Social Networks: Getting on Facebook, finally.

15 Apr, '08

What got me to investigate Facebook again, this time seriously, is the recent Aspen conference in which several panellists emphasised the use of social networks in various “serious” fields including business, commerce and finance as well as other fields. This of course put paid to my prejudices against that site and I decided that the best way to actually find out more about it, is to jump right in and use it. And that, I have started to do.

Why would I want to do so; however? Well, I want to use it to explore better ways to communicate with people online, in a more interactive fashion than say a blog can. There is no way I am going to abandon this blog, this continues to remain my top priority, but I shall look for ways to also enhance the blog by the use of these social networks and give both them and myself an honest chance to see how I can benefit from them.

This, once again proves what my younger brother Hani told me in exasperation many years ago when he saw me “fighting” with a computer program to force bending it to my way of working. What he said was simple: “Don’t fight with the computer, it’s always going to win!” He further suggested that I should just find out the limitations and either find ways around them, or just accept them and get on with my life. The main issue is for using the program and the computer to do what you want to do, rather than allowing it to take over your life by trying to force it to do something it wasn’t designed to do in the first place!

So I’ve given up fighting. There are far too many indications which prove that I was wrong to regard these things as a fad, and it’s time to find out more conducive ways to utilise them. I’m not alone in this stream, of course, there are many other people and organisations who successfully integrated themselves and businesses within the social networks spheres and benefited from them. I intent to do just that too.

There is a very good program that I have also coincidently partly listened to on the BBC World Service a few minutes ago talking about the effects of social networks from Facebook to LinkedIn. I just downloaded the Podcast so I can listen to it in its entirety. I know that it will give me some guidance by finding out how others use these services.

There is a large community of Bahrainis on Facebook of course and they are creating a lot of special interest groups one can join. One of the latest is what my friend Mohammed Al-Ubaydli brings to our attention in his latest blog post:

But against such a depressing new story it is my pleasure to announce the new Facebook group we created at the Bahraini Embassy in Washington DC for Bahraini students in North America. If someone you love is a Bahraini student in a university in North America then show them how much you care by sending them a link to the page.

Apart from the group above, I have created two groups which you might be interested in joining, both are open and welcome anyone to do so; the first is Bahrain Bloggers group, and the second is what I hope to be a fun place to be in, it’s the Mahmood’s Den Groupies group!

Have fun in these social networks my friends, and do please help this geezer to understand them better by participating in the above groups!

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Comments (17)

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  1. nibaq says:

    I was listening to the same BBC show on the radio too. Social networks are great and have lots of features and options to connect people.

    Yet they all come and go. I see them as a new club or restaurant that just opened up where everyone flocks too and tries to get in. Then after a while they lose that edge they had at first and another one opens up down the street.

    Rinse repeat.

    Your blog and other distributed content managers are going to be the future. With WebApps like FriendFeed.com , SocialThing.com you have options to keep track of all your friend in multiple social networks and their own blogs in one simple page.

    I got invites to Socialthing.com if you want to give it a try.

  2. mahmood says:

    Thanks my friend, and yes, I would appreciate the invite to see how that works.

  3. Redbelt says:

    Groupies? 😯

  4. mahmood says:

    loosen up! it’s fun 😛

  5. sunshine says:

    my reaction was just like redeblt’s!

    anyway, enjoy facebook, ull find its quite an addiction

  6. Loki says:

    ” There are far too many indications which prove that I was wrong to regard these things as a fad, ”

    If you do some research I think you’ll find your initial assessment to have been correct. Facebook traffic started to decline rather sharply several months ago. People are getting tired of the concept of posting your life on line for the “look how cool I am” factor. It doesn’t help that you sign over the rights to facebook.com for any content that you decide to post. Suggest you read their T&Cs carefully before you go down that road.

    I have a facebook account but I only use it as a yellow pages entry. No pictures, No applications.

  7. mahmood says:

    I must say that I held a position similar to yours not too long ago Loki. I still have an almost bare-bones installation in Facebook, but the thing is that it is a popular service with over 60 million subscribers. It has become almost a necessary tool, though I grant you that I am still trying to find how I should be using it.

    I prefer LinkedIn, that one is a business professional network that helped in a couple of occasions. Facebook – still – is just a teenage thing in comparison.

  8. Abu Arron says:

    Is it the newly announced powers that’s driving me to paranoia?

    Maybe I am alone in wondering who might misuse the availability of Den Groupies identifiable pictures that could be crossmatched with “unpalatable” (but peaceful) comments?!

  9. mahmood says:

    Ah… yes, the need for anonymity could still be maintained by lurking rather than participating, but that would take away some of the fun. I understand some people’s need not to divulge their identity and I fully respect that. Their call. The group was created to see what Facebook can provide that this site can’t.

  10. Abu Arron says:

    Lurking? Isn’t that a small furry rodent resident in South America? 😛

  11. mahmood says:

    Lurking is the very common practice of reading an online or e-mail discussion without taking part in the discussion. Most visitors to discussions on Web sites, Usenet groups, e-mail discussion groups, Internet Relay Chat channels, or bulletin board systems understandably spend much more time reading or “listening” than writing or “speaking.” What this term seems to imply in its usage is that some people benefit a great deal from a discussion without ever offering to enrich it with their own information or ideas. It is well understood and accepted, however, that there will always be lurkers in any discussion. And people new to a discussion are sometimes advised to lurk until they become familiar with the discussion.

  12. Abu Arron says:

    Strange. My wrist stings like it’s been slapped.

  13. Mike says:

    Kewl, let me join Facebook too, now let’s see, who shall I be??? hehehhee

    MTUA

  14. mahmood says:

    Nah, I just found the definition interesting but I was a bit busy at the time so it was a case of quick comment and run!

  15. Abu Arron says:

    لا مشكلة 😛

  16. Loki says:

    I am a member of LinkIn (erm, though not with the name loki!). Its not bad, and I’ve made the odd proffesional contact through it. Part of me is paranoid about sites like this being used by government agencies.

    In the past some of these professional network sites have actually been setup by US agencies. For the soul purpose of collecting data which the users were only to happy to provide.

  17. Facebook can be quite useful if you intend to use it for purpose. If you’re exploring social networks, you ought to try out Second Life also. I’ve attended sessions in SL like live music events/concerts to the Davos WEF – as well as tons of time wasting explorations ofcourse, but really, it’s fascinating. I’m working on a short film created within SL and aimed to be screened in SL. We’ll see how that experiment pans out! 😎

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