Social Networking from a New Facebook User
I am the Co-PI of a recent grant (soon up for resubmission) in which my role is the development of online social networking/scientific sharing tools. Many of the other co-authors were cautious about taking this too far. "Getting online with these kinds of cool technologies will distract them from the out of doors." was the common response. Rather, I think the personal adaptability and connectivity of social networking applications encourages people to pursue their passions -- essentially creating the cool stuff we can now share with people all over the world in cool ways.
Nonetheless, I was a personal skeptic. Then, I recently took the plunge (the absolutely simple plunge) of creating a facebook profile. And it has been wonderful. Over the course of a month or two, I have reconnected with high school and college friends, found community members of like interest, been invited to community gatherings. But I mostly enjoy immensely the chance to re-create my profile according to mood, current circumstance, and quickly surf my friends lives.
Personally, I find the challenge of social networking is growimg comfort with making my world public. I hesitate here and there with allowing this or that person into my online world. Others have exclaimed caution against entering this place where their co-workers or children have profiles. However, I find that the applications allow me such easy control of who I connect with and what I show them. No worries from my experience.
Often these days, I find myself using wall-to-wall communication in Facebook rather than email to touch-base quickly with colleagues.