Oh Facebook

Dear Facebook,

Thank you for doing my business assignment.

Love Rachel

When I think about Facebook, I sigh.

Because a huge part of me really wishes I could shred my Facebook profile into a million little pieces. A huge part of me hates that I have created my own little online Rachel.

Meet Virtual Rachel.

A huge part of me hates that Facebook has created an excuse for people to escape themselves. We can be anything or anyone on Facebook: we can create ourselves exactly as we want other people to see us, which creates a non-reality for not only those viewing, but also for ourselves.

A huge part of me hates that anyone can look at my pictures, read my status updates and wall posts, and pretty much know exactly what I’m doing, who I’m doing it with, and why, without even having to shoot me a text or give me a call. Of course, this is all my doing.

A huge part of me hates that everything I have posted online or anything anyone has posted about me online is permanent. I hate that we have all jumped on the Facebook bandwagon without really trying to predict or analyze the inevitable consequences that Facebook will have on my generation and on our own personal lives.

A huge part of me hates that I indeed cannot delete my Facebook account because I would completely cut myself off not only to being able to keep up with people that I usually would not have time to call or meet with, but also to a lot of important information, whether meeting information, party invitations, and emails that I would otherwise not receive if I didn’t have Facebook. Because you don’t always have someone’s email address, the Facebook Messaging capability has almost completely taken the place of email, at least within social circles. Also, because everyone can find anyone’s Facebook profile, but not necessarily their email, it is much more effective to send meeting notifications or invitations via Facebook since everyone will be sure to receive them. So, if I deleted my account, I would not get important messages and announcements critical to my social, academic, and professional life.

SO despite feeling naked and exposed for all to see via Facebook, I have found a new, and quite fascinating positive aspect of Facebook.

This semester I am taking a class on Global Entrepreneurship. Our professor gave us a final project which required us to interview two global entrepreneurs. The time span that she gave us was 2 weeks, which was a pretty short period of time, especially when it comes to trying to get in contact with and schedule meetings with very busy and sought-after entrepreneurs. Many of the students in the class had a lot of trouble with this assignment, because almost none of us were easily able to get in touch with the entrepreneurs.

“Gatekeepers” became our worst enemy. Most of the individuals we wanted to interview had gatekeepers, or people whose jobs specifically were to prevent people like me and my fellow classmates from “bothering” the entrepreneur. Many entrepreneurs do not provide direct personal emails either, so they are most likely never going to read anything you send them.

How did we solve these problems?

Facebook.

Turns out, every global entrepreneur, at least the less famous ones, have personal Facebook accounts. They’re people, just like everyone else, after all. So, we began to send messages to our entrepreneurs through Facebook, hoping that this message might get to them directly. Sure enough, many of the students in my class were able to directly contact the person they wanted to interview.

In one student’s case, the gatekeeper had told them that the entrepreneur had no time until the end of May, almost three months from the assignment’s due date. The student decided to send a Facebook message to the person as a last ditch attempt.

Within an hour, the entrepreneur had responded, saying he had plenty of time to meet that very night.

I have my issues with Facebook. But as it turns out, Facebook can actually serve us well in unexpected places. I used Facebook to make business connections that I never would have been able to make otherwise.

So Facebook, I will still sigh when I think of you.

But I will also send you a thank-you note for helping me do my homework.

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Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

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