Facebook – facing up to Facebook
22, October, 2007 2 Comments
I’d been resisting it – received invitations from people I didn’t really know or perhaps could not remember – invitations to become their friend in Facebook. I had resisted it, and simply deleted the email messages.
But I finally succumbed. And all in the name of education and research! After all, with so much written and said about the new social networking site, how could I, as a self-respecting educator, much less one who’s exploring new media, not know Facebook? I mean, it only has 34 million users across the globe (according to Wikipedia), with the number rising everyday. Anyway, like I’ve said, it’s all in the name of research.
So, what is Facebook and how did it start? It”s all very much Web 2.0, with the creator wanting to have something to help people communicate and keep in touch and keep up with each others’ lives. If you look at the log in page, it looks innocently simple and inviting. It says, “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.” It goes on to add
|Everyone can use Facebook —|
And how true, with reports showing that Facebook is now being used not just by the young digital natives, but by many young-at-heart digital immigrants too.
According to Wikipedia’s info on Facebook and its history, its famous creator, Mark Zuckerberg, launched it in Feb 2004 for Harvard students, but its use quickly spread and now it seems, everyone’s on Facebook.
The site is so successful that Yahoo made a bid for it to no avail. Recently, there was talk that Microsoft also made a bid for it, to no avail. Looks like either Mark Zuckerberg is so naively idealistic and passionate about his site, so much so that he quit Harvard to run it, or he’s one astute technoprenuer holding out for the best bid to make him one of the youngest billionaires around.
In any case, my initial use of Facebook was pretty ho-hum. So I created my profile and invited some friends to join in. Some did and some didn’t (“Why? Email not good enough?” asked one of them.) But over the days, I’ve discovered how convenient it really is to keep in touch! Due to the interactive and interconnected nature of Facebook, I’ve been able to keep in touch with old friends and colleagues who had kept in touch with others, and so the network grows.
It’s a pretty cool way to keep up with your friends. I say friends, as frankly, all that adding of people just to up your social circle numbers is just sad. It’s not the quantity but the quality that really matters.
But I’ve heard of how people have used Facebook in pretty interesting ways – to check up on potential boyfriends/girlfriends/bosses/exployees/room mates, etc. Which also highlights an important consideration. Be careful of what you post online. More importantly, be careful of what others post about you online – like what they scrawl on your Facebook walls, and all. But then again, can you really control what they say and write?