Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Facebook - the next generation

I couldn't help but laugh when I read this article in Time Magazine, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1879169,00.html. Facebook (FB) is for old people, if 30 and up constitutes "old." In the past year, the 30+ age group is the fasting growing category on FB - up 97% from last year.

I had been on FB for quite some time with my business. I was hyper vigilant about keeping my personal info off of it using it purely for marketing purposes. Then, along comes my husband who opens an account and plasters photos of the family and personal tidbits for all the world to see. It was inevitable. The floodgates were opened and I soon followed. Yes, we are a part of the over 30 crowd who has now become the heart of FB.

I was one of many who feared putting personal information out there. The reality is that the information is already "out there." If you've ever ordered a picture from the likes of Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, or even Walgreens online...guess what, your info and photos are "out there." If you've ever sent an email with an attached photo...its "out there." Anyone at anytime can put information about you online. FB, like many other networks, gives you tools to make your info private. (NOTE: I'm not suggesting you let your guard down.)

We've laughed at jokes, snide comments, and old photos; we've cried at the loss of an old friend. We just visited a college friend in California that we've not seen in 17 years. FB has been an interesting journey into the past and has reconnected us with friends for the future.

There are moments of clarity when I think, what the heck am I doing with my time?! But, I must admit, FB is more than a social network for me. I have connected with hundreds of people through social networking, maybe more, whom I would have never reached otherwise. It has become essential to the growth of my business. I view time spent online as a means of marketing. What I have to finesse is the balance between that and the other essential parts of my business - creating, bookkeeping, selling, etc.

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