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What is Facebook?

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  #1  
Old 02-13-2010, 08:11 AM
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Icon5 What is Facebook?


A friend keeps urging me to get on Facebook. I don't know much about social networking sites, but from what I've seen looking over her shoulder when she posts, this is a sort of page where I'd put a bunch of info about myself, then post regular "updates" that other people can see. Then Facebook friends could post messages on my page or I on theirs. Is that the basic idea?

Mainly, I don't like the idea of posting identifying info on the internet. Sure, the only people who can see it are other Facebookers, but that's still a ton of people I don't know.

Then there's the updating. If I have something worth reporting on, I want to call or write to the person who cares, rather than posting it for the world and hoping someone who cares will read it. The updating seems impersonal: sending words into the ether rather than talking to someone. Though I haven't tried it, it seems like the same old connectivity without connection thing. Sometimes I overhear conversations in which people ask if the others have checked their Facebook pages rather than simply giving their news in person. Dead conversations.

Finally, and importantly, it seems addictive. I already spend too much time on the internet and not enough time on the creative projects I've started. No matter how fun Facebook might be, I can't see all the effort there adding up to something I truly want to make and keep in this world. And since I do love my internet time, I want to spend it places like Writer's Beat. I must prioritize, and I suspect that a social networking site would distract me from my priorities.

However, these reactions are not based on experience, since I've never done the Facebook thing. My resistance to Facebook is an emotional and uninformed reaction. So inform me, if you can, what is Facebook? I don't want to disrespect my friend by saying no to something she recommends simply because I haven't tried to understand it. If you use it, can you explain what you like about it? How much time does it take? Do you gain from it? Does it matter how many friends are on it? Like, would it be worth joining if you only know one person who uses it?

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Old 02-13-2010, 08:33 AM
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I had one of the worst experiences of my life (and there have been quite a few) on Facebook. As a result, I avoid social networking sites like the plague.
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:39 AM
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Oh, facebook . . . .

Facebook is different to each and every person. For some, it's life. It's the first thing they turn to in the morning and the last thing they look at in the evening. For others, it's something that they check sporatically--never posting--but having it up there so people won't harrass them about starting a "page."

With privacy, I really never thought it was an issue. For each and every element of facebook, you have different privacy options that you can set. From photos, to posts, to the "search" function--you can set it to either: 1. Show Everyone 2. Friends of Friends or 3. Just Friends. That way you can limit who has access to things to you write or post.

With the updating, it's gimmicky, but every once in a while there's some thought behind it. An old co-worker of mine had a baby not too long ago. She posted up the 8 lbs. whatever ounces, and I (along with many others) were able to "congrats!" her on it. I don't think she could have personally called all of the people she worked with, so posting it up for all to see was a good way of getting the message out about the birth. It was nicer for me then hearing "did you hear that she finally had her baby?" for some random person.

I use facebook about a total of 2-5 minutes a day. I go on, read what people have written me, and respond if necessary. That's it. I rarely post much random "I just ate pizza!" type comments, so I'm not wasting tons of my day on it.

To join up for the sole reason of one person would be pretty pointless--but you may be surprised how many come calling after that.
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:09 PM
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I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, the sad part is that it has become completely necessary in my life both in the personal and business realms. I think it's great you don't have an account (yet) because no matter how silly you think social networking is, it is a representation of your self and online identity.

I think it's important for you to consider what you plan on using it for.

In the online world, especially with online communities like WritersBeat, I do think facebook is a great tool for connecting with friends you have made within these communities in a such a manner that your connection transcends the actual community. In other words, facebook is great for developing connections with people who are otherwise constrained by geographical/temporal boundaries.

As for real life friends, my personal experience is that Facebook helps in the same fashion. I am a college student as are the majority of most of my friends. We live far apart, have hectic schedules, extracurricular stuff...phone calls are just not possible, and I think Facebook is a nice way to keep each other connected.
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:47 PM
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If you do, never, ever accept a request for Farmtown, or Farmville. I can't remember which one I played, but I played it for about eight days straight before an intervention was called. Just avoid it. Be strong!

Ahem.

I use my FB for gaming purposes. They have a typing test application that's the best one I've found online. And there are a lot of odd-end games that spark my interest every now and then, if Yahoo! Games aren't doing it for me.

As for friends, and actually using it for its intended purpose, I don't. Within a month I had 100+ friends, half of whom had family names, half of whom I had never met in my life (the two halves are one in the same -- I didn't even know this family was so big o.o). And then came the friend-whores, who didn't know me, but wanted to up their friend count, and after seventy people I didn't know had 'friended' me I deleted everyone except about fifteen people. Six I live with, and nine are e-friends who I talk to on AIM.

