Facebook…. what is this all about?

I am often asked if I am on Facebook.  Also, I know that some people I highly respect are using Facebook in interesting ways.

Perhaps we could have a little discussion of Facebook here.

What is it all about?

How do you use it?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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26 Responses to Facebook…. what is this all about?

  1. Steve says:

    It is a social networking service. You put up a description of yourself, then link to other people. That associates you eases sharing things you like and dislike to an audience of like-minded people.

  2. Matt says:

    Here is the intro I was given. It is very funny and occasionaly risque

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=115059&title=trendspotting

    Cheers,

    Matt

  3. Mike says:

    Good Morning Father,

    Facebook is an online social networking system that allows friend & family to communicate with one another by chat, email, photos, videos, etc. As a subscriber, you have the ability to “invite” anyone to enter your site to view your photos and communicate with you and others. Anyone can contact anyone in the facebook world, but the recipient of an attempted contact must allow the person to enter their site. this prevents the nefarious from gaining access to someone’s information, photos, etc. as a subscriber, you can join a “group”, or even create one (ie: Traditional Catholics). Many colleges have groups for their undergrads, with subgroups divided by majors, dorms, sports, etc.

    By the way, does askfather.net work? I cannot open the site!

    Thanks.

  4. Mike: Alas, the ASK FATHER Question Box is not presently working.

    I am trying to figure out what to do about that.

    Over 6000 pages of Q&A!

  5. Terth says:

    I’d guess Facebook wouldn’t be for you, Father. That’s in no way meant as a discouragement to you if you’d like to start a page. However, it’s meant for the littlefolk to have a page “about me” and allow people they want to see it. That way, they can look at pictures of your dog, your latest escapade, etc. However, and maybe there’s another way for “famous” people, you’d have to give each individual person permission (and thus, the ability) to view your page.

    For someone like you, who provides a service to your readership through this blog, among other things, I’d venture that this is a better medium for the “about Fr. Zuhlsdorf” page.

  6. Jason in San Antonio says:

    Father,

    I recently joined, reluctantly at first, so as better to stay in touch with my friends who are quite spread out these days. (I’m very pleased with it in this regard–it’s nice getting emails from people you haven’t seen in ten years.) I say reluctant because, as a young professional, I wasn’t looking forward to a potential employer checking out my Facebook and seeing, for example, pictures of my “friends” chugging beers. (It’s been known to happen; and my other “professional” friends love sabotaging one another precisely for this purpose. [I know I do!]) Facebook, however, lets you get around this by having several levels of privacy from which to choose. You could set privacy to where a search of your name on the site will not turn up your profile or anything about you at all; or, where it will show your name, but not your photo; or, only your name and a small photo; only your name, photo, and location, etc., etc. You get the point. Or you can have it to where anyone may view your entire profile simply by clicking on it.

    Still, I’m “experimenting” with the site, so I’ve got my privacy settings cranked up pretty high. People can only see my profile if I permit them access to it.

  7. Ottaviani says:

    Fr

    If you wanted to devote more time to your website – then facebook might become an unnecessary distraction i.e. everytime some writes on your facebook wall or sends you a private message.

    That said, it’s your choice.

  8. “I’d guess Facebook wouldn’t be for you, Father. That’s in no way meant as a discouragement to you if you’d like to start a page. However, it’s meant for the littlefolk to have a page “about me” and allow people they want to see it. That way, they can look at pictures of your dog, your latest escapade, etc. However, and maybe there’s another way for “famous” people, you’d have to give each individual person permission (and thus, the ability) to view your page.”

    YES.

    More to the point, Facebook and MySpace are market data harvesting machines used by the under 25 crowd who love to offer info about themselves online… And marketers love it too.

    “Hey, my name is John, I go to LSU (GO TIGERS!) am 21, love Budweiser,Hinder, my dog, NASCAR & “Girls Gone Wild” (YEA!) Please market all that junk to me – I pretty much demand it!”

    So next time someone asks you if you have a facebook account, apologize but explain to them you are too old, out of college, and have a real job and know how to make a real blog.

  9. Jacob says:

    Father Finigen is a member of Facebook. I belong to his fan club. :)

  10. Mark M says:

    It’s a social-networking website based around a picture-sharing service. I have shunned it like the plague, but ostensibly because I use flickr instead.

  11. berenike says:

    Facebook is a giant and wicked enticement to waste vast amounts of time on things so trivial that you-five-years-ago would be laughing at the sadness of yourself on it. However, if you have any discipline, then it’s nice to catch up with old friends and play long-drawn-out games of scrabble with chums at seminary on the other side of the planet and so on, a friendship-maintenance tool.

  12. Mark M says:

    Matt: funny video! Thanks. :)

  13. Mark M: I had a flickr gizmo on the left side bar of the blog for a long time, but I axed it when I discovered it was just slowing every page from loading. Still, flickr is pretty cool, and useful.

  14. Mary Jane says:

    I have a site on MySpace because they allow a separate section for musicians and it’s a good way to upload music and photos, network, and build awareness. Again, I didn’t really want to get into it because I thought it would be more work (I already have two websites and a blog) and because I thought it was full of “hi, my name is Mindy and I love sunsets and teddy bears.” That last is the expurgated version of what I feared I might find.

    Fair warning – it is more work.

