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March 2011

I'm Now on Facebook and Part of the 21st Century

I've finally joined the 21st century and started a Facebook page. It's still early in the century so in that sense at least I'm not that far behind.

I've been hesitant to do it because of what we know about the potential problems associated with social media and my concerns about the ability to maintain the privacy and boundaries needed for a safe and respectful site for any visitors. These concerns are balanced by my wish to be more accessible to the community but feeling somewhat limited by the constraints of my website and this blog.

What I realize now is that the spontaneity and openness of Facebook that I initially feared as a potential problem can be harnessed (I'm hoping!) to my need for more a fluid and dynamic relationship with the community. My comfort level with social media has grown exponentially in the past year, somewhat paralleling the exponential growth of the power of Internet technology.

Throughout history, changes in communications technology (for example, printing press, radio, television, etc.) are initially met with much fear and skepticism. Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase "the medium is the message" in the 1960's to cleverly demonstrate that the content of the message itself is often not as important as how the message is transmitted by a technology. In other words, the Internet technology itself (Facebook, Twitter) that is being used to communicate the message is transforming our lifestyle, attitudes, and behaviors in ways that are more important than the actual messages that are being sent over the Internet.

So, I'm looking forward to learning more about using social media as tools in my work and personal life, but keeping mindful of the problems associated with Internet addiction and the damaging consequences associated with Internet use if we're not careful.

Let me know what you think, and I look forward to seeing you on Facebook!

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