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Careers: Misadventures on Facebook

If my friends hear me utter the word Facebook one more time they are going to excommunicate me from their buddy lists. I’m adding to the noise only because Facebook demands the immediate attention of all 30 million of us members. Today’s poll reads: Which brand is the best toothpaste?

If my friends hear me utter the word Facebook one more time they are going to excommunicate me from their buddy lists.

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I’m adding to the noise only because Facebook demands the immediate attention of all 30 million of us members. Today’s poll reads: Which brand is the best toothpaste?

Frankly, if I could entice 30 million people to take a poll, that wouldn’t be it. At first glance, it may seem improbable that a site serving up this kind of fluff could advance your career or put you back in touch with a funny former co-worker, but there you have it.

Sometimes I feel that Facebook is AOL on steroids, or that I’m having a Prodigy flashback. Weren’t there about 30 million AOL members back in the dial-up days?

I wholeheartedly agree with Newsweek’s Steve Levy when he writes that “At this point, though, much of the grammar of the site (as well as much of the first wave of applications) is still tilted toward student life.”

Today I was greeted by a request from a stranger whom I recently added to my ‘friends’ list. I forget why we connected. She asks whether I want to become one of her “Top Friends.” Becoming a Top Friend, I learn, requires that I install an application that enables me to rank all of my connections.

Because your friends need to know where they rank it says. By rank, they literally mean one through one hundred or whatever. (I do not wish to know this information.) What if one of my friends is my boss and another is my wife. Which one should I rank higher? Of course, the smarter idea is not to install the application.

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Trying to connect to another adult who isn’t a co-worker or a member of a Facebook network (group) is fast but a bit awkward. But I quibble (professionally).

My blogging guru, whose site’s pageviews are like mine multiplied by the population of Rio de Janeiro explains to me that he’s on Facebook, but not under his real name. Only his family & friends know his real Facebook address.

While he’s not looking to Facebook to advance his career he is trying to utilize its communication strengths. Facebook, like other social networking sites, is good at keeping track of members who bother to update their status and latest achievements.

For those people interested in using social networks to advance their career or manage professional relationships the main case for Facebook isn’t that it’s a perfect site. For better or worse, it’s the site seeing the most rapid growth and functional innovations (mostly by third-party developers). Despite its apparent immaturity, Facebook is arguably the place to be.

Rusty Weston, My Global Career • San Francisco, Ca • http://www.myglobalcareer.com/ •