Maybe I’m a little late to the party, but last week I finally dipped my toes in this Facebook fad.
I called a lot of other communication technologies fads too. There was the cell phone, CB radios, land line phones, telegraph, smoke signals and cave wall pictographs.
None of them lasted and I predict neither will Facebook.
I had resisted going on Facebook for years, thinking with e-mail why would I need this other aggravation.
Lots of folks from church are on Facebook, old friends from school and Rotary, even my mother recently activated a Facebook account and began posting.
I never get a real e-mail from my mother, just forwarded jokes and inspirational messages so maybe I’ll be able to better track her through Facebook. Lately if I want to know where she is I have to call one of her friends.
I relented after I got an e-mail from an old friend commenting on a column in which she mentioned Facebook. I figured it would be a perfect way for my wife to reconnect with this friend so I told her I would sign up on Facebook, figure it out and then help her.
I knew immediately after I registered I was in trouble. Somehow through my e-mail contacts and their friends networks I immediately had dozens of folks I actually knew that I could ask to add me as a friend.
Evidently they’re all paying attention out there in Facebookland because most of them Facebooked me back. Even my mother.
After several nights of getting to bed late because I was reading up on the people in my friends list I figured out this is going to be a chore keeping up. Not unlike television became bubblegum for the mind, I think social networking has the potential to do something similar to our society.
The power of this new tool is actually pretty intimidating if you stop and think about it.
What I post has the potential to reach lots of people I don’t know, people who may not even care about what I have to say. Sorta like a columnist in a local newspaper. Who cares what that rascal has to say and why does he keep showing up in my newspaper anyway?
To me I think this experience can best be described as a blending of several traditional, forms of communication. Cave wall drawings, which were likely done to inform others and entertain the one drawing, smoke signals, which might have been sent up to communicate directly to one individual but were seen by everyone within 50 miles and postcards, which can now be sent electronically through a social networking site using a mobile device.
A coworker who has never even had a cell phone makes fun of those of us who blindly dive into all this technology and become so reliant on it. After seeing how much time I’ve already wasted on Facebook, I think he could be a 21st century prophet.
In the meantime, friend me on Facebook if you like.