The Facebook Epiphany

I have a group of high school friends I get together with each year for a reunion. We have history. We like each other. We keep in touch via phone calls and e-mail because we don't have geographic proximity. We should have been the perfect test group for the article I’m writing about using existing social networking apps to connect people with shared passion or common interests.

However, as sometimes happens, when you start researching you find something you didn’t expect to find.

I set up our group’s page with a story or two of memories and photos of us complete with 80’s hair and my parent’s flowery couch; but then only one of my friends joined Facebook. (Lynette-the-Cowgirl, in case you were wondering.)

Now understand, the test drive was outlined as a pretty limited commitment. Join Facebook (free + 10 min of time to set up), connect your profile to the group, then check the group page and your personal page once a week for eight weeks to help me with this article. The other three came back with…”please don’t make us do this…” after the “what is Facebook?”

After replying to the last rejection e-mail, I went back to my profile and had an epiphany. Everyone who is actually using Facebook to connect with me is under 30. The generational divide is marked. Except for my one futurist/guru friend, Rex Miller, the only ones fully using the tool are Net Gen.

I even searched for another guru/author friend of mine who is known for being on the cutting edge of future thinking. He wasn't there, but his college-age kids came up. (I haven't actually met his kids, but they do have a unique last name and the resemblance was pronounced.) I e-mailed him to tell him about it and his response was the equivalent of “But, I already have a webpage.”

What?

And so, my article is going to have to take a markedly different slant than I thought it would when I began. If churches and philanthropic organizations try to use Facebook with their 40 & up members, the odds are pretty high they are going to be hitting their head against a wall; however, for the 20-somethings they can’t afford to remain illiterate on it.

The Cobalt group at Crosspointe is using Facebook extensively to plan, share and keep in touch. A group of 20-somethings, they don't know it yet, but they are going to make a perfect test group. That is, if they’ll let 40-something me join in.
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall