Sunday column: I’m on Facebook, RU?

Facebook.
It’s evil.
It’s addicting.
It’s genius.
I have a 17-year-old niece with a Facebook page. I also have a 75-year-old grandfather with a Facebook page.
And yes, I Facebook. I’ve had a page for seven months now … joining originally so I could have a place for our radio show, The Rant, to develop online fans. Now, I log in daily to connect and re-connect with classmates, friends and family; post pictures and “status updates” so the aforementioned friends and family can see what I’m up to; and sharpen my wits (and waste time) playing online word games.
Just this week, I discovered that a college friend of mine — with whom I once shared a 3 a.m. road trip to the beach, which was five hours away … just because we were bored — lives 30 minutes north of me and has a wife who works at Wyeth.
Why’s this odd? We went to college together in Texas. I still don’t know how he got here.
But he found me on Facebook.
Small world.
Some of you are probably pumping your fists at the clouds and asking me as if I were sitting next to you, “What is this Facebook you speak of?”
It’s a Web site, a social-networking site that asks you to create your own page, put as much information about yourself as you want, and start the process of adding “friends.” Sounds simple enough, right?
It’s a Web site that has made its 24-year-old CEO a ba-ga-zillionaire. This week, Facebook.com added its 150 millionth member. The site now has users on every continent, and half of them log in at least once a day.
According to an article on Slate.com, if Facebook were a country, it would be the eighth-most populated country in the world … ahead of Japan, Russia and Nigeria. It is predicted Facebook’s population will double to 300 million people by this time next year.
It leads to the question, RU on Facebook?
If not, wth?
I know, I know. Some of you think it’s a waste of time. And you’re probably right. Others think it’s just a Myspace rip-off. And it may be … but Myspace is slowly rolling toward extinction and may just get there before the newspaper does.
If, you know, you’re one who thinks newspapers are heading that way. I don’t, but that’s not the point.
People are using Facebook for much more than just a time waster. Business, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups and many others are using the site for more than just their own personal benefit.
Temple Theatre’s group, which has 158 members, uses Facebook to invite Sanford residents to upcoming shows and make them aware of current fundraising efforts.
The soon-to-be-opened Steele Street Coffee & Wine Bar created a Facebook page this week to keep people updated on its opening and, I’m sure, to announce future news.
Also on Facebook: The Artist’s Loft, Star Community Theatre, Lee County High School student and alumni group, a group dedicated to longing for a Starbucks and Sanford …
There’s even a group dedicated to naming the “Seven Wonders of Sanford.”
I may soon join this group, just to nominate a wonder or two.
And not to be outdone, The Herald has joined the Facebook ranks with its own page. Our recently created site has already garnered 177 “members,” who will all have access to big breaking news alerts, Facebook discussion boards and other amenities once we get the ball rolling. It’s another initiative to expand our newspaper’s online reach, adding to the blogs and recent sanfordherald.com updates.
I know this has all seemed like a Facebook.com commercial, but I can assure you, they’re not paying me … much. Kidding. The last thing they need right now is advertising. Word-of-mouth seems to be doing just fine.
And I’m glad I joined. Just last month, I saw my nephew’s photo just minutes after he was born. So did my grandfather. So did my wife.
And we all had a chance to instantly comment on it, download it and send it to our friends and their friends’ friends.
Here is the commercial though — if you do join, search for The Herald and join us. If the trend continues, you’ll soon be in the minority when it comes to Facebook access. Then your friends will “lol” at you.
And who wants that?

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One thought on “Sunday column: I’m on Facebook, RU?

  1. Great article Billy (did you mention the addictive nature?)

    Willow Creek Animal Hospital is also on Facebook. Facebook members can subscribe to business sites as ‘fans’. We also have a website but it doesn’t notify our fans when something new is added, or pictures are changed, or we launch a new promotion. Websites are great for presenting information but they lack the interactive possibilities that Facebook offers.

    Bret
    http://www.willowcreekanimalhospital.net

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