This evening I checked my Facebook profile to read a post from Idalia. A recent contact on Facebook she was a classmate in High School many years ago. In her light and humorous way she indicated that it appeared I was a Facebook addict. That threw me off a little.
Now that I am on the defensive it has caused me to examine the ways we use these social tools. Don’t get me wrong I am always concerned about the overuse of any piece of technology. I try and balance a healthy application of family-work-hobby-service in all I do.
Nevertheless using these tools including Facebook can be a great way to leverage technology in behalf of networking, problem solving and socializing. I’ll attempt to explain this using my own examples.
First, Facebook and other sites such as MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendster, Bebo, Hi5 and many others are social networking sites that connect people through channels of experiential relationships, business and group contacts or online gatherings of like-minded people.
People find through mutual contacts others who are called friends or buddies. Tools to keep these sites aware of your activities are as plentiful as the sites themselves. Micro-blogging or short messages describing your activities, thoughts or the status of your hangover are at the option of the person updating their profile.
For myself I have found the use of Twitter (and Yonkly) a great way to use the devices I carry with me to share my public thoughts or activities with my many networks. Using Twitter I can send a quick note using my netbook or cell phone to describe a thought or activity I am doing. My purpose for doing this are several fold 1) indicate my professional involvement in some activity that indicates my worth to my employer or colleagues. If I am creating some technical masterpiece quickly sharing my status via twitter is a way to seek help or provide expertise to my Twitter followers and subsequently any network (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc) where my status update is published.
The use of status updates via Twitter (recently I prefer Yonkly) has the ability to propagate to many sites. Here is the beauty of recent technical innovations. Using a single device Twitter can broadcast these microblogs or status changes to a number of sites simultaneously. In each site there are different audiences each finding different things I do appealing (or not – I suspect in most cases).
I am increasingly aware that the material and insight I provide today will become my history, my internet persona for years to come. For the most part everything I do now I anticipate could come up in my next performance review, job interview, senate testimony, or court proceeding. Overall I hope that my contacts, friends and followers will recognize me as technology researcher seeking to demystify and assist others in maximizing the potential for good through technology which they all.
These days I am increasingly more interested in collaboratively working with people. A side benefit is that some long lost friends remind me that I am just a humble boy (never) from Southern California travelling the nether lands of the internet.
Want to join me?