Monday, September 15, 2008

Imagine, Facebook for something useful...

We all have the typical Facebook friends who use
the site’s “Status Update” feature to tell the world he or she “is happy”, “is full from eating so much cake”, “thinking”, or some other gibberish like, “George is
Fridayyyy!” Like many of you out there, I used
to think Facebook’s Status Update feature was an absolute waste of time. But these previously questionable micro-posts are evolving into a useful tool for individuals and businesses.

Most of us, however, don’t know how to use this feature properly. It is safe to say that a good number of Web 2.0 light users are still misusing their status-updates with banalities and absolute nonsense.

If we relate Facebook with a big house where all your “friends” living in, then think about the status update as sticky notes on the fridge. For example, a note saying, “Jose is koowa6652owakoo!” or a sticky that only one other person could understand would make the sticky notes seem like garbage – or at the very least, out of place.

Before you start defending whatever expressions you usually post on Facebook, let's take a look at those who use the mother of all status-updaters, Twitter (www.twitter.com). Twitter is basically the same idea as Facebook’s status-updates – minus Facebook.

For instance, we could learn a bit from Twitter user and Vancouver local tech critic, Jeffery Simpson. He recently wrote an article revealing how he used Twitter to get some assistance. Realizing he was lost, Simpson posted a “tweet” – as Twitter posts are called – with his phone number asking for help. Soon enough he received a call that guided him back on track.

Another good use example is Rebecca Bollwitt, a renowned Vancouver blogger (www.miss604.com). Whenever she writes an article, a tweet goes out to more than 1,100 people who chose to follow her.

Even businesses benefit from this feature’s proper use. Darren Barefoot, founder of the tech-marketing firm Capulet Communications (www.capulet.com), uses tweets to solicit aid from other users. Barefoot posted a message asking for help translating a couple of messages and had 3 offers in less than 24 hours.

See? It can work a little better.

The challenge, then, is learning how to use this feature properly so we can take full advantage of it. Granted, most of us are not critics, bloggers, or reporters with constant thrilling news to report, but the potential for good use within our less influential social network is there.

In fact, as I’m finishing this article I noticed my friend Ray, who usually reports pure baloney, is for the first time making good use of his status update: he’s asking if anyone wants to go golfing tomorrow – Hallelujah!

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