Pat Egen’s Weblog

Ramblings, chats, thoughts, ideas

Facebook – the next frontier

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My last several blog entries have been talking about Twitter and social networking.  During  my journey of discovery, it quickly became apparent I also needed to look at Facebook.

I had a Facebook page that I had started months ago but never did anything with.  Having not spent much time logged in I had no idea what the Facebook environment entailed and what it had to offer.

To learn more about what was going on I decided to update my Facebook page and start poking around.  Well, if I thought Twitter was amazing, Facebook blew it away.  In fact, it’s much more viral.

Within a day, I was getting emails from friends asking me to connect with them on Facebook.  I get emails from LinkedIn connections, but not nearly so fast.  This was literally within hours. 

Not only friends contacted me, but family members I hadn’t heard from in decades.  There was a tragic death in my family and my niece was trying to reach  me.  She found me on Facebook and sent me an email.  I had lost touch with her and didn’t know her married name so it was impossible for me to find her.  Instead, she found me.  The circumstances were a sad one, but the results were phenomenal.

That was just the beginning.  I started to explore the applications, some of which are just downright annoying.  Some, however, are fun and make it interesting to use Facebook.

My network started to broaden based on who my friends were linked to.  It’s not quite the same as Twitter where people you don’t know start following you because you posted a very public comment and they thought it was interesting.  On Facebook, you get connected to people similar to Linkedin.  These are connections you know and trust.  Next, I learned that people update their status on Facebook which posts on their “wall.”  You can see what people have said, and they, in turn, can see what has been written on your wall.  People can comment on your status or on any links, pages, or groups you have set up.  It’s a wonderful way to market a business, or champion a cause.  The next thing I did was connect Twitter to Facebook.  By that I mean I enabled the Twitter connection on Facebook so my Twitter comments updated my “status” on Facebook. 

This weekend, though, I found out the real power of Facebook.  I was working on an issue with an Act conversion.  I was lamenting about the complexity of moving attachments during my conversion.  Three of the people connected to me on Facebook saw my status update and commented with suggestions on what I could use to handle my situation.  That was a surprise and extremely helpful.  And unexpected.

Later in the evening, someone else commented on something posted by another of our “friends in common” and I liked what I read and commented as well.  The topic was cooking and a nice long dialog started.  I thought this would be good as a group and setup one and invited the people in the discussion to the group.   Several others noticed the group and joined as well.  Within minutes.  That’s what I meant by viral – it spreads like a virus.  But a good virus.

As I watched the events occur during the evening, it hit me that this was way beyond emailing and instant messaging.   If I wasn’t on Facebook, and wanted other people to know what was happening, I would have had to send out a broadcast email  or instant message to everyone.  Point of fact, I wasn’t really asking for help – I was commenting on something that was happening during my day.  The help came free of charge – without me asking.  Whoa Nelly, that’s amazing.   I didn’t have to send it an all points bulletin to everyone.  

Well, actually, by posting my status, I did send it out.  But in a different way.  I “posted it” to my Wall.  Anyone logged onto Facebook who was connected to me saw my status updates.  The notification section told them I had posted an update.   It’s like Twitter, but different.  It’s Twitter on steroids.

So, where does this take me in my journey of discovery.  Well, a lot further down the trail.  I realize you need both.  Twitter is the short, quick updates of 140 characters that you can manage updates from a phone.  Facebook is a page of your life.  Your Twitter updates are there to update your status and spread the word, if that’s what you are trying to accomplish.  Facebook then takes it to the next level allowing you add groups and specifically target projects, business applications and personal interests, like cooking.

It’s not a case of which one you use.  You use them both.  It’s how you use them to the best advantage that is the question. My next step is to figure this out along with how LinkedIn fits into the puzzle.

Oh, and warning, don’t get sucked into the games that Facebook has.  I was sent an Easter Egg and several hours later I am still here gathering away.  Help me – I’ve fallen and I can’t get up……

Ciao for now.

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Written by pregen

February 16, 2009 at 4:08 am

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