I’m doing my homework, really . . .

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Yesterday, I spent a fair amount of the afternoon augmenting my Facebook profile.  This is not something I do very often, because frankly, I feel that Facebook’s best use is for killing time and I tend to agree with Thoreau that killing time wounds eternity.  Still, it was my homework to browse through the long list of Facebook applications and install one and play with it.  I got carried away.  I added eight or nine applications and then spent additional time rearranging my applications.  What did I add?

  • Language Exchange
  • Blog Networks
  • SlideShare
  • Visual Bookshelf
  • My Cookbook
  • Latest PHD Comics
  • Where I’ve Been
  • Pandora
  • Send Flowers
  • Send Roses

What did I discover (or rediscover) that I already had (not including defaults)?

  • Birthday Cards
  • Free Gifts
  • Supercool School
  • Linking Universe
  • GigPark
  • We’re Related
  • Business Cards
  • My LinkedIn Profile
  • Portfolio Joe

My experience with Facebook actually begins with me declining the first invitation to join that I ever recieved from a friend.  I told her that I would prefer to stick to be being her friend in real life rather than becoming her virtual friend.   When a second friend invited me to join Facebook, I decided that I might as well join in order to see the pictures that two of my friends were displaying on Facebook.  It turned out that more than two of my friends were already Facebook members.

I like that Facebook helps me to keep tabs on important events in the lives of distant friends.  It’s like getting the yearly Christmas card in installments instead of all at once.  I also enjoy the applications that allow me to send and receive virtual gifts (and now virtual flowers), as long as they are free to both parties. Facebook helps me remember my friend’s birthdays and lets me easily send them a token to let them know that they are in my thoughts.  I actually think that Facebook helps me to be a better friend.

I’ve attended seminars on using Facebook for business networking, but I haven’t done that very much.  I’ve added a few applications like Portfolio Joe, My LinkedIn Profile, and Business Cards to showcase some of my professional interests, just in case, but it isn’t my primary purpose for having a Facebook account.  Yesterday, I added BlogNetworks, SlideShare, and Visual Bookshelf in order to display a few more professional (and personal) interests. After all, a lot of my Facebook friends are ed-tech geeks like me.

SupercoolSchool, Language Exchange, and My Cookbook are applications that interest me because of their potential, but I haven’t actually used any of them.  I like knowing they exist and that I could try them . . . someday . . . when I get around to it.

The latest PHD comics is true time waster application (but, hey I’m allowed one, right?) and I’m a little ashamed that Where I’ve Been and Pandora might be examples of Facebook narcissm (of course everyone wants to know exactly where I’ve been and what I’ve been listening to), but I believe that at least some of my friends and family do visit my Facebook page because they are interested in me and my interests.

So, now that I’ve detailed which Facebook applications I use (or think I might use some day), the most interesting conclusion that I can draw from this isn’t all that interesting.  In the most important way, it appears that I am fairly typical facebook user.  I use Facebook to maintain an existing social network, not to make new friends (Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) in boyd & Ellison (2007)).

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About Kimberly McCollum

I'm a former middle and high school science teacher and current stay at home mom.
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10 Responses to I’m doing my homework, really . . .

  1. I’m curious to see examples of facebook pages with a more intelligent purpose than simply sharing party pictures. My only experience with facebook is young adults wanting me to see their photo albums. I’m too old for that. – they turn me into an an archetypical elderly peasant woman petitioning God to keep them safe.

  2. What fascinates me is the different ways I am communicating with people I see regularly on a F2F basis eg I use Skype, FB, write on blogs knowing that I’ll be seeing them in a day. So Its not just for people I haven’t seen for years and live else where. Fascinating stuff!

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  4. Mr. Sheehy says:

    I think you express well reasons I have for using Facebook, and reasons why I like it. I have kept my network of friends fairly small, and it has kept the news feed interesting and the interactions worthwhile. Seems like so much of it comes down to that maxim I heard long ago (I believe I should attribute it to Ben Franklin): “moderation in everything.”

  5. David Wiley says:

    You should try Supercoolschool and Coursefeeds when you get the chance. They’re both pretty cool apps with interesting potential. And I think narcissism isn’t nearly as bad when you realize you’re engaging in it and are embarrassed by it. =)

    Also, I prefer the saying “If you’re going to kill time, work it to death.”

  6. Ben McMurry says:

    I reluctantly used facebook as well. I do find it helpful to keep in touch with people. But, like the first commenter, I would like to see some really intelligent uses of facebook. I’m planning on going to CALICO this year and I bet there will be loads of presentations about it. Last year it was like a Second Life festival.

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  8. Thanks for the comments.

    @Ruth – I agree that some of the pictures (and posts) and Facebook give people cause to worry.

    @Sarah – I also use FB with people I see frequently. In fact, my husband probably gets more FB attention from me than any other contact.

    @Mr. Sheehy – moderation is key. I think also that the reasons you express are part of why I prefer FB to Twitter.

    @David Wiley – When I’ve taught using Bb in the past some of my students used Coursefeeds. I received invitations from them, so I tried it out. However, none of the courses I was taking used Bb, so it never really did anything for me. I’ve browsed through Supercoolschool several times and I think it is “super cool”, which is why I added it. I keep hoping that soon I’ll have time to take or teach a course there. I may just have to make time.

    @Ben – So far, the most intelligent use of FB that I’ve used is the Visual Bookshelf. However, I have high hopes for Supercoolschool and some of the language partnering applications.

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