Facebook has become such a part of our culture that it is now used as a verb: 'I'll Facebook you about it', a friend recently said to me when organising a barbeque. 'Are you on Facebook?' is one of the first questions I am asked when meeting friends of friends. Facebook has even been shortened to make it quicker to say and more embedded in our culture - 'I'll FB you' is a standard short hand way of saying 'I will contact you about this.'
Of course, we all know people who have completely turned away from the monster social networking site in distain and disgust. And whilst we acknowledge this as a good thing amongst our peers, secretly this annoys us beyond belief. Why can't I see what [insert dissenter's name here]'s had for breakfast? Why can I never invite that person to events via FB? Why does s/he have to be so obstinate in refusing to move with the current of the vast majority of people? People have many reasons for not joining Facebook; indeed, I myself deactivated my account. I lasted a day. This need, this addiction, to know what our friends are doing and thinking in real time despite their geographical location, has made us into a people of intensity. We no longer give ourselves time to formulate communication. And there are the dangers, the horror stories: people made redundant, people divorcing their spouse. People forget that what they put online is at some level accessible by other people.
I am still not a big believer in the power of Facebook for libraries; Facebook is a social place of social interaction. I am wary of 'dad at the disco syndrome' where we try to impress the Youff with our Kool FB pages. I do however like the way that some libraries have a page and people can become a fan if they wish. I think Twitter is a better tool for communication with students, however, perhaps that is because I use Twitter for professional purposes and Facebook for social reasons. Am I bringing my own preconceptions to the virtual table? This is an interesting area to watch closely.