Social networking is a phenomena that over the last few years has garnered a lot of attention. The purchase of YouTube for $1.6 Billion was a good indication that these networks provide access to a vast audience, which brings a certain value.
Facebook is one of the better known services in this space and in an effort to understand how it works, and potentially how it might benefit Eagle I decided to join. I set up my profile and carefully allowed a few people to connect to me. A couple of family members, a few current friends and some people who found me on there and knew me in the past.
It has been an interesting experiment, but I think I have come to the conclusion that my days on Facebook are numbered. Here is some of my thinking:
1. I have the sense that the service was really designed as an online “diary” for young people. A kind of online club, where they could stay somewhat connected electronically even if they were physically remote.
2. I have no desire to document my life online and in great detail … and who would really want to see that?
3. It is neat that people can find you online and reconnect, but then there are the people that you would sooner not reconnect with!
4. I think that there are dangers through association … if my (fictitious) 18 year old nephew “connects” to me, then my profile may show some of his antics, and I may be judged by his actions.
5. Employers do use sites like this to check out applicants, to see what kind of people they might be employing. Some profiles tell a lot more than their authors would want a potential employer to see!
6. People post pictures … lots of them. And they don’t seem to mind who else is in them, which could prove embarrassing for others when their friends have pictures of fun events … that really should not be shared with the whole world!
7. I think that people find facebook addictive … many companies have banned access to it from their work environments. The constant checking and making notes are a huge drain on productivity … even worse than instant messaging!
So … I can see the appeal to young people, or perhaps even the “dating” crowd. I can also see why companies use it to check out prospective employees, clients, suppliers, contractors etc.
I would suggest to anyone who wants to have a serious career that Facebook could be harmful if used without extreme caution!