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                   Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 6:06PM

Thoughts on Facebook - not sure what to think

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I jumped on board the Facebook wagon a couple of months ago at the prompting of a friend. I have generally never been into the online social networking sites like Myspace, Twitter and FB, they're just not my thing. It goes along with the fact that I hate chatting online - I want to talk to someone verbally, instead of the cumbersome typing back and forth with the long pauses in between, etc. To me it's just awkward to have a typed conversation, especially at the same time I'm trying to do something else on my computer. I can't multitask like that, so I pretty much have to stop what I'm doing and devote myself to the chat. At that point, I'm thinking, why not just pick up the phone and call. Anyway.

So at first, I didn't plan on using Facebook all that much. I felt like I was spending enough time on content for my blog, and I didn't see the need to update another 'fad' site somewhere. One outlet is enough for me. I eventually changed my mind (a little) since then, particularly once I realized that many of my acquaintances didn't read my blog, but they'd respond to things I posted on Facebook. So I've started using the FB status update thing a little more. Not a bad idea - it's been useful in communicating with friends as to things going on.

That all seemed fine until this week, when I discovered that people I went to high school with are starting to show up in the 'suggested friends' list. Clicking on their friend lists, I found dozens of people that I hadn't seen or heard from since I graduated - it was pretty cool.

But here's the dilemma. Eventually I'm probably going to start getting add requests from those lists. Now I'm all for catching up with some people I knew back in high school. I wouldn't be able to do that any other way (unless I went to reunions, which from what I've heard aren't much to talk about). But on Facebook, do I want them getting every little status update, every message to/from my friends, every little change or thing I do on there? With my blog, I feel comfortable being more 'open' with posts, because with the blog, someone has to want to come here to read it by their own choice. With Facebook, everything you do is pushed right at the top of the pages of everyone on your list, whether they want to see it or not. It's not that I'm trying to be stand-offish, but having every past acquantance, classmate and neighbor on my Facebook list would definately make me change the way I use it.

I've realized you have to choose which type of FB account you want. The one with only your close friends, or the one you open up to EVERYONE (and I mean the world). Option 1 allows you to share photos of family and friends, do a little friendly chatting and keep in touch with your best buds. Option 2 turns FB into a powerful marketing tool. Use it to do something (drive them to your site, get them to buy something, etc.) I'm somewhere in the middle. I haven't invited the world yet, but I have accepted folks beyond my 'close friend' circle and by posting some of my graphic design work, I got a nice (paid) side job out of the deal.
- Posted by Rob Russo from Hampton, VA

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