If you want to fish, go where the fish are, the saying goes. If you don’t know about Facebook, then you have no doubt heard the word, even if you did not understand what it meant (like listening to your kids or grandkids talk about video games – the words are English, but the sentence is gibberish!).
Forgive the simple explanation, but Facebook is simply a different way to “do” email…is it permission based, where you can accept someone as a “friend” and then be privy to what they post on their Facebook site. You can also connect with businesses, which is like volunteering to receive promotional emails, coupons, etc.
In the links below you can see a host of reasons to join or not to join, some serious, some not so much. Ultimately you have a fair amount of control over what you see, what you post and who you interact with. Often people post silly things – what they are planning for dinner, or serious things, like posting about a missing child, or in-between things, like organizing a class reunion.
If you have friends and family around the world, it helps you keep in touch with them, share pictures, etc. In addition, if you have a smart phone you can connect your Facebook account to your phone and see updates at any time, or upload pictures and post comments wherever you are.
If you have kids under 18, then there are compelling reasons to join Facebook. Kids cannot join (legally) until they are 13. If your kids are on Facebook, you may want to be there, and make them accept your friend request. Your presence there may give them pause to upload that raunchy post or picture. Teenagers on Facebook still need some parental guidance on what they post, because posting nude or semi-nude photos of their young selves or their young friends can still be seen as distribution of child pornography at worst, and could also impact their employability or whether or not they get that Catholic university scholarship!
Your kids are smart – they can always create another account that does not include you, the parent as a friend. If you regularly check your child’s Facebook account and notice few friends, posts etc, but know that they are on Facebook a lot, those spidy senses should be telling you that your kid has a sham account for you and a real one for their friends!
On the downside, Facebook occasionally changes its security process, and when doing that turns off the security you have worked so hard to set up, causing you to do it all over again. In addition, Facebook controls (in fact, “owns”) all the data on its site, so if one day a Facebook server goes kablooey, your stuff may be gone. It is unlikely, but a risk you should be aware of.
As well, if you are an occasional user and not familiar with security, you might post pictures that you do not want public (not everyone likes to post pictures of their kids for the entire world to see). You may also receive inappropriate and annoying posts, though admittedly you cannot really control what others share, and it is really easy to ignore such posts.
Our recommendation: take the plunge into Facebook if you are not already there. There are lots of resources to help you get going, including your kids or grandkids. They would love to help you I am sure, and they may even let you be their friends!
Here is a site that provides video training – http://www.estampede.org/video-tutorials.html – now don’t be afraid, it was made for the Republican Party in the US, but the videos show the basics of using social media. A general search on YouTube will also yield some useful videos.
…why you should join Facebook: http://technologygear.net/top-10-reasons-for-why-you-should-join-facebook.html
…why your business should join Facebook: http://www.sitepronews.com/2010/08/09/top-ten-reasons-your-business-should-utilize-facebook/
…and why you shouldn’t: http://gizmodo.com/5530178/top-ten-reasons-you-should-quit-facebook