I use the ubiquitous social networking site Facebook. Yes, you may sigh and say you do too and see it as sort of mildly distracting and maybe tangential to your work. But is it really??
My blog, H2ONCoast is broadcast through a nifty thing called an RSS feed. That means new blog posts go to someone’s RSS reader as neatly digested intros or even just a title. That can get delivered to email or another reader. They can chose to pay attention or ignore, but ultimately don’t have to keep checking the original blog for new posts. Facebook–that 350 million strong body of people all communicating with each other–allows RSS feeds too. That’s a handy step into a big audience.
So last year, I told Facebook to look at my blog’s RSS feed through one their many applications. It now feeds my new blog posts to my Facebook wall. When my on-line friends go look at my FB wall (or their own pages where my wall posts also appear as new activity), the new blog post is there and attracts them to the original blog, or they can just read the material posted to Facebook (a clone of the original, if you will).
As an example of how useful this is, two weeks ago we published the new Oregon Rain Garden Guide. Judy Scott from EESC helped with some PR. Pat Kight posted it to Breaking Waves. I then put the same post on my blog. The RSS feeder then posted it to my Facebook page and all of a sudden, I’m getting requests for copies and help through Facebook. It’s yet another social media domain for linking people and information.
Furthermore, if OSU Extension used FB to market our materials, we’d be able to tailor the adds to go the very types of people we expect will want to be our audience.
Facebook may seem silly sometimes, but at 350 million+ members, it is now equivalent to the 9th largest country–if social networks could be–and a lot of eyeballs to consume our information or generate interaction.