Friday, August 22, 2008

FaceBook

I took the plunge onto Facebook earlier this week. I seem to have gotten hooked rather quickly. It's nice to have a place to share photos of family and friends. I do have a Flickr account but I tend to park only my favorite artsy photos there. The fun thing about Facebook is collecting friends. The Facebook software helps you do that by checking against your email address book. It finds people you might know already on FaceBook and gives you the option to email other friends.

I used to think I didn't have time for anything beyond my personal email and this blog. But now I see it differently. I have lots of things going on which are not related to reading and the library, beyond this blog. I'm in a special interest group at my church, and if we all get on FaceBook, it will be another way to communicate and share. It's really fun to hop over to a friend's page and see their photos. You pick up on their back story, their connections, see their pets, etc. FaceBook makes it so easy!

Last month, many of us at HCPL attended a Library 2.0 event. Stephen Abram came to speak to us about the future of libraries. Among other things, he talked about how the younger generation stays connected beyond the college years. They don't lose their grade school, high school or college friends, despite the fact that relocation is a fact of life for most young professionals. They stay connected because of social networking tools like FaceBook and MySpace. The Internet has really rocked my life as far as reconnecting with old friends. And getting on FaceBook feels like the next step. I like the fact that I can personalize settings and decide who can see my profile; it is not automatically open to the whole world.

I read the Wikipedia entry on FaceBook to see what I didn't know about my new obsession. Plenty. That it was started at Harvard and grew from there. That it was redesigned only a few weeks ago, and has a new, "cleaner" look (I got there just in time). That there are over 7,000 applications that can be used on FaceBook, such as virtual gifts, events, games, all kinds of image generators. One application I signed up for on my personal FaceBook page is the Friend Wheel. Mine is in its infancy, so there are no links between my various friends yet, but it should be fun to watch the inter-connectivity grow. There is even a Marketplace on FaceBook, similar to Craigslist, except that you are only advertising to the friends who have access to your account.

Some of my footsteps into the Web 2.0 world have been faltering. I did not get into the virtual games. But FaceBook takes me another step further, and I'm grateful. It puts a bounce in my step and a grin on my face everytime I add another friend. I'm a convert and I'm evangelizing. Join up, join up - it's fun!

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