Sunday, October 19, 2008

Facebook as a Mirror on Lives

I first signed up for Facebook in the middle of last year, and since then, it has been an experiment for me. I work in high-tech marketing, and many of my co-workers and clients have asked, repeatedly, how Facebook and other new-media tools fit into their programs. Being on Facebook, and Twitter, and some of the other social media tools, allows me to best respond.

At the same time, my work and non-work lives have overlapped. My friends on Facebook are a combination of current and former co-workers, old and new friends, classmates from the Norwich Free Academy and Boston University, and acquaintances I met on the various campaign trails and in my neighborhood.

There are good and bad things about being connected. First and foremost, Facebook, and this blog, allow me to update several people at once. I remember when a few friends of mine would send update letters in the mail on their lives. Typically timed to the holidays, the letters would give a snapshot into new homes, new travels, and new careers. I can't imagine ever having to write a series of letters, given the new media tools available (I do, however, enjoy writing holiday cards).

I feel like I am continuing several relationships in parallel over Facebook. How else would I know of my former high-school classmates that now have babies? How would I know about good news from the people who have shaped my life over the years?

When I see updates from co-workers on Facebook about feeling ill or having to do weekend chores, it allows me to pick up conversations instantly in the hallway. A trend I have seen is making significant announcements, such as wedding engagements, on Facebook. In my work, we talk a lot about simultaneous disclosure, where public companies are required to give important information to all audiences at the same time. How many times have I gotten into trouble for forgetting to tell certain people about news in my life. How neat is it to potentially say, "Hey, I decided to tell everyone on Facebook, and since you're a friend of mine on Facebook, you found out at the same time as everyone else."

No comments: