Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's okay to poke me? Why Facebook is the communications tool of our time.

Last week, I received a poke. No, not the kind you're thinking of but a virtual nudge from someone I've never met. Christal McIntosh is a PR practitioner in Barbados and she poked me because she wanted to share her good news, the Barbados Public Relations Association had just launched. Soon after accepting Christal's friendly nudge that I got another poke from another member of the same Association who saw that Christal and I had become friends. The same thing happened again and again by the end of the week I had four friendship requests from the island.

Why do I have all these new found friends? It's because of Facebook, a social media tool that's spreading like a case of malaria at a stadium. I am a newbie. I linked onto Facebook just 6 weeks ago and I instantly recognised that it permitted me to connect with my friends in ways I never could before. For the uninitiated (and is there anyone out there who is not on) Facebook allowed me to constantly chronicle my life and watch on like a voyeur on the fortunes and follies of my friends. Suddenly in my over stretched world I found the time to connect.

I wished my dear friend Happy Birthday on her message wall and sent her a little yellow potted plant and a glass of bubbles for $1. I like seeing my friend's updates on their grids and they know when I am having the week from hell, because I post it on my wall. It may seem artificial that I don't have to go out of my way to get in touch. But the ease of Facebook has been my saving grace. A long time ago my life had moved full scale into the digital fast lane but even as it has I have been forced to acknowledge that there is value in reaching out and within. When a best friend changed her dating status from "In a Relationship" to "Single," I took her out for drinks, I started with her favourite because it was listed on her Facebook as such.

Why would I be telling you so much about my private life in my business column? Here's what I've been thinking. If Facebook was able to transform my personal life, imagine what it could do in my business world. I am not positive that I have the answer right here and now but what I know for sure is that I am willing to explore the question. I've have a new member of staff who will devote most of her time to exploring how far Facebook can take us into creating conversations with communicators and PR practitioners from around the world. I am going to see how best we can turn it into a utility tool to facilitate the information flow among my professional connections. People that I know and those that I don't. And yes! I am going to do it one poke at a time.

You can check out or join Mango Media Caribbean's on Facebook at Search for Mango Media Caribbean.