07 October 2010

Grandpa on Facebook....

I have to admit, I spend a fair bit of my time on Facebook; it is a marvelous way to keep in touch with people and glimpse into their lives. My friends are roughly divided into family, horse people, crafts/artists and my religious friends. I don't interact with them as a group, but individually. I have a variety of friends from all walks of life. I will confess, however, that of the 350+ people on my friends list, I have know about 11 who are mostly family, and all the remainder I have never met personally, have never seen and with the vast majority I never will - mainly because they live in other countries to me, the bulk being the USA.

With that number of friends, there would be a mine of demographic information if I was to use it in a commercial sense, but I'm not interested in that really. So it is just a point of note. I will not go into the Marketing potential of facebook in this article.

One of the best things is that I can keep in touch with my grandchildren who live in Brisbane; about 1400kms from here and I wouldn't hear from them otherwise, they are teenagers and granny isn't first thing on their minds.

Another great thing, is that the vast majority of my horse friends are Arabian breeders. It is always interesting to keep an eye on what is happening both here and overseas within the breed. In being "friends" with these people, I get to look in on their programs, see their foals and get some insight into their breeding ideas. It is also interesting to keep up to date with breeding trends in Australia compared to the rest of the world. Although it appears to me that Australian breeders have embraced Facebook in far greater proportion numbers than their American counterparts.

Facebook is a great way to bring together vast groups of people to involve in conversations - over time - about their subjects. I can see where in the future a young person getting into, for example, breeding Arabian horses, can call on the expertise of everything recorded on facebook pages in regards to the subject, as a way to move into the future with their own breeding programs. The information is slow, as it trickles in day by day, person by person, but it trickles nevertheless, all of it, from the past into the future. This is true for almost any subject, for example, rubber stamping, sewing/tailoring, religion, anything where there is needed an interaction of ideas.

I have no idea whether there is much archeaology, politics, social sciences, humanities, physics, chemistry, history or stuff on Facebook, but I suspect there is, any subject you can think of is there, and in great quantities. Not everyone thinks alike, so there is also a vast confluence of ideas on any given subject. People interact at the height of professional level, to the most ignorant rank amateur. It is a great source of learning, of educating and of spreading ideas.

Admittedly, it can spread bad with the good, but even to the most extent that is a matter of perspective.

The thing that bothers me most about Facebook, is that appears to mostly be a younger person's social activity, rather than everybody. The people who could most benefit from facebook and who would be of benefit to have on facebook are the much older people, the people well over fifty. Yet this seems to be a group who have been the most reluctant to join it; mainly because they do not understand how it works.

I would like to encourage everybody who is on facebook to go to a relative or friend who is over 50 and sign them up for Facebook, but to also, please, take the time to teach them to use Facebook and to use it as it should be used, for the interaction of ideas, for the interaction with people and for the contact of people from all walks of life who love the same things as they do.

Those of you who use Twitter and can use it properly, please encourage them to use twitter as well, help them to build a following (don't forget to add their twitter address to Facebook).

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