I am not ashamed to admit that my facebook obsession began exactly 4 years ago. I am ashamed that I remember exactly when and where I found out about facebook. After returning from L.A., my roommates (60 lovely ladies) were going wild updating their facebook profile and creeping to find new friends. I was completly out of the loop, so I remedied the situation immediatly by becoming an official facebook creeper myself.
Facebook, along with Myspace, Bebo, Ning, PeopleAggregator and vibEngine have unlocked a world of possiblities for Public Relations practioners. Although, like all forms of online public relations tools social networks also provide risks for organizations.
Ning, as the most popular DIY social networking site (80,000 new networks are created every month) provides public relations practioners a unique oppurtunity. Individuals join Ning networks which suite their interests; which provides practioners a segmented market. Individuals also do this on Facebook, however I do not remember the last time I looked at any of my groups. Further, according to an article dispersed in class, the frequency which college students use social networking sites has increased. 59% of college students use social networking sites everyday, compared to 33% who used it everyday in 2006. Further everyday usage far exceeds every other frequency: 17% several times a week, 15% weekly, and 7% monthly.
Therefore, if public relations practioners are ignoring Facebook they are doing their organization a great diservice. The variety of social networking sites allows pr practitoners the ability to mold their efforts according to the expectations within each site. For example, within Facebook practitoners could do everything from creating a facebook profile for their client to sponsoring a advertisement included in member's updates. However, practitoners should not become lost in their facisnation of social networking and neglect other forms of communications.
(My current facebook profile picture)