I’m participating on a social networking panel tomorrow at a conference here in Houston. Someone suggested a PowerPoint sort of thing.
Here’s mine. The essence of Facebook (and social networking in general), in three easy pictures.
Facebook is like a transporter. You can instantly interact with people in any location. One of the best things about Facebook is that it breaks down the geographical barriers to communication and relationships. And, of course, one of the dangers of Facebook is that it breaks down the geographical barriers to communication and relationships.
Facebook is like a time tunnel. You can not only connect or reconnect with people and places from your entire past, you are also creating a digital archive of your life. One that can be viewed by you, as well as your future friends, business associates and employers. Once you put something in the social stream, there’s no way to take it back.
Facebook is like a bottle of tequila. It will, over time, break down your inhibitions and, if you’re not careful, allow you to do things you shouldn’t. Things that will get on the transporter and into the time tunnel, and follow you around the rest of your life (and afterwards).
That’s one powerful combination. One that can be really fun and rewarding, and one that can be tremendously destructive. The important thing, with transporters, time tunnels and tequila- and with Facebook- is to have a plan. And stick to it.
Decide what your social networking goals and philosophy will be. Ask yourself if those goals and philosophy will still make sense in 5, 10 and 15 years. Ask yourself if social networking will increase your happiness. Make sure it won’t end up feeling like a chore.
Then get to it. Find old friends. Make new friends. Make it what you want it to be. But remember that you are responsible for whatever it becomes.
Because as the renowned Southern philosophers The Drive-By Truckers have been heard to say:
You know the [Facebook] ain’t to blame and I ain’t trying to
It don’t make you do a thing, it just lets you.
(buy that great record at Amazon)