Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thing 18

Facebook & MySpace: Social Networking

I am a regular Facebook user (used to have a MySpace account but have since converted to f/b). On f/b I am part of several groups including one for staff of the library where I work. The point of that group was to be for us to share information with each other, but so far it's never been used for anything until a few days ago when I posted some photos from our recent staff in-service day & library director's retirement celebration. I have created a group on f/b for students that used to attend the grammar school that my brother and I went to (Orchard Hill Farm School in IL, which, sadly, has since closed). It was a small private school on a farm, complete with horses, sheep and a goat, and multiple grades together in single classrooms. I created the group so that those of us who went there during the school's history could connect and share news with each other. At first, the only members were my brother and I, but we've since grown to 128 members. Aside from these two groups, there other groups I belong on f/b, as well.

I think f/b may be the fastest growing social network because it is so easy to join and navigate. And teens and young adults (there are a few of my much younger cousins & kids I used to babysit who are still in grade school and junior high that are on f/b -- inappropriate in my eyes) can add friends and share information with each other very quickly. They can quickly and easily post pictures, news & silly information, play games, and join groups to make them feel like they belong. I think they like the sense of community and fitting in with others. Plus, for some I think it's a popularity game -- unfortunately (some people have hundreds and thousands of so-called "friends" on f/b).

At times, I think f/b's reputation is deserved, but not all the time. When people treat or use it inappropriately, certainly it's going to get a bad reputation. But the site is also awesome for connecting people with old friends, family members, etc. I have reconnected with several of my old grammar school friends via the OHFS group, and that is very cool. I'm also able to keep in touch with cousins that I don't regularly see and I get to see pictures of their kids and I share them with my parents. Another great thing about f/b is the promotion of events, business and organizations. Our youth services department page at work is regularly updated with program information and photos from recent programs. We also have our youth blog linked to the f/b page, so blog updates such as book reviews, are posted to the f/b page. Very cool.

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