I've always been skeptical about using Facebook for social media, in fact I've had some heated debates with people who suggest that it's "better than twitter" - but I'm beginning to wonder if I've just been taking a close-minded approach to it and if there is in fact some value to be had. I've noticed more and more people using it recently, so I've decided to give it a go.
How it Started
Gary Vaynerchuk has always been a big advocate of using Facebook to connect with people, and it certainly works for him - he has over 300,000 "fans". Recently though I've noticed people closer to our specific industry using it too. Aaroni for example has a facebook page which he uses in much the same way as a Twitter account, but with added features for discussions, etc.
Personally I've had a Facebook profile for years (as most people have), but I don't use it to connect with web designers or people with similar interests to me. I use it to keep in touch with friends and family who I grew up with / went to school with. These people couldn't care less if I were to start posting about CSS3 and HTML5, in fact on the few occasions that I have done this it's genuinely annoyed them. The reason that I'm friends with these people isn't cause we share a common interest/passion, but rather that we share a common history/family.
From talking to many of you on Twitter, you seem to be saying the same things:
HughCollier @JohnONolan No. I use Facebook for friends and stuff outside of work. Everyone of my Facebook friends are people I've met in real life. g33kguy @JohnONolan No, sure don't. Facebook is more personal for me. I use Twitter almost exclusively to connect with other designers out there. therosco @JohnONolan Not so far, just use it to chat and share stuff with real-life friends... one is a web designer if that counts jmlares @JohnONolan @g33kguy @iktomi @savagemic @jmlares @HughCollier I just don't think it's the place to do it, FB is more on the personal level
But Are We Missing Something?
People who are having success with Facebook (for the most part) don't use Facebook profiles they use Facebook pages. They're setting themselves up as public figures, brands, or businesses, and using Facebook in this way to connect with new people rather than people who they already know.
Something else to consider is that perhaps we (the group of people discussing this on Twitter last night) are overlooking that we don't use Facebook to talk to other web designers because we use Twitter. But not everyone uses Twitter.
There's also something to be said for this whole discussion being industry specific. For example, web designers are far more likely to be tech-heads and be using all the latest and greatest social networks, whereas dog owners may not be in the slightest interested in anything but one service.
Giving it a Try
All of this got me thinking that maybe there are a load of people on Facebook who don't use Twitter, and who are interested (to whatever degree) in web design, freelancing, and business. It would be foolish to simply assume that everyone worth connecting with in the web design business is on Twitter, so with that in mind I'm going to give it a try and see if I can connect with some new people.
I'm still keeping my Facebook profile seperate and private for friends and family only, but I've now set up a Facebook page (which let me tell you, is almost more painful that trying to make a MySpace page look good). I'll be using this page to pull in all my latest blog posts, tweets, and other updates to try and spread my content to a wider network. I guess we'll see how it goes!
My one annoyance with Facebook pages is that you have to become a "fan" of a page... I don't want any fans, I'm not famous, and I my ego isn't sufficiently big yet that I think I'm worthy of people worshipping me in the way actual fans worship musicians. It would've been nice if Facebook had used more social language, like "followers" for example.
What do You Think?
Is this something that you think is worthwhile? Do you think we'll be seeing more Facebook usage in the future? If you're on Facebook and you're interested in talking to me on there, go ahead and check out my page!