In the end, FB doesn't really serve a purpose. To me, anyway. Aside from the billion people who are so dying to be your friend, you get nine billion application invites, so if you get one you might have been interested in, its lost in the abyss. Even just with fifteen people. Imagine thirty, or forty. -shudders-

And if you have internet friends who have your AIM screen name, and you don't want them knowing your personal information, don't put it on your FB, if you do decide to create one. I had no idea the two networks were interlinked somehow, and the only reason those e-friends are on my FB in the first place is because, without my permission or intent, they found my FB through AIM. So after several years of successfully maintaining the alias, and withholding crucial personal information, it all went to shit because they found my FB. >.>
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:59 PM
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I warn you, facebook is a huge distractor. My friend invited me and I check my facebook like 2 times a day
I only have people I know in real life and one I know from YouTube on my friends list. You can chat (or debate for you adults out there) with your friends, share photos and messages, and play games
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:47 AM
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As I have a very good chance of getting one of my novels published as an ebook, I'm going to have to look into the world of blogs, Facebook and others.
I'm not thrilled about it but realize I'm going to have to help the publisher by touting my novel. That will mean interviews and such.
Where will I be most successful? Probably online as that seems to be the world where most ebooks and such are sold. I'll be listed on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel but will need to go beyond that.
So, any information on this kind of stuff will be appreciated.
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:21 PM
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I have a MySpace account, but I only use it to post pictures for my girlfriend and people I know in real life. The status was updated... um... October 3rd... I think I have a Facebook account too, but not sure, and I don't care to check.

The only thing I do like about Facebook is reading some of the other people's statuses. These ones:

http://failbooking.com/
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:25 PM
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I have a facebook account. I do find it slightly necessary for me. I'm able to network with other aspiring authors, published authors and the sort as well as it's one of the only ways I can have daily contact with family who live in different states, friends who have moved away and what not. (i'm not a big phone talker...i actually really HATE talking on the phone unless it's to my mum, which 5 x's a day is getting a bit blah. yes my mother calls me on average 5 x's a day AND texts me...the woman has no life. *sigh* but i love her.)
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:25 PM
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Just about all my family members are on there, and since most don't live in the same state it's a great way to get in contact with them. Then burying myself into phone books and empty envelopes on the desk looking for the ones with numbers on it. Hoping and praying that it's their work number.

I've found old school mates, neighbors, a starbucks manager who hooks my caffe mocha up.

Yup, it's pretty boring when no one you know is on there but overtime people you know may find you. *fingers crossed for someone you want to find you*


I've been distant from it lately though, I find myself 12 hrs deep in to the day and I havn't gotten anything done.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:42 AM
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I don't have one. I have a myspace account that I haven't checked in almost 2 years. I did reconnect with some people on it, but that's about the only good use I found on it. I don't want people to find me so easily as I am very private so I stay away from social sites, though I do feel that I'm missing something. All my family members seem to be on it and friends too. Everyone is always trying to convince me to join. Perhaps one day I will give in and join, but I really don't want to. When I hang out with a bunch of people who are friends with each other on it, I feel left out because they talk about it constantly, pictures they posted, things they said to each other. I can't figure out why grown adults are so obsessed about it. And why can't they email each other (and me) the pictures? Basically, I have pictures posted of me on other people's sites without my knowledge or without me even knowing what the picture is because I can't see it! I don't like that.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Karolina View Post
Basically, I have pictures posted of me on other people's sites without my knowledge or without me even knowing what the picture is because I can't see it! I don't like that.
Yeah, I think there are pictures of me on my friend's Facebook page. She "tags" my face to say my name, so people who hover their cursors over it can see. Um... people I don't know?

Privacy is a real concern. If by joining Facebook you input details about your identity, location, etc., then link your profile to other people's by friending or following or whatever the term is, then leave each other messages, play games with each other, and post pictures... that creates an enormous pool of data about you and your social activities and interests. I wonder how private Facebook stuff really is? Surely Facebook analyses (or hires people to analyse) all that data, in order to design new games, target ads, and otherwise make money off the users. So who's tracking your information once you put it in there and what are they doing with it? Maybe I'm paranoid, but I don't like the idea of putting all kinds of personal information in an easily accessed place. If my friends can find it, surely Stalker!guy and PotentialEmployer and passing-acquaintances can find it too, and I might not want them too.

My brother, who is much more computer savvy than I, set up my laptop for me and installed a bunch of privacy stuff on my internet: Ghostery, NoScript, and a couple other Firefox add-ons. NoScript blocks a lot of ads and other scripts that run silently in the background of ordinary pages. It's a bit startling to find out how many non-Facebook websites have Facebook scripts running on them. What's Facebook doing there? Advertising? Gathering consumer data?

