I have heard several people in the past month or so debating the positives and negatives of social media websites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc). Some say they use Facebook (hereafter referred to as “FB”) to make new friends. Some use FB to network their business. Some use FB to keep informed about news and current events. Some use FB to stay in contact with people they know. Is FB good or bad? Useful or useless?
I use FB to keep in touch with people with whom I would not otherwise keep in touch. Before I joined FB, I had regular communication (read: at least once a month) with my wife, kids, parents, siblings, and my best friend (this doesn’t count people at church and work). After joining, I now talk to people that I haven’t talked to for years. For that reason, I think it is a good thing for me.
Here are my rules regarding friend requests:
1. Family gets an automatic pass. If you are related to me, I will accept your friend request.
2. If I don’t know you in real life, I will not accept your friend request.
3. If I don’t consider you a “friend,” or at least “friendly” to me, I will not accept your request.
So if you’re on my friend list, you are either related to me, or I enjoy spending time with you. If we lived in the same city, I’d probably do stuff with you often.
But what about Twitter? I have a Twitter account, which I initially set up so that I could use my phone to update my FB status (so my friends would know things I wanted them to know….things like “Broken down on the side of the road…I-69″ which is an actual tweet of mine).
This whole debate reminds me of when I was in college and some friends would stop by my dorm room and ask me what I was doing. I was reading a book (which I enjoy doing), and told them so. They said, ” What are you doing that for? How do you find time to read?” I asked them what they were doing, and they said they were going to play basketball. See, we had the same amount of free time, we just chose to do different things with it.
You can say that FB and Twitter are a waste of time FOR YOU, but you can’t say that for anybody else, because they may find them useful. I know I do.