Friday, April 28, 2006

Next: Disciplinary Facebook

I'm intrigued by the Facebook's expansion beyond colleges, as reported here (via). Like any social networking app, the euphoria surrounding it is offset (too often in extremes) by abuses, missteps, skepticism, and lags in the adaptation of institutional policies to respond to the activity at the site. Yet recent shift--ten corporations signing on--gets at the spreading recognition of the value of social networking apps beyond mere friend-making, beyond "poking" strangers as a casual gesture of interest. Prepared to engage social networking as something more than trivial?

I'll watch with interest as more reactions to the latest expansion crop up. And those reactions will vary, of course, from jeering to the more serious. The announcement brings me all the way back to the earliest announcements of the Facebook in 2004. If they're expanding to workplaces, maybe it won't be long before leadership in the discipline starts weighing the possibilities of the Facebook for an entire field, such as composition and rhetoric. Granted, it wouldn't be perfect, but the way I see it, it'd be a marked improvement on the existing means for building and locating profiles, tracing interests through those who've written on such things, and so on. Imagine a use of Facebook with a professional orientation whereby disciplinary bibliographies, institutional affiliations (and histories), and linked tags for research and interests. I know it's a wild, data-based fantasy, and it would require us to see Facebook as more than forum for delinquency, but here's hoping. What, maybe five or ten years from now?

Bookmark and Share Posted by at April 28, 2006 12:45 PM to Networks