Lynne d Johnson



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08.15.07 01:35 PM

What Facebook Can Teach You

OK. I bet you thought this was going to be one of my tech or marketing posts. It isn't. It's actually about connections, how you make them and what you learn about them. For instance, there are two people I've known in the blogosphere for awhile, who I've only recently found out share the same birthday with me.

One was my boy KB. And while I'm making this post about Facebook, I think we actually realized we had the same birthday while using Flickr and sharing photos, or perhaps even it was while we were on sharing our musical listening habits. Whatever the case, it wasn't until I looked at my home page on Facebook this morning that it stuck. The other shared birthday boy is Oliver Wang. Happy birthday to the both of you and anyone else who shares our August 17 birthday.

I don't know, but the more that media reports that social networking keeps us disconnected I keep finding ways that it keeps us more connected. My Plaxo address book reminds me of someone's birthday or anniversary, and I send them a card. Someone tweets on Twitter what they're reading on the Web and in real-time I can click on the link and read it at the same time as they are and then we can share our opinions about it. Someone tweets through Twittytunes the current song they're listening to, and if the song is available there, I can listen to it immediately. I can make a connection at Plaxo Pulse and find out what someone is doing on all of their media sharing services, very similarly to how Facebook is used.

People keep talking about the business implications of all of this and how The Long Tail plays a role. Though we all know, business hasn't actually caught up with all of this yet. I'm more interested in the social implications of all this anyway, like what I learned in creating a social network on Ning for my students so that they could blog, share in forums, group chat through meebo rooms service, and share videos, photos, and even files through a FlyUpload widget. And also keep track of assignment due dates with a Google Calendar published to the network.

I could go on with these examples, but you get my drift. I'm finding many more ways to be connected to people and to learn more about them as they learn more about me, both personally and professionally. I'm thinking that perhaps it is a social revolution. Do I think it'll be easier for someone to control us all as we move deeper into these networks. Not necessarily. I think people are getting smarter all the time. People are able to differentiate between real, true messages and messages meant to control them.

For further discussions on these topics, check out these books:

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