Growing social network adoption (Facebook in particular) is presenting a couple communication challenges. It really hit home for me in the last week or so although I started to notice it a while ago. More and more of my friends and family use Facebook often enough for it to be a viable communication medium (my Mom uses Facebook, that is my acid test for when a technology becomes mainstream). A couple of those people also use Twitter but as much as I use Twitter, Facebook has become where my more meaningful personal relationships tend to be represented.
As I’ve become more comfortable with Facebook, I use it more and more as the focal point of my personal life. Some stuff is too personal to publish to this blog so I post it to Facebook where only Facebook friends can see it (my default setting is “Friends only”). This last week Facebook was where we kept in touch with family and friends after we found out about Cliff’s passing. His friends are all on Facebook, so are most of our family members and our friends. Rabbi Chaikin even drew from a memorial group on Facebook when he prepared is eulogy. With all that emphasis on Facebook a number of people are only finding out about Cliff’s death days after his funeral. I had an uncomfortable conversation with one of my cousins yesterday who found out when she met with my mom for tea yesterday morning. She isn’t on Facebook and hasn’t seen our updates.
There are still a few of our friends and family who just are not on Facebook and they are becoming a distinct class of personal contacts who we have to make a point of remembering to contact about events in our lives. It sounds weird to say that but I feel like I have been taking the Web’s social connectivity options for granted and it almost seems strange that people in our personal circles are not connected too. Hopefully more of those people will decide to join. I don’t think it is something you can force someone to do. Sharing stuff about yourself online can be intimidating but not being on Facebook (even if your profile is strictly limited to friends) has increasing challenges when it comes to being in the loop. Often it means just not being in the loop at all and missing out because the rest of us forget about The Disconnected.