Maybe I am paranoid, but honestly? I can't expect anyone in the world to protect me, online or off, but myself. I'm leery of social networking sites because it puts a lot of variables out of my own control. Like El's story on AIM and Facebook somehow being linked, and people she didn't want having her personal info suddenly having it.

Daedalus, if you don't mind sharing, what was the nature of your bad experience? I don't need details if they're private; I'm just wondering whether it was a social thing or a privacy violation or what? Was it unique to Facebook's set-up, or could it have happened anywhere on the internet?
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:03 PM
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All of your concerns about privacy won't matter. If you join Facebook or not, your friends or people you hang out with, can very much take photos of you, upload, and tag you in them, even if you're not on the site. Entering your location, age, phone number, address, job, college, is all optional, you don't have to include those things. Also, it doesn't have to be true, you're friends and family know who you are you don't need a personal pic of you on Facebook.
Anyway, there's ways that people can find you, if they wanted to, Facebook or not.
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by winterstorm View Post
Anyway, there's ways that people can find you, if they wanted to, Facebook or not.
That is true, but you can make it harder to be found. I am constantly googling my name just to see what comes up. So far I've only found a couple of poems that I've published online, but that's ok. I don't mind that. I like to have control of what is out there about me. If I find that someone put my name to a picture, I will be sure to tell me to not do that.

Facebook is very easy to hack. People put their lives out there like nothing; pictures of their kids which any pedephile can upload into their desktop and you will never know it. People posing with drinks in their hands at a party, which any employer can find. If I can find stuff, employers can. They hire people just for that purpose. People who are a lot more computer savvy than I am.

Links are so easy to find. You find one person, and that leads you to other people. You have a whole list of who is friends with whom, pictures, activities. It's too easy, and I don't like it. I can't get over the fact that people are so willing to put themselves out there for the world to see.
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by winterstorm View Post
All of your concerns about privacy won't matter. If you join Facebook or not, your friends or people you hang out with, can very much take photos of you, upload, and tag you in them, even if you're not on the site. Entering your location, age, phone number, address, job, college, is all optional, you don't have to include those things. Also, it doesn't have to be true, you're friends and family know who you are you don't need a personal pic of you on Facebook.
Anyway, there's ways that people can find you, if they wanted to, Facebook or not.
True, just as there are ways of getting sick no matter what precautions you take to be healthy. But that doesn't mean we should all stop taking precautions. Safety can be a numbers game... we can't protect ourselves from everything, just reduce opportunities for damage.

Right now, there are photos of me on my friend's page. She's no doubt tagged them with my name. But if someone sees them and thinks "Hmm, I wonder who that girl is," they can't just click on my face and find my profile with various other pictures of me, info about the music festival I'm going to next week, chit-chat about my interests, in-jokes with my friends, whatever. So there's a limit to the amount of privacy I lose.

I suppose I could join and make all that info private, so only friends could see it, but what's the point? My friends already know me, and there are much easier ways to get news to them.

If there is some tangible benefit to social networking sites, I'll consider it and how to enter safely. But it seems like a lot of work just to have an online hang-out place when I've got real life hang-out places and plenty of other stuff to distract me online.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:54 AM
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I use facebook as a way to show my friends and Family my writing and get feedback on them, as well as deviantART. I don't get much in the terms of feedback but it does allow me to keep in contact with people from the Marines and my family members. I maybe Have 90 people on my list and my restrictions maxed out.
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:33 PM
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You know some of the benefits of joining Facebook but you're just scared of not having "privacy" or something.

Right now, my sister probably doesn't know it but our family is plotting payback for her posting embarrassing childhood pictures of us. Even one with me, sleep, cuddled up with LambChop. But we will upload a horrible picture of her if she does it again.

And we're all at risk of being stalked and plastered on weird websites. May the chips fall.
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Old 02-16-2010, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by winterstorm View Post
You know some of the benefits of joining Facebook but you're just scared of not having "privacy" or something.
Actually, I don't know the benefits. That's why I started this thread: to hear both sides. The only benefit anyone's given me so far is ease of connecting with friends, but I don't have trouble with that. Neutral comments are that it has distracting games and such, and negative comments all mention privacy.

Meh. If I have to think this hard about it, you're probably right that it's not for me.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:17 PM
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Looks a lot like Twitter. Apparently more 'old' people are using it than youths now.
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by HoiLei View Post
Meh. If I have to think this hard about it, you're probably right that it's not for me.
Exactly, I like it cause Marines overseas can't just call me and letters take forever. Facebook helps me stay close to them and keep up morale. But thats my own reason, if not for easy networking, I would have deleted it along with my myspace.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by D3vildog View Post
if not for easy networking, I would have deleted it along with my myspace.
I agree.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:50 AM
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Default Hmm Facebook!

