After filling in the basic setup info, the first thing I did was let Facebook search for and find some people I knew. I let it scan through my email contacts list, and it went out and searched its own records for my fellow graduates and other people I “might know” based on information I gave it. Then I got curious and started typing in names of people to search for. I was able to re-connect with some wonderful gems from my past whom I didn’t think I’d ever talk to again. A few of us went so far as to get on the phone for an epic catch up. A few more I’ve been able to meet up with while the timing and location is right.
Online, “friends” exchange nods and comments on the threads each other are sharing. A simple click of the “Like” button joins you to a conversation and affirms to the other end(s) that you’re listening. A few keystrokes in the comment box extends and adds value to the conversation. When you join conversations, you expose yourself. Many people simply “lurk“, while others engage in conversation and open themselves up to growing their network.
Everyone has their own sort of metric for how they decide whether or not to “friend” someone. Or, in more practical terms, who to add to their social graph. I tend towards the more open side of things and will add someone to my graph if I’ve met them in person or if we share some significant common interest or circumstance.
As such I make sure to pay attention to who is listening. Initially Facebook was a place for sharing personal threads, but over time my graph has grown to include many of the professionals I work with.
If you’re not sure what this social networking stuff is, here’s a handy vid from the swell folks over at Common Craft: