Are you on Facebook? It's a great site for reconnecting with friends and family. It also helps you get to know new acquaintances a lot quicker. On the flip side, perhaps you can relate to some of the less desirable kinds people you encounter on the site.
The Friend Whore: Long lost people you never really had a relationship with request to be your friend, and you never actually communicate with you once you are connected. Let's face it, all they want to do is rack up the number of friends thay have.
The Friend Poacher: This person joins Facebook and then proceeds to link up with almost everyone from your friend list. Even those they may not know too well.
Get a life and your own friends, I say.
The Peanut Gallery: Long lost or fringe friends who suddenly comment on every little thing you do or say. Leave me alone and mind your own business.
Status Martyrs: These are a pet peeve of mine. These are people who change their status with great frequency, often to tell you how tired or how stressed out they are, or that they just got back from the gym. If you are that busy, how do you have time to update your status so much?
Is there anything more annoying?
However, Facebook and the status field are a great example of the power of social networking. Social Networking has become a hot term in the marketing and market research worlds. Like the term "Green", it's almost overused in many cases. But one thing is for sure, it is a huge factor in affecting people's behavior.
Facebook pages have become personal podiums where people can promote their political views, religious beliefs or promote a cause. Sometimes this might turn more people off, but the simple fact is that it's making people more aware... of everything.
The power I saw today on Facebook was from referrals. A friend posted on her status that she was looking for a new digital camera. I have some insight on this topic so I commented on her status and recommended a brand I was happy with, a good camera review site and some advice about how to find a good price.
A little later I checked back and I saw a three or four other people had chimed in with advice and recommendations. It was amazing. My friend's purchase will be influenced by people that a year ago she hardly spoke to or did not even know. And now other people are reading the discussion from the sidelines and are getting product reviews almost by osmosis.
Wow, a built in panel of friends, family and acquaintances that can be instantly tapped into for advice, referrals and opinions. That's powerful.
I wonder what the final effect on her purchase will be. I hope my friend follows up after she buys a camera. I'm curious to see how the suggestions from Facebook affect her purchase, or if the advice steers her in a certain direction. Who knows? Maybe will she see a sale and just buy a camera because of the good price. Or a sales person will convince her of a different brand.
There are so many factors in a purchasing choice, but we can't ignore the weight of a referral on a decision or the significance of a network like the community on Facebook.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go update my status. How does this sound?
"Jack is blogging about Facebook, and is tired, stressed out and needs to hit the gym."
UPDATE 11/9/08- I followed up with my friend and found out that she bought a Canon SD880 IS. Canon was the brand that we all had recommended. She says so far, she I loves it.