Sometimes I have to force myself to look past the Farmville requests, the ʻfeeling hungryʼ status updates and half-baked 9/11 conspiracy theories to seethe real value of Facebook. There are so many ways to waste time on the worldʼs largest social networking site that it is easy to get carried away playing Facebook Scrabble rather than learning to use Facebook as it was intended – a way to keep in contact with those friends closest to you (Zuckerberg, 2011).
That being said, never did I embrace Facebook as much as when I started working. The famous ʻfacestalkʼ (Urban Dictionary, 2007) became invaluable in the newsroom when I needed to find out information about someone quickly, or for that matter, contact them for a story. The ʻFacebook for Journalistsʼ function has made my life even easier giving me the option to “Search for people, places and things” who are part of other networks or associated with other organisations. Although the site is perfect for basic, personal research on a subject, it is a direct manipulation of the concept first developed by Zuckerberg – a medium that would allow a degree of privacy to its users not afforded by a personal web page (Zuckerberg, 2011). Regardless, the great thing for desperate young cadets like myself is Facebook is indeed embracing the use of the site by reporters, creating pages and engaging with organisations (Facebook, 2011).
The biggest pitfall however, is the vast amounts of time that can be wasted on the site. My devastation when Facebook Scrabble was offline for a matter of months was the kick in the pants I needed to realise that my obsession had in fact crossed the line from being a healthy quirk to something more sinister. The Huffington Postʼs Susie Neilson calculated that for all the time she has spent on Facebook she could have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro eight times or taken six round trips to the moon (Neilson, 2014). This to me, embodies the risk of utilising a site for work that was intended for recreation.
The days when one can wake-up and spend the best part of the day, chatting, updating statuses and selecting the best selfie that epitomises #yoloswag are all too real. I forever live in fear while searching the subjects of my stories on Facebook that I will find myself hours later with a high Candy Crush Saga score and no articles written at the end of the day.
Facebook. (2011). Facebook & social journalism. Retrieved from https:// http://www.facebook.com/notes/journalists-on-facebook/facebook-social-journalism/ 210530275625661
Neilson, S. (2014). Forty Days and Forty Nights: What Iʼve Learned From Wasting Time on Facebook. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susie-neilson/forty-days-and- forty-nights-what-ive-learned-from-wasting-time-on-facebook_b_4768953.html
Urban Dictionary. (2007). Facestalking. Retrieved from http://www.urbandictionary.com/ define.php?term=facestalkingZuckerberg, M. (2011). Our commitment to the Facebook Communit