Post #12 for my MBA class, "Communication Strategies for a Global Marketplace."
To wrap up the posts I've been writing as part of my current coursework, I wanted to reference a blog post from JeffEsposito.com that fascinated me.
The post is, "23 Social Media Facts to Share with Executives" and it includes some staggering statistics such as:
By 2012, half of the world’s Internet users, 1 billion people, will have a Facebook account – TIME (12/7-1/3 edition)
That's next year. ONE BILLION PEOPLE. I was just saying to Mr. Problem Solver how much I've appreciated having a Facebook friend who has family and friends in Egypt. This friend has shared the thoughts and words of people living there and at times, I've felt as if I too, walked with them. Such an opportunity to learn and understand. I have yet to travel to Egypt (on my bucket list) but the glimpse I've had behind the thoughts and feelings of my friend's family/friends has been incredible. And next year, a single site will give the opportunity for one billion people to connect with each other.
But will they? I know a number of people, encompassing a wide range of ages, who refuse to get a Facebook account. I've heard all the reasons: "waste of time", "I'm a private person", "it's not safe", "I'm not good with computers", etc. And each of these reasons, like the reasons we use to justify any decision, have their valid points. But as my rector said on Sunday when he announced "Lent On Line" (a Facebook book discussion he'll be initiating on Ash Wednesday) these social media technologies are here to stay and those that aren't on board with using them will ultimately miss opportunities and information, not to mention opportunities for connection. And groups like my small Episcopal church must be leaders in the use of these technologies in order to connect with other like-minded small congregations and individuals. Or we we'll be left behind (pun definitely intended).
And it's truly about seizing the opportunities for connection. As I've written about in other posts, one can participate in social media without fully immersing oneself in all that the technologies offer. For example, I can be on Facebook, as many people are, and interact with a very small number of people that I know well - less than one hundred, for example. Or I can open up my network to people whom I've encountered in a variety of settings, some of whom I know "in real life" and others with whom I've only connected via online communities, my blog or theirs, a photography sharing site, etc. If I keep my circle small and my security settings tight, I may maintain a measure of anonymity online or "protect" myself from peering minds. But I will also miss the chance to be part of something amazing. Which for me is keeping in touch with a friend who lives in Norway (she was an exchange student at my high school); a woman whose blog I've followed for years who suggested Melatonin for Girlie (because it worked for her daughter) when she was having difficulty with sleep transitions; a grammar school friend who makes me laugh every day; and people who I know "in real life" but have gotten to know in new ways through their posts and photos on Facebook.
What do you think about one BILLION people on Facebook? Do you like the idea of expanding your network through social media, whether it be Facebook or Flickr or LinkedIn or Twitter? What about this makes you uncomfortable?