Monday, October 25, 2010

Facebook Judge and Jury

A facebook friend posted today that people should stop using their facebook status to e-preach. He said no one is going to turn to their friends' status lines for advice or guidance, anyway - especially if it comes from someone who doesn't even have their own life together. I found this ironic - since it was advice posted in his facebook status. 

I'm no expert. But I am a facebook user. I'm also someone who pays attention to, and uses many different forms of social media. Here's my two cents:

Facebook is a social network. It's where you collect your friends. It's your community - made up of people from school, work, family and friends you've made along the way. Maybe you're someone who likes a small, tight-knit community made up of only people you know really well. Maybe you're a social butterfly and you add every person to whom you've ever said hello in a restroom. The point is - it's your community. It can be whatever you want it to be. 

The same is true of the communities you join. You play a role in all of your friends' lists, as well as all the groups pages you join or the websites you "like." Maybe you're active, posting on walls and joining conversations. Maybe you even take opportunities to meet new people in person. Or maybe you just visit and observe occasionally, but don't really participate. 

Social media, (facebook, twitter, foursquare, blogs, etc.) is nothing more than another way for the world to converse, meet, exchange ideas and opinions and interact. You're going to create your social network community the same way you create your "real life" community; it will reflect your personality and style. Your role in other communities will also mirror the role you play in your in-person social circles. 

So be who you are. Surround yourself with the people you want around. Relax on the "rules." Learn how to use features like updates, chat and tagging. Definitely read up on how to protect your privacy. But you don't just follow others in real life, do you? You think for yourself, and make your own choices about who you want to be, who will be in your life and how you will conduct yourself in your community.

It's the same online. In the end - make your facebook page a reflection of you. And don't judge how others use their own page - it's like judging the person. 

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