Facebook is a Thing

The third of the 10 USQ 23 Things is Facebook. I’ve been on Facebook (peter.albion) since May 2006 and confess to checking it more than once each day. In fact, because I have it on all my Macs, my iPhone and iPads and it is integrated at system level with notifications switched on, I tend to be alerted to things as they happen although I don’t look every time a notification appears. Mostly I’ll look in the morning and at night and in occasional downtimes through the day.

Whereas my Twitter activity tends to be primarily professional and work-related, my Facebook activity is much more about family and friends. My wife, children, older grandchildren, siblings and in-laws, nephews and nieces are all on Facebook and it provides the basic thread of family communication. My mother, who turns 90 this month, is on Facebook at least daily and uses it to keep up with the family. The broader range of my 170 or so Facebook friends does include professional connections but they are mostly those with whom some personal rapport has developed rather than purely work-based connections.

I do follow USQ and some Facebook pages from professional groups such as ISTE and its teacher education network, ACEC and some others. I have also liked an eclectic collection of pages of general interest such as ABC Radio National, The Waifs, Michael Leunig Appreciation page, and Bird in Hand winery. The consequence is that my Facebook diet is rich and varied but it reflects my personal, rather than professional, interests. I prefer it that way.

The content that I post to Facebook is as eclectic as what I follow. I use Selective Tweets and a #fb hashtag to push occasional tweets to Facebook when I think that something there (usually professional or political) might be of interest to sufficient of my Facebook friends to make it worthwhile. When I am travelling, with my wife or alone, or out and about at some social activity I’ll often use Facebook Check In from my phone to let family and friends know what we are up to. My travel blog is set to post a note to Facebook whenever there is a new post there and I also share photos from my Flickr page when I post a new set.

Since November 2011 I’ve completed two 365 projects that have involved posting a photo to Facebook each day for a year. The first was based on the original 365 Grateful Project but the second was a simple photo-a-day effort using the Project365 app on my iPhone to manage photos and post them to the project site, Facebook, and my Flickr 365 set. Facebook added to the fun and interest of the projects by providing a regular audience and opportunities for conversation about the photos and associated activities.

For me the major benefit of Facebook is keeping up with family and friends, sharing something of both the major events and daily trivia in their lives (and mine), and being able to respond. Sometimes that response can be as quick and simple as clicking “Like” on a post or photograph. At other times the response may need a private message via Facebook or other medium. The likelihood is that without Facebook I’d know little or nothing about the day to day activity of most of my family and friends.