Can anyone believe that just a few years ago nobody new what Facebook was? Now it's pretty much impossible to get away from it and most people we know are found there. Facebook is changing how we use the internet and how we communicate with each other. No, this isn't an ad for Zuckerberg's creation, just a rant and some thoughts.
I started using email and computer networking back in the early '90s, when it was mainly BBS and Usenet. I remember the great novelty of the World Wide Web when I was in vet school and how new all of that seemed. As the Internet grew, we moved from usegroups to online forums, which really dominated social networking until Facebook came around. And now it seems like all of this is morphing again, with older forms falling by the wayside.
A group I'm heavily involved in, Fans For Christ, started as a forum several years ago. A couple of years ago we started a Facebook group which has really taken off through 2011. As the traffic on Facebook has increased, the posting on the forum has significantly decreased. We've even brought this point up in discussions, and it seems that people are just on Facebook so much that they'd rather communicate there than on the forum. This is despite the fact that our group is so active that posts and discussions quickly get lost as new comments are made, something that isn't a concern on a forum. In a way, Facebook is hurting our forum and it doesn't look like this is going to reverse.
I've recently made a foray into Google+, which was supposed to be Google's answer to Facebook. Really, it doesn't seem like much is going on there, and few people are very active. I've even talked to some of my friends and they admit they are much more active elsewhere. And guess where that is? Ding-ding! Yep, Facebook.
Thankfully we still have blogs for more long-form writing, though I'm waiting for Facebook to somehow take over that area as well. And I can't really blame anyone, because I'm on Facebook also!
Give it another five years or so and I'll be we'll see the next iteration of electronic social interaction. Think not? Remember MySpace? Yep, that's what I thought.