Just to put my views in perspective, I need to start by saying that I was set against Facebook from its inception. Every time I heard another person say they had signed up to Facebook, the question of “Why?” popped into my head. Of particular concern was the pervasive idea that the numbers of ‘friends’ on Facebook, mostly complete strangers, seemed to indicate some social significance. I was happy to continue with the more traditional methods of communicating with my friends. This coupled with my own daughter being the recipient of cyber-bullying on Facebook cemented my opinion. I had little regard for the privacy and security settings of a tool that allowed someone to sign up as my daughter and proceed to write horrible things about others so she would get blamed. Fortunately, because of our complete lack of using Facebook, we could prove she was innocent and it lead to the revealing of the real culprit. To say I was dead against it would be an understatement.
With this attitude, I signed up for INF506 and thought I’d better give it a go as more than a way to connect to the subject group. As I liked pages and subscribed to interesting users, I found I actually enjoyed receiving the multitude of interesting articles via the newsfeed. Then I discovered friends from years ago. Because they had moved away, I had not the opportunity to catch up regularly and in the intervening years found the friendships lapse. What a joy to interact with them again! I investigated the privacy settings more, and while I know I haven’t set them exactly as I would like, I will continue to fine tune them. I appreciated the purpose of Facebook as a social networking tool and therefore have opted to use it purely in a social context. For now this is sufficient, but I can see a time when I might spread my friend connections into other areas of my life.
Initially as a non-user, I found Facebook difficult to use. Threads were hard to locate and I didn’t like the vertical format. The more I have used it, the more I have understood how to use it effectively. I particularly appreciate the mobile apps for Facebook which allows me to connect anywhere. I especially like the photo app for smart phones that allows me to post a photo immediately from the one device without the issue of downloading it first onto my computer. I think I will continue to use Facebook as a social site, but I see the value in segregating the professional and social spheres in my life, so will probably investigate Google+ further as well. I am most interested in how stringent the settings are for the different circles of communication