  15. DG says:

    Father: above all, I suggest should you join Facebook, be very discriminating in adding people to your network. If you have no need to keep in touch with close friends this way, there’s no need to make a profile. There’s nothing more useless than a Facebook profile with hundreds of people you don’t even really know or have nothing great in common with. Facebook has a “fan of” feature and groups for things like that.

    Also Jason in San Antonio’s comment about the granularity of Facebook’s privacy is spot on. If you get too many friend requests, perhaps restrict your name from searchability. Or limit friending such that only you can request friends, not other people (they’d have to email you or contact you another way if you didn’t know they were on Facebook, but that’s better than wading through potentially 100s of friend requests for the people you actually do know).

  16. FloridaJohn says:

    I enjoy posting on Facebook and meeting like-minded people, especially orthodox Catholics. There are many priests, deacons & Religious (Sisters & Brothers) on Facebook. If anyone reading this wants to link up with me, I’m listed as Deacon John Giglio.

  17. Clare says:

    I am a middle-aged housewife and have a Facebook page. I joined it so I could keep in touch with my four children who are all at college or abroad. I’d ask to see holiday photos and be told ‘Oh they’re on Facebook’, so with their agreement I signed up. After me, several of my friends also signed up. I’ve uploaded pictures of my own.

    Before Christmas, my son started a private group for family gift ideas, and through Facebook we were also able to email each other excluding a particular person to discuss what to give them. I know this can all be done by email, but it kept the whole subject in one place and was helpful.

    Yes Facebook can be a huge waste of time and at first I spent hours doing the TripAdvisor geography quizzes etc, but I find that I hardly look at it these days. It’s a very good way to keep in touch with people one hardly sees because they can see from your page what your life is like at the moment.

  18. Clare says:

    I am a middle-aged housewife and have a Facebook page. I joined it so I could keep in touch with my four children who are all at college or abroad. I’d ask to see holiday photos and be told ‘Oh they’re on Facebook’, so with their agreement I signed up. After me, several of my friends also signed up. I’ve uploaded pictures of my own.

    Before Christmas, my son started a private group for family gift ideas, and through Facebook we were also able to email each other excluding a particular person to discuss what to give them. I know this can all be done by email, but it kept the whole subject in one place and was helpful.

    Yes Facebook can be a huge waste of time and at first I spent hours doing the TripAdvisor geography quizzes etc, but I find that I hardly look at it these days. It’s a very good way to keep in touch with people one hardly sees because they can see from your page what your life is like at the moment.

  19. Tin says:

    As Terth commented above, Facebook is basically a place where people can have a mini-blog that’s
    connected with other people’s mini-blogs. I think it may be a little invasive, but I think the privacy feature
    may eliminate this problem.

  20. Mark M says:

    Fr Z: for curiousity’s sake, what’s your flickr name?

  21. Jacob M. says:

    I use facebook to keep in touch with my friends from seminary and my extended family. Both groups are spread across the country and it is helpful to have a single place where we can leave comments for each other.

  22. Terth says:

    I should qualify what I said above – I am doubting that Facebook would be a good medium for you, Father, for *this* type of a ministry or activity. I’m not discouraging it if you have close friends (and not what Facebook calls “friends”) and acquaintances scattered elsewhere on the globe that you want to keep in touch with.

  23. Ryan says:

    I used to be a facebook hater, but then I gave it a try and I love it now. I recently moved away from all my friends for a new job and it is a great way to let everybody know what is new in your life, post photos, etc. You also get to learn interesting facts about your friends that you might not have known. I’ve also used facebook to make a couple new friends in my new location, and I can join groups and meet even more like minded people. It is also very good for creating events and mass-inviting people to them. I used it recently to invite all my friends to a sung Extraordinary Form Mass in our diocese.

    Objections about data-mining and spamming are greatly exagerated. You can set your privacy settings so only your friends can see your information. I’m never gotten spammed. Facebook could indeed become a waste of time, but so could the telephone. Will you also give that up? You mearly need to exercise discipline.

    For somebody with a well-updated blog it might not be useful for exporting information about yourself. But it is very useful for learning more about other people, which you cannot get from writing in a blog.

  24. Bill says:

    Are we meant to have meaningless chatter with our friends from ten years ago? Why? To share gossip? To FEEL like we are in touch? Is this the way traditional Catholics keep “in touch” with community? Reality? You know, when you click “I Agree” to the license you give rights to the site to all of your postings–they own them and are free to use them how they see fit. There is a good article on this sort of thing in the current Angelus Magazine. Read it.

  25. Trevor says:

    I normally use Facebook for Catholic apologetics. They have groups for hobbies and interests, and the Roman Catholics group has 30,000+ members. While most of them don’t bother to read the message boards, we always get someone who’d like to know more about their faith.

    We also get the occassional Fundamentalist who will blast us with Revelation 17 and that sort of thing. Always interesting.

    P.S. Most of the regular commentors are young adults, and many are attracted to the EF.

  26. Brian says:

    Facebook is yet another thing that can be a blessing or a curse. It is a great place to keep up with old friends as well as people that you meet traveling. I also use it to put up pictures from places I visit so that my family can keep track of me while overseas. My mom quite likes this part, proves I’m alive and well.

    As Trevor has said, it is also useful for apologetics. It can also become a total waste of time that could be better spent on other things.