We were joking in writing class last night about how Facebook posts seemed to have dropped off lately. I even went as far as to jokingly say "Facebook is no fun anymore." Most people laughed because they all know it's not true. Facebook, while not for everyone, is alive and well. I think that there are slow, low post periods and heavy posting spells as well. Furthermore, I don't think Facebook is doing itself any favors by changing their interface every 6 months, to say nothing of the constant fiddling with security settings. I suspect it will only be a matter of time before we're typing into a small little box and 3/4 of the screen is ads.
In my dealings with Facebook, Twitter and my blog over the past few days, I came to realize the breadth of different people I've met because of social media in one form or another.
Perhaps the most recent contact was with a friend from across the street when I was in high school. This guy had seen my brother on TV - he's the DNR Commissioner for Minnesota - and it got him to wondering what ever happened to me. Like most people would do, he Googled my name and came upon my blog. He felt compelled to write and we've reconnected. It turns out his daughter was in my niece's wedding and I never knew it. This is a friend I've been out of touch with for 28 years and we picked up right where we left off, for the most part.
This has been the biggest source of reconnection for me. I've re-met friends from grade school, high school, college and beyond. While most are just friends "in passing" I'm okay with that. Like any circle of friends, there will be "close" friends and not-so close friends or acquaintances.
Some of the cooler people that I've enjoyed following are a few friends from grade school. Again, I was out of touch with these people for 28+ years and suddenly, there they were. Some were bald like me, others fatter versions of they're young selves, but all were essentially the same as I remember them. They had grown into their potential, raised a family, or sometimes not, but they're still good people. We cheer for each other, pray for our families, pets, injuries and jobs.
Twitter is only a recent endeavor of mine and I'm still trying to figure out what's good and bad about it. I'll confess, I've gotten used to the longer post format of Facebook. Sometimes I'll look at a tweet that's more special characters and tiny urls than I can comprehend. I have little patience for it, but I have come to find some value.
One of the clearest examples was a fellow author on eLectio Publishing. I met this woman through Twitter when she followed me. I then followed her back and asked her a question about our publisher. We have since connected through Facebook, Twitter and email and have become first-time author confidants.
I have followed suit with a couple of other fellow authors on Twitter the same way. In that respect it's been invaluable. If you take away the three hundred posts a day I scroll through that are slush, there is some value there.
While I really haven't figured out a good use of LinkedIn either, I have had a few interactions with people from the GIS industry, and there are some decent conversations in some of the groups.
So despite not being everyone's cup of tea, for the most part the social media thing has been good to me. I'm thankful for my friends, followers and contacts, yourselves included. It is good to have a strong network of friends, and this seems to help. So thank you for that.