So I finally did it. I signed up for a Facebook account. I know youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re saying to yourself, Ã¢â‚¬Å“What?!?! There are still college students that arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t on Facebook?!?!Ã¢â‚¬Â And my answer to that is, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes.Ã¢â‚¬Â But there is now one less.
I used to be quite opposed to social-networking sites (SNS), since it seemed, to me, to make more sense to actually talk to someone face to face or on the phoneÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ or even through email. I always thought that SNS just added another annoying medium of communication that I would have to find time to use. But I have finally caved in and created a Facebook account for myself.
My aversion to Facebook, and SNS, in general, started during the sophomore year of my undergrad. I remember I created a LiveJournal account (remember those?) at the suggestion of a friend. After a couple weeks, LiveJournal kind of died for me, and I was soon prompted by a neighbor to join the new online craze Ã¢â‚¬â€œ MySpace. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take the advice right away, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m glad I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t since it was literally one week later that the very same neighbor suggested I join an even newer online craze Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Facebook.
It was then that I swore off all social networking past, present and future. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that I thought it was going to be some passing trend Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I was fairly certain that social networking, and Web 2.0, in general, was here to stay (although, I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think about it such tech/communication oriented terms).
And so, over the following 3 or 4 years, I watched as Facebook grew exponentially Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the advent of Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Wall,Ã¢â‚¬Â the controversial news feed, and of course, all of my friends hopping on the bandwagon, electronically coordinating their social lives. Yet I still resisted.
So why did I finally give in to the big F? There were a couple contributing factors: mainly wanting to reconnect with people from high school, but I also thought if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to be in the realm of media and communication sciences for the rest of my life, I probably ought to know the basics of one of the largest websites on the planet.
And what kind of blossoming media researcher would I be if I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t keep some notes on my experience with Facebook? Once I signed up with Facebook, I looked for the aforementioned high school chums, and I found quite a few. What I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect was nearly everyone from my graduate cohort (and the head of the TCOM department) finding me within 24 hours. Within the first day, I had 21 friends, and by the end of the first week, I had 46. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s insane how quickly people find each other.
One thing that really surprised me was how seemingly under-utilized Facebook was, in terms of advertising. I know thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the whole debate right within the advertising community Ã¢â‚¬â€œ how do you make money off of something that is targeted at poor college and high school students? But I expected to see at least some legitimate ads, but the only thing I ever see are get-rich-quick schemes, free MacBooks, and fake IQ tests. That is an untapped well of 175 million people worldwide (and, according to FacebookÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most recent numbers, growing by 5 million every week). Someone will eventually figure it out. And that person will become an overnight millionaire.
So whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s next for me on the 2.0 horizon? Twitter, Orkut, Flickr? Something equally time-consuming? Who knows? But if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re curious, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll let you knowÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll likely make it on to my wall.