I was chatting online with a friend via gmail at 3AM a couple days ago and was asked if I am on Facebook. I said, I'm not a member of Facebook, and I don't really have a reason to be. You see, I was online at 3AM because I could not find time to do certain online things at home, I had an opportunity to do so and I got online to finish a few necessary tasks. My friend mentioned how several people from our college days are on Facebook, I figured as much, since most people you and I know are on it by now. Most of the friends who I keep in touch with I already do via email and phone, on occasion. I hardly have enough time to do that with those so why would I join Facebook? I remember joining one of the first online social networks years ago. Sixdegrees, Asianavenue and many others have come and gone.
I find it interesting how social network members migrate from one system to another. It is inherent in the system that members will follow other members, since that is the social aspect of it. At this moment the largest social network is Facebook. A few years ago it was MySpace. I'm sure in another couple of years, another network will be named the number one online social network. After all, its just a popularity contest, right?
My personal belief about social networks is to stick to the real world (yes I'm a "techie" and I said that). The best network is still a personal one in which your most trusted friends make or recommend information and offers help. When your computer breaks down, who would you rather call, a friend you know who has the time to help out and offer advice or calling Geeksquad (affiliated with BestBuy)? I would go for the friend, though in this instance, since I'm a "techie", I would be the one my friends would call. Same goes with doctor recommendations and mechanics. I've asked friends for doctor recommendations, even if I don't get a direct name, I usually get a nudge in the right direction. I've offered recommendations to several friends to visit my auto mechanic, who was in turn referred by my cousin years ago. The list goes on and on.
So what do you think, should I join Facebook and find my long lost friends? Perhaps I should email or call them instead? What's your favorite social network? How much time do you spend on this network on a weekly basis? If you had only 1 hour available a week, would you rather get together, call friend(s) or chat with them online?