Late last year, I signed up to participate in 23 Things Kansas to force myself to learn more about and practice online tools. In week 2, we are being asked to use an online community and blog about our experiences. I first joined the online community, My Space, about six years ago. When the students switched to Facebook, I created an account there. I found Facebook easier to use than MySpace since I didn’t have to do any ‘creation’ tasks to have a working account. At some point, someone recommended LinkedIn as a professional social network. When the Methodist church provided the social networking site 7 Villages, I also joined that network. At least in Kansas, the Methodist church discovered the same thing that I was finding – it doesn’t pay to have segregated social networks since no one has the time to keep up with multiple networks. Thus, I’m now a Facebook user and rarely check the other accounts.
Over the past two years I’ve come to understand why Facebook is so important to teens and young adults. Facebook has allowed me to not only see pictures of my nieces and nephews but to also get to know their likes and dislikes when I only see them a couple of days a year. I find that posts others see as trivia help me to know my ‘friends’ better. As a participant on a statewide committee in the Methodist Church, I’ve found Facebook a way to get to know the other members when we rarely meet. By adding the WIBW meteorologists to my friends list, I’ve enjoyed the weather updates that they post. Information about the Haiti earthquake and relief effort is now a major part of my wall posts as I’ve joined several groups. Facebook is rapidly becoming my information system.
Even though I like Facebook and see potential educational uses, I have to agree that it has its negative aspects. One can spend a lot of time on Facebook appearing to carry out very little. During one of our recent snow storms, I got inquisitive about all the posts I was seeing about Farmville and now am hooked on the game.
I would like to use Facebook to connect students to the library, particularly during evening hours. Now, I just need to find the time to figure out the best way to configure a library page and how to push content out to the students.