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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

What's Your Take on Facebook?

Published December 16, 2010 2:05 PM by Glen McDaniel

Time magazine has selected Facebook founder  Mark Elliot Zuckerberg as its Person of the Year 2010.

The magazine explained it selected the 26 year old Zuckerberg for his role in connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them; for creating a new system of exchanging information; and for changing how we all live our lives.

Less than 7 years ago, as a Harvard sophomore, Zuckermore founded Facebook in his college dorm. Now a multi-billionaire, he oversees not just an empire but an ideas-factory that influences how we communicate.

Here are some facts about Facebook

-50% of Americans have a Facebook account

-If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd most populous country behind China and India

-70% of Facebook users live outside the US

-Facebook users spend an average of 1 hour a day online-either on their Facebook page or using their page as a jump off to other sites. They also spend more time on Facebook than at all other sites like Google, Amazon, Yahoo etc combined.

While there are other social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and others, Facebook is the site most often used by a variety of users of all ages.

As a concept, Facebook speaks to how we lead our lives and provides food for thought as well.

No silos or walls. Facebook serves to break down walls and connect individuals in an unprecedented way.  This is both a philosophical and literal idea. Even in the Palo Alto headquarters there are no offices and no walls between desks and cubicles. From President to secretary to IT developers, everyone sits at desks and hold meetings in conference rooms with glass sides and no doors.

Ideas have power.  Facebook started as an idea held by a 19 year old, bored with school.  However he had to take action to move from an idea to a multibillion-dollar business. ‘Face book has become not just a noun but a verb as in ‘"to facebook someone."

Communication and marketing. Facebook is not just a way for friends to connect socially, but for like-minded individuals to share ideas and interests. Increasingly it is becoming a tool for marketing and advertising as well. Customers can provide feedback to businesses almost in real time. Advertisers can track and target users based on their "likes" and areas they visit most often.

Redefines control and privacy. On Facebook I have been found and contacted by "friends" from grade school, college and various periods of my past (some of which I would rather forget!). Some individuals have found me through mutual friends, others through a search and yet others through sites I visit. Talk about the idea of "six degrees of separation."

Life is difficult to compartmentalize, anything shared (casual, serious, political, or racy) goes to a variety of "friends" not only those who know you in a certain context.

Many organizations now have social media policies addressing employees' obligations and rules of conduct. A flip comment about an incident or person at work intended as idle chatter among "friends" can be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

I am curious: what are your views of social media sites like Facebook? Has your organization embraced social media?  How do you use such sites?

 

8 comments

my God, i tuohght you were heading to chip in with some decisive insght on the finish there, not leave it with ?we leave it for you to decide?                 Also welcome you!

Kevin Kevin, xYtFUNheDAgO - wKfhvxUVHTv, HRVWjHONzO February 22, 2012 5:27 AM
RkNGEsILxAnKPn OK

What a blessed day it is in Egypt today. The President had to step down because of public demonstrations. All my frinends and relatives in Egypt used the Internet especially Facebook throughout this whole process. When the Internet was shut down by the overnment, the Egyptians found ways of dialing up and finding ISP providers in other countries. But Facebook played  a huge part. Every day, we would all check in to see what was going on, where people would be meeting the  nextday, where food was available, where to collect signs and any inside information. This is one good example of the power of Facebook.

Ahmed Z MT, Generalist February 11, 2011 7:04 PM
Detroit MI

I have a Facebook account and the organization I work at has one as well. I have also made a few lab related facebook groups. Just today, I was thinking of making one regarding information on laboratory personnel licensure as we in Minnesota are trying to have anoter go at it and there are some misconceptions out there, plus people may simply just have questions.

Timothy Brown, Generalist - MLS, UMMC, Fairview January 12, 2011 6:17 PM
Minneapolis MN

You know I had lunch with a friend from Human Resources recently and I had read this post so I had asked her some questions about our hospital using Facebook.

We do not have a Facebook page yet but she said they are looking at getting one. She told me that for a fact HR will Google employees by name especially management employees and also look at their FB page to see what they say like if they talk bad about the hospital. What I didnt realize is that it is perfectly legal to consider if someone has debts or credit problems, mention drug use and so on.  You think you are talking to friends but your employer can read these too.

For a new employee they can use that information and decide not to hire you. For a current employee you can be disciplined or terminated if you say anything bad about your current employer.

I dont think we all realize how much they know about us and that they use what they find to make management decisions. You have to be very very  careful on Facebook.

Genna R. MLT January 7, 2011 3:09 PM
Oklahoma City OK

Scott:

Thanks for your input. I agree that  our entire view of privacy has changed. My younger colleagues are very comfortable sharing information-significant, casual, personal, whatever- with others than we have been used to.

I was told by a teenage relative over Thanksgiving that he texts friends when he is bored or wants to transmit information "without necessarily talking." He also indicates that mentioning trivia like "I am bored" or "I am going shopping" on Facebook is another way of being connected without necessarily talking. he will post a picture without comment to elicit comversations (or some other reaction) from friends.

You mention some very practical ways in which social media are being used today: targeted marketing, pusing information about a company, tracking the activities of employees/prospective employees and so on. Your description of HR activities is interesting.

A few years ago when I applied to be the COO of a hospital, a few weeks after I started, the administrative support staff admitted that they had Googled me, read my articles etc ahead of time to sort of "scope" me out. That was before Facebook. Now, prospective employers, new colleagues and others almost routinely "scope out" others online. That's a given.

Thanks for your contribution. I am anxious to hear other uses of (or experiences with) social media.

Glen McDaniel December 20, 2010 9:24 PM
Atlanta GA

Facebook and many other sites realize an advertiser's dream:  targeted marketing.  If you're annoyed by excessive advertising, this can be a good thing.  I expect we'll see this happen with television, eventually.  Even better.

I'm not convinced privacy concerns are justifiable.  For many years we thought nothing of giving out information over the telephone or in person to minimum wage retail clerks that was less secure, by far, than what we have now.  (Is the mail room in your hospital more or less secure than encrypted email?)

For the laboratory, FB represents recruitment opportunities.  It's a good way to market services (targeted advertising!) and a resource for HR (check out what applicants are saying about their current boss).  Many times, I'll hear about something because of degrees of electronic separation long before it becomes official.  And while I don't have access to FB at work, our CEO does for that very reason.

Scott Warner December 19, 2010 6:43 AM

I was just watching a feature on CNN and they mention that although Facebook doesnt sell private information your likes can still be tracked. Advertisers then know how to target you based on what you like to do or sites you have visited. I must admit I have a  Facebook account and I like it, but it is scary to know there are people following you around.

My hospital does not have a Facebook account but I think they should.

Mary S., MLS December 18, 2010 6:31 PM
Boston MA

I have to admit I am hooked on Facebook. I am on most of the sites like twitter and MySpace but Facebook is easy to understand, friendly and most of my friends are on there. I sign on every chance I get and sort of catch up with friends. Facebook is dedfinitely the wave of the future. I am surprised businesses havent used it more.

Maria M. MT(ASCP) Generalist December 17, 2010 1:29 PM
Las Vegas NV

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