Let's see... it's okay, up until the point where it just becomes like a third arm sticking right out of your chest and waving about all the bloody time. I mean its a good way to keep in touch with people you can't call all the time and let's face it some of us have a lot of so called 'friends'. But then some people take it to a whole other level where they're stuck 'online facebook' and forget to eat. They post all the pics they took on all their holidays, all 500 of them online for the world to gawk at. For goodness sakes - Get A Life People.

P.S. - I'm on facebook as well

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Old 02-17-2010, 04:03 AM
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I have Facebook, and I do all the annoying things people hate - update my status once a day, post my holiday pics, comment innumerable times on other peoples activities and ashamedly, stalk old friends, exes and enemies alike.

I can admit it's conformist, but I don't care. You can set it so no one else can see what you're up to, and you're free to choose who is you 'friend' and who isn't. I use it because it's easier to see who's doing what these days, and I get invited to parties, shows and school reunions on Facebook.

I say - if you can live without it, then go for it. Once you join it is addictive. But it is interesting in a social light, and it's fun if you don't take it or yourself too seriously. Why don't you give it a go, and if it's not your cup of tea, no harm done!
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by chewbeka View Post
II say - if you can live without it, then go for it. Once you join it is addictive. But it is interesting in a social light, and it's fun if you don't take it or yourself too seriously. Why don't you give it a go, and if it's not your cup of tea, no harm done!
I've managed to live without it so far though everyone is pushing me to get an account, and doubt that I would be addicted to it as I never got addicted to myspace. Barely went on it. I know, I know, Facebook is better, but still, I doubt the addiction would occur. As for stalking exes, friends and enemies, you can do that plenty without having an account as most people just love to put themselves out there anyway.

Hoilei, I think that another usefully tool for Facebook would be if let's say someone got published, that person could use it as a networking tool to promote themselves. I can see that being useful.

As for privacy, sure you can be as private as you want to be, BUT there are always hackers out there. Also, if someone else puts a comment on your page, you write back to them but that person's account is not set as private like yours is, therefore, whatever you posted on their page can be linked back to you.

I'm not saying Facebook is totally worthless, and perhaps one day I will give in, might find a use for it or whathaveyou but I just rather email people than post things online.
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by HoiLei View Post
Daedalus, if you don't mind sharing, what was the nature of your bad experience? I don't need details if they're private; I'm just wondering whether it was a social thing or a privacy violation or what? Was it unique to Facebook's set-up, or could it have happened anywhere on the internet?
It was a privacy violation that culminated in the authorities arresting and charging me with a claim of harassment for oral retaliation to a threat, a court case which lasted weeks, and in between which I was emailed death threats. I kid you not.

Vis-a-vis Facebook -- My advice would be this: Be very cautious about who you approve as friends, extremely selective about what information you post, and vigilant of the dangers of getting involved with someone else's life. Believe me when I say Facebook is a den of libertines. I know a girl from my university who was stalked for almost a year by someone who saw her picture on Facebook, saw that her information was freely accessible to anyone, and found out where she lived, worked, and what university she attended.

In the right hands, Facebook is a beneficial tool. But if you have any misapprehensions about it being completely safe, let them be dispelled here.
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:23 AM
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Right on Daedalus!
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Old 02-28-2010, 09:34 PM
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I have facebook but I mainly use it if I want to get in touch with someone who I can't call. Status update: hasn't been done since January. As for privacy if you set it to friends only and actually look at who you accept as a friend no one else can see your actual information. And as it's already been noted, whether or not you join people still have access to stuff about you. If you join then you can go and remove your tag on pictures.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:34 AM
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Facebook is where middle-aged women, or men posing as said group, go to throw away free time playing the abysmal time suckers that go by the names FarmVille and Fish World.
Avoid Facebook at all costs.

Trust me. . . My mom and dad. . . it's just. . . No, I'm not crying!
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:28 AM
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Another reason why I stay away from these things:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2872019/Stalker-fear-over-facial-recognition-phone-app.html#ixzz0gsypsBQg
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:02 AM
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This has been an interesting thread and, although this is my first day I thought I might as well chip-in.

I have 2 accounts, one oh-so-very private one, just friends and family with all its privacy setting set to maximum. The other one is very open, it contains almost no personal information, but I do use it as an alternative to my blog to try and build a following for my written work. I realised that many people may check out the blog without registering, but joining a facebook is easy which then builds a list of 'friends' which at some point I intend to point at and say... Look at this, why don't you publish me!
I'm well aware that I will need to be able to string a sentence or two together. Oh and have a story, if I'm lucky. The point is, Facebook/Twitter/MySpace can be what ever you need them to be, and as long as you are careful the pro's can outweigh the con's.

Until next time...
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