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By Steven G. Mehta

Just recently I was having a discussion with some people regarding the different types of content on Facebook.  I was getting inundated with requests to support specific political candidates.  At that time, we also discussed the inane chit chat that often makes up Facebook.  Some people commented that they don’t want to know about Johnny’s pet cat and others said that such comments are what makes Facebook so good.  Well some recent research suggests that those comments and the superficial nature of some contacts on Facebook may be more worthwhile some people think.

A recent report compiled by Håkan Selg, a doctoral candidate at the Department of Information Technology, Uppsala University, suggests that the people that have numerous superficial contacts may in fact have developed a highly useful network that make use of the ostensibly meaningless comments and updates.

“The portrait, comments, and updates provide constant reminders of the existence of ‘friends.’ The content is not all that important, but the effect is that we perceive our Facebook friends as closer than other acquaintances who are not on Facebook,” says Håkan Selg.

The report also revealed that social media has started first as a social tool, and later as a business tool.  As such, individuals who have a large social network have an advantage in the business world because those contacts are highly sought after.

In addition, the social media allows individuals who don’t have the huge resources and capital to access information and tools that will assist them in all aspects of life including getting jobs, housing, or, developing new contacts.

“A realistic effect of social media is that many costs of running operations will decline in the long run. This will probably enable more people to start their own businesses in the future, thus successively altering working life,” says Håkan Selg.

The consequences for this media are still unclear.  But as a lawyer and mediator it does suggest that the time that you spend making small trivial comments as well as reading such comments can help make you closer to the community; and if your business connections are in your community, then you would hopefully become closer to your business network.

It is important to understand, however, that even with research, too many trivial and inane comments may in fact turn people off.  According to one Facebook user, “I want to keep up with people.  I don’t care that they grew another crop in Farmville.  That is a complete waste of time.  Or if they send too many updates in one day, I just shut them out.”  As such, it is important to consider if your comments are too numerous or if your posts could be a turn off to your business acquaintances.

Story Source:

Uppsala Universitet (2010, October 19). ‘Drivel’ on Facebook more valuable than we think. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2010, from /releases/2010/10/101018074410.htm

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