July 31, 2008

Facebook – “Friending” the World

Social networking sites like Facebook have changed the way people socialize – allowing friends to share photos, messages, and gossip in one convenient online spot. Facebook was created in 2004 by a college student, for college students, with great success. Since then, Facebook has grown tremendously, with more than 80 million active users today. The concept of social networking is so popular, in fact, that it’s even turned the word “friend” into a verb (I “friend” you when I add you to my list of Facebook friends). With the introduction of third party applications within Facebook, users are also sending virtual beer, hugs, karma, and flowers to friends.

Because of its heavy base of young adults, many don’t think of Facebook as a useful online tool for business or families. If used consciously, however, Facebook can be handy as well as fun. Professional Facebook users can create a work-friendly profile to connect with colleagues and clients, to promote causes, support presidential candidates, or publish creative work. Families can use Facebook to update relatives and share memories. Because Facebook is growing so quickly and has so many users, it has become a new sort of public space – a place where people can come together to share ideas and discuss opportunities, as well as a place to sit down for a virtual drink with a friend.

Practical Uses:

  • Build your social network with clients and coworkers
  • Keep a group of far-off friends and family up-to-date with your family news, photos, and events
  • Publish your own creative writing or artwork
  • Build awareness and raise funds for a non-profit charity, school, or cause
  • Publicize events and happenings in your neighborhood

Insider Tips:

  • Check out the gallery of Facebook Applications where you can place widgets on your page (examples: photos from Flickr, favorite books from Shelfari, etc.) 
  • As you set up your profile, spend some time looking at the privacy link and adjust your settings. If set to default, your data on Facebook will be very public
  • Don’t be afraid to use the “block application” feature to avoid getting too many unwanted invitations
  • In the “news feed and mini-feed” section of privacy, be sure to opt out of the “actions on external websites,” to avoid accidentally sharing unwanted information with your Facebook contacts

What we liked:

  • Facebook is an increasingly ubiquitous way to connect with large, medium, and small groups of people
  • The limited amount of information required to setup a page makes it easy to get started 
  • Facebook makes it easy for companies, entrepreneurs, authors, political candidates, and non-profits to use viral marketing techniques
  • Many blog, news, and online articles include Facebook links within the text that allow readers to share the article with others on Facebook

What we didn’t like:

  • Facebook has raised eyebrows with privacy concerns in the past year, especially with its unconventional (and aggressive) advertising techniques
  • Although we like the inherent uniformity of the Facebook page designs (as opposed to MySpace), the limited personalization does tend to become boring


Company Info:

  • Launched: February 2004
  • Privately Owned
  • Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA
  • Founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes
  • Web site:


  • Free (funded by advertising)


  • 4 out of 5 (great)
Screenshot showing all recent activity from my friends
Screenshot of my friend activity page capable of sorting and searching
Screenshot of just a few of the thousands of plugin applications available on Facebook
Screenshot showing Facebook\'s email inbox


  1. David just added 3 new sites to their Top 10 Employment sites list:

    Only one of them is a social network. Employers and recruiters dont care if they know someone, they want to hire the most qualified candidate….nothing will ever change that.

  2. Hey what a blog,,,so you take any donations?

  3. Thanks for the feedback, we work hard on this blog but it’s a personal passion so there’s no need to donate. That said, I’d love to see you donate to Compassion International or another worthy charitable organization instead.

  4. Nice post. Thank you for the info. Keep it up.

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