In Gilbert Cruz’s Times article How Facebook Is Affecting School Reunions? he states that the ability to locate former classmates through Facebook and other social media websites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, has left alumni organizations wondering if the traditionally organized class reunion has seen the end of its day.
As a recent graduate of the Algonquin College public relations program, I can appreciate that college alumni associations have been affected by the use of Facebook. My entire class is connected through Facebook and many of us are on LinkedIn and Twitter. Upon graduation, we have pursued our careers in communications with our own networks available to us through social media websites.
I can appreciate the reality that perhaps there is less mystery or anticipation before a class reunion when the majority of people are able stay relatively up-to-date with former classmates through Facebook. However, I believe the biggest advantage of Facebook is that colleagues can stay in touch beyond the reunion and more easily foster relationships that cross geographic regions. Brian Solis, Principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning PR and New Media agency in Silicon Valley, claims that “Facebook is currently the world’s largest social network with over 200 million users across the globe.”
We can now arguably find one another almost instantly, as opposed to the past when we had to look each other up in a phonebook or track down each other’s parents to get in touch with one another.
According to Maggie Fox, CEO of Social Media Group, “Facebook has 150 million active users and half of those users visit every day.” I remember when I was in my third year of university at King’s College in Halifax and Myspace was the common social networking site among my peers. Although it was predominantly used by artists and musicians, I found that most of my friends used Myspace to post their photos and blogs. Perhaps it reflects the arts culture in Halifax, but Myspace seemed to be the more popular of the two. Facebook was just starting to gain momentum among my peers in 2006 and the transition between Myspace and Facebook was gradual for most of us. It’s unfathomable how quickly Facebook has expanded in just three years! It seems that now in many situations when I meet someone new our conversation ends in “do you have Facebook?”
Facebook and other social media sites are allowing users to stay in touch and share interests, which is opening a platform for new and exciting discussions. I feel privileged to be entering the workforce with a wide network of colleagues whom I can contact and expect to receive a prompt response. Although social media is affecting businesses in many sectors that have helped to facilitate social interaction, I feel that these businesses should consider engaging in social media to help improve their online visibility. Building online credibility will inevitably help to raise awareness about their services to publics across the globe.