How many of you (or your organizations) have Facebook profiles? I do, so the following might come off sounding kind of hypocritical, but I’m uncomfortable with a lot of the Facebook culture.
You know what I’m talking about: the once-private planning between two people that now takes place via Facebook’s “wall” feature so that everybody knows about that dinner tonight at the Olive Garden at 8, or the way people use “status updates” to share their latest triumphs and tragedies with 500 of their closest “friends.”
Facebook is one of the leaders in this Web 2.0 revolution, and it’s obviously not going anywhere: I just Googled Facebook and got 4.36 million results and, according to this story, it’s adding a quarter-million users per day.
I’m fairly tech savvy and enjoy scrolling through photos and updates in my friends’ profiles, so I’m not exactly sure why this bothers me like it does. Facebook really is a great way to keep tabs on old friends without having to personally email or call each and every one of them. And some organizations are creating networks and profiles for current and potential employees to join, creating a unity across companies that maybe didn’t exist before.
But I guess, to me, Facebook also seems like an extension of the paparazzi culture that has made stars out of people like Paris Hilton and the cast of The Hills. It’s not enough for people to just live their lives and let the people who matter to them know if they’re attending a particular party or whether they resemble Sawyer more than any other Lost character. No, even the most mundane details and updates are sent out over a “news feed.”
I am actually really glad that Facebook’s not going anywhere. I just hope that people – especially those who have never known a non-Facebook world – understand the difference between a “friend” and a “Facebook friend.” And I hope organizations can continue to find new ways to leverage Facebook to boost their business advantage, as LinkedIn has done so well.