew in Iowa; you’ll find friends that you went to school with and you’ll hear news about events and subjects from the perspective of people that you are “friends” with. You may even become friends with some of your “friends”.
Still not convinced? Remember back to the first time you saw someone talking in public on a cell phone. Were you skeptical then? Look how cell phones have changed your way of communicating and interacting with people. Want to communicate better with your children or grandchildren? Facebook membership may allow you to sit back and watch them and gain some useful insight. They may even think you’re cool when you send them a Facebook message or write something on their “Wall”.