I was in a Strib U training class last week on "Web Tools for Journalists," when the instructor--actually, our A&E editor, Claude--mentioned Facebook.
I have heard of Facebook. Everyone I know is on Facebook. All the time. Pmiller is on it. She joined because it was an easy way to communicate with her son in college. My sister-in-law is on it, for the same reason. (No, she doesn't want to communicate with Pmiller's son. She wants to communicate with her own daughter, who is also away at college.)
My friend Erik emailed me after he got home from his recent visit here; he wanted some pictures of the trip for his Facebook page.
I walked past my friend Jim's desk the other day at work and happened to glance at his screen; he was busily updating his Facebook page.
So when Claude mentioned it in the training class as a great way to keep in touch with people, find out their interests, and find sources--all in the name of journalism--that was kind of the last straw. I threw in the towel. OK, OK, I'll give it a shot.
On Wednesday afternoon I had an odd bit of time at the end of my shift, so I signed up.
It's a weird experience. At first, it's like being in a big empty room, all alone. There are no doors. There are no windows. There is no way to get in touch with anybody. You holler, and there's just an echo...
You can't do anything on Facebook unless you have friends. All you can do is stand there and look around and say, "This is it? What's the big deal?" It's sort of a life lesson, I guess. The way of the hermit is not the way to thrive.
Somehow, in the course of signing up, I managed to invite everyone in my email address book to be my friend. So if you got a Facebook invitation from me, do not be alarmed. I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing. (Though of course I would love to have you as a friend.)
In the hours since I signed up, I have exchanged a number of messages with a woman I used to work with and hadn't heard from in two years. (She went to the last game of the World Series last fall, her dog died, she might come to Minneapolis for a visit.)
I was invited to play some kind of word scramble game by my niece. Or else I invited her to play; I am not entirely sure.
Someone sent me a virtual plant. Someone else urged me to get "graffiti" so that I can draw on people's walls. (I presume this will all make sense at some point.)
And, most important, I now have 15 friends! Just 91 million, 999 thousand, 985 to go.
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