Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Using Facebook

Yes, it's true, I've been running the CESL Facebook account. That means I get in there every once in a while and announce whatever activity we're having. If I have time, I make it into an "event" and invite everyone; doing so often means that a few more people will attend it. Some are people from the community who simply want to stay informed about CESL and what it does. So yes, this seems like a worthwhile use of my time, not that I haven't offered to share it.

The question around Facebook is really this: Should an organization like CESL exploit it to its full advantage, getting out there as much as possible, attracting fans, using it to store pictures, etc.? Or, should we take the opposite approach (as a recent CoLA Council decided), shunning it, avoiding it, its viruses, its phishers and its social nature like the plague? Obviously I have taken a middle-ground approach. My stand is that of course we need a page (as we need a phone number, for example); of course we need to maintain it (as we should our web site also); and, of course we want to at least appear to be a happening place with an interesting social life...which means that, if we encounter good pictures of people having fun, we should put them there.

Having said that, I can now say that any problem that the SIUC web system is now having with its photographs, and its responsibility for what happens on its web system, will ultimately move over and apply to whatever any organization here does with Facebook, Twitter, or the social media. It seems like a good venue now; it seems like it's where all the young people are, and it is. But it's a place that makes its own rules, and an organization that really wants to use it will have to play by those rules, which might change.

I always figured that if people found us and joined, fine, they could put up with whatever phishers came to them through us. If we solicited their membership, however, we would become responsible for whatever happened to them through our site. If we solicit their pictures, similarly, we become responsible for whatever happens to those pictures through our site. No thanks to soliciting, was my response. I've become quite conservative in my ambitions for the site, based on reading I've done pertaining to organizations and Facebook. I'd point you to those readings, but the bibliography that had them was recently removed from CESL's website. Click on Facebook below, though, and you'll find some of them.

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