Facebook is a Giant Personal Lab

The other day, as I was doing something at Facebook, I started thinking about this. That Facebook can be used as our personal lab. Most relationships on Facebook, is personal anyway. That’s the reason we opened up a Facebook account. Now, if you are using Facebook fan page for your business, that is a different story.

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Let’s explore more the possibilities of what we can do with our personal account.  Personal Facebook is an alternative to your outpost at similar sites, LinkedIn and Xing (a global networking site for professional).

It is a big world out there inside of Facebook.

  • More than 400 million on Facebook
  • 50% of active users log in daily 

Can’t ignore the numbers and length of time people spend on Facebook! I know some of my friends are checking in their Facebook – more than once – daily. After this post, I’m gonna set up my tent there, for sure.

There many things we can do there beside personal thing. Since we already spend time there, why not use it to create more of quality relationships. Get to know our friends better. Have meaningful relationships with some of them. There are friends who could be our go-to.

Think about it: you’ll never know where your next sale – client/business deal/partnership – is going to come from. 

To get there, you need energy and plan. Because you can’t create a meaningful relationship, if you don’t work at it. Get your energy going.

I use Facebook for personal. So, I have just under 300 friends. The people in my account, either my friends (I know them personally), or friends of friends. However, if I spread my wings further, I have an indirect link to thousands of people within my flock of friends. A number of my friends have more than 1,000 Facebook friends. Adding them up one by one, the extension of my network could easily reach more than 10,000 people. That’s a lot of friend from one networking site, you think. 

“Make friends before you need them” unknown

Decide who among your friends who you want to build more intimate, quality, meaningful relationships with? These are the friends who you can have mutual benefit and who can open up doors. They are your referral engine at best.

Let’s get the engine going.

Take your friendships to the next level


Segment your friends:

– Look at what do they do there.

Pay attention. Just by observing their ‘online’ personality, you can sort of learning about who they are, sometimes more than you can learn from meeting face to face.

You can learn about the things they like. Their activities. Places they go. The food they like. The apps they installed even news feed I prefer not to see (like Mafia Wars, Farmville, etc.) in my wall.

Literally, you can observe thousands of things happening around your friends’ life. Death, health, marriage, divorce, falling in love, family. The things they care most in life. Sports, food, and causes. There is also personal information available freely on Facebook, that under normal circumstances, they probably wouldn’t reveal it unless you belong to the same group. For example, religion and political views. 

– Decide who among your group of friends you want to get closer. 

Let’s say, you recently switched industry. Some of your friends might not be aware of what you are doing “now” – professionally. My past experience been, unless you have a chance to tell your friends multiple times of what is it that you do professionally, they forget. In my pre-Facebook time (trekking real estate), there were times when my friends told me “after” the fact. “Oh, we didn’t know that you’re in real estate. We just bought a house!’ S$^%. Now what? There’s nothing you can do. It’s done. You can only hope years to come, they’ll remember you.

Move on.

Tools that can help deepen the interactions:

– List:

This is where you can create list of friends you want to know better. Choose the friends you want to include in this group. The list is also a short cut to reading news feed to listen, connect and engage in a conversation. 

– Applications (not games!):

Add your LinkedIn profile to your page. There’s an application that I’m experimenting, Civillage, which is a location-based application that you can use for dating, networking or friendship. You have to be comfortable to sharing your info in the open. You can create events on the site. I am a new user, so can’t tell much about it. Check out the apps directory to see more. 

Group:

Create a group then invite your friends to join your group. Think about a group that a good number of you would be interested in. Be creative. 

There are three ways to customize your group: 1) Open – anyone can join and invite others to join. Group info and content can be viewed by anyone. The upside: content may be indexed by Google. 2) Closed – as admin of the group, you have to approve requests for new members to join. Anyone can see the group description, but only members can see the Wall, discussion board, and photos. Or 3) Secret – membership is by invitation only. 

Choose wisely on how you want to set up your group. For a group to be successful, you have to nurture and promote it. Provide great content. And be generous. Generosity counts.

Another layer of possibility to expand the membership, is to invite people outside your Facebook to join your group. If you are the admin of the group, you have another benefit: you can send messages to all members. Now, just because you can do that, don’t spam them. If you spam them, they can easily leave the group.

If you have the budget, promote the group with advertising. You can invite people to join. Members of your group can invite others to join as well and you can create group event.

The bug with group is that there’s no easy way to find the group you created. Yeah you can bookmark it via share, but when you do that it’s going to show up on your Wall, again and again. Or you can use the search tool to find the link for the group. 

Whatever you decide, have fun with it. Experiment it and see which things work and which don’t. This is our personal lab. So results may vary.

The leadership guru, John Maxwell, says, “connecting is all about others.” When we’re using our account to have deep interactions with our friends, stick by the rule of thumb. The thing is, it’s not about you. It’s about them

Give first and be authentic. 

What do you think?

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Author: Dewita

Co-founder Ecotwist Labs.

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