Social Media Matrix
From Facebook's recent partnership with Skype (which is now live, offering video chat to the social networking millions) to rumors of possible charges for certain services, the status of Facebook has in many ways become the status quo of communication the world over. From cute posts featuring a co-worker's kid to over-shares of the worst kind featuring a relative's lost Vegas weekend, Facebook and it's social media counterparts have infiltrated every facet of even the smallest community making interpersonal communications anything but personal.
Here in the Sun Advocate's office, Facebook can be seen on every computer screen at one time or another throughout the day. The program is so popular in fact that office management has placed restrictions on just how much time employees can spend with the site open.
However, in many instances, time spent on Facebook has become "work" for many in the office as the Sun Ad's own FB page is quickly becoming the best way to post breaking news and draw readers to what is happening now as sunad.com.
This differentiation between "work" and "play" is the current genius of Facebook, frivolous communications have become deadly serious. According to recent stories posted on the Huffington Post, Time Magazine and Forbes online FB is now a essentially a must have for any business looking to appeal to a wireless generation of consumers.
Time.com recently reported that communications as serious as foreclosure notices are now routinely delivered via Facebook.
Battle royals normally reserved for the yearly family reunion are now brought to bear for the whole of the net to see, individuals are fired from longtime jobs and decade long relationships are ended.... all on the open line that is Facebook.
While privacy issues concerning personal data are debated by courts all over the world, posts continue to become more personal. And even as said courts debate user privacy, the courts themselves (most notably those in Australia) have labeled the media site as a "reliable, secure and private medium for communication."
The moral of the story it seems is do not underestimate the importance or staying power of any comment posted for your "friends." According to the same Time article, 81 percent of divorce lawyers surveyed over the course of a year stated that they have used or faced evidence from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networks in a recent case.
For business practices the percentages are even higher, social media has become an essential, customer base building tool that every business, of every size is using. These applications help build and recruit consumers who are increasingly tied to their wireless selves. If a website is an online store, Facebook and it's ilk are the coffeehouse, the club or the bar where word of mouth reviews are spread.
While the weight of Facebook's ascendance as public record may seem a little heavy, at its core the site is still meant for interpersonal communications. And communications are thriving, Facebook has grown to more than 550 million users as of the end of 2010. Demonstrating an exponential level of growth starting at a mere 5.5 million users in Dec of 2005.
If it was a joke two years ago that "even my grandma has a Facebook page," in 2011 she is posting several video responses a day.
The Castle Valley, along with the rest of the country, will see consumer community building, wireless integration and legal correspondence via Facebook will become more and more a part of everyday life.
But for now, the occasional inter-office over-share, abrupt relationship status change or family feud will have to keep us entertained.