I've posted a few things about facebook and how I'm curious about the future of all social media. But I've never actually drawn any conclusions because I think it's still too soon to do that with social media, especially as more and more people of all ages begin to navigate the web. And now with the recent announcement about how Facebook stock has grown, I think it's even more important to tread with care when making any predictions. Evidently, Time writer, Ben Barjarin, doesn't agree with me, and the predictions he made about facebook last June show how dangerous it is to try to predict the future of social media. And I have a feeling Mark Zuckerberg is smiling widely right now.
The article to which I'm referring is titled, "Why Am I Still on Facebook?" And you can read it in full here. It starts out with positive comments about facebook and family and how wonderful facebook used to be as a way to keep in touch with people, and then devolves into an interesting commentary about how facebook has changed and how Ben Barjarin thinks it won't even be around five years from now.
No predictions from me. Maybe facebook won't be around five years from now. But I think Barjarin is wrong with this statement:
Given the nature of why people use Facebook — to stay in touch with friends and family — it seems that this is the worst possible place for ads and sponsored posts. I go to Facebook to keep up to date with people I rarely or never see anymore, not to look for products or promotions.
I'll be the first to admit that I hate online ads of any kind, especially the video ads that start speaking to me when I go to a web site. However, last month I found a trunk organizer thanks to a facebook ad. I ordered it and love it. I also recently helped Corey Booker in his bid for the senate through facebook. I get a good deal of my news information from facebook...mostly from local news channels and reputable publications I know I can trust. During hurricane Sandy last October facebook was one of my main means of communication when I didn't have power for over one full week. So for me, facebook is not about staying in touch with friends and family. Frankly I honestly don't really care about their vacations and trips to the park, or what they had for dinner. I want information from facebook, and I want it fast. And I think Barjarin's view on why we use social media is extremely limited.
The other thing he fails to mention...or doesn't even realize yet...is that younger people are not watching TV and they are also getting their information from facebook.
This is also an interesting comment in the article:
Magazines, for example, are a much better place. When I read a magazine, like Digital Photography, I am a captive reader with a specific interest in digital photography. Therefore, that is the best place for companies within the digital-photography space to pitch me about useful products related to digital photography that I may interested in. This is the power of targeted advertising.
The reason it's interesting is because magazines, especially Time Magazine, are losing readership these days faster than the Titanic went down. I still get Architectural Digest and the ads in there have also dwindled. Of course Barjarin isn't going to mention this because his post is pro-magazine and that's not the spin he's using this time. And while I have nothing against print magazines, they have fallen off my own personal radar in the past few years to the point where I throw my copy of Time Magazine out most weeks because I've already read the content online. And, many of the articles I've already read I found through facebook, Twitter, or some other social media source.
And at this particular point, I think it's very dangerous to make predictions about facebook or any other social media outlet. What I do think we all have to do is regulate our own social media needs and figure out what we want and need most from social media. In my case, it's information and communication. I also think social media in general will be around for a long time.
Free Excerpt Women Who Love Gay Romance
The indie anthology I'm releasing sometime next week, The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance, is moving along well and I wanted to post a free excerpt today to show readers how good some of these contributing authors are. This excerpt is actually from a New Adult romance by author Bella Stanberry, titled, "My BFF and Her Boyfriend." It is one of three short stories in the book...the first story in a trilogy that follows the unique lives of three new adults: a gay man, a bi-sexual man, and a straight woman.
I still haven't finalized the cover yet, but that's coming soon.
The other day my mom started talking about my younger brother and his new girlfriend. We were on the phone; this isn't new.
It was one of those weekly chats where my mom rambles on as if she's taken too many Lyrica pills for her bad knee and I'm on the depressing single bed in my dorm room in my underwear scratching my sack, nodding and saying yes the entire time. It's a process; a ritual. And the less I disagree with her the faster I get off the phone.
It's not as if she's unhappy with me being gay. When I came out to my folks the summer after I graduated from high school they took it fairly well. They didn't jump up and down and sing show tunes. They barely even smiled. We were in the kitchen and they remained silent for a long time while they processed the information. But they finally said what most liberal parents of college age kids say when they are faced with a child coming out of the closet: "We're fine with this as long as you're happy. And please practice safe sex at all times."
In other words, they would have preferred it if I were straight, but they could learn to live with me being gay, in time. I've often wondered if they ever told my straight brother to have safe sex at all times. Did they mention to him that straight dudes can get cancer from cunnilingus because of the HPV virus if they aren't careful? I never actually asked them these questions because I thought it might be too confrontational. I was so happy they didn't freak out on me when I told them I was gay I took what I could get and hugged and kissed them both.
It's been three years since that conversation and I'm a junior in college. My dad rarely mentions my gay lifestyle aloud. My mom has grown to accept me and she's taken it upon herself to offer suggestions about meeting gay guys. She's read all the books on how to be a great gay mom. When she begins these conversations, she always heads it off with a hint about my younger brother's girlfriends. She seems to think that we all need to be paired off as couples in life, and that no one single ever lived a full or authentic life…gay or straight. And I just smile and nod while she speaks, looking at my watch, and wondering how she would react if I told her the truth.
Sometimes I play the imaginary conversation over and over in my head, wondering how she might reply if I did tell the truth. It would probably go like this:
My Mom would say, "You really should get out more and meet a nice young gay man. I'm sure there are plenty of them where you go to school."
I would smile and say, "I'm already in a relationship, mom. I haven't mentioned it because it's a little unusual. I'm not sure you'd understand it."
She would remain silent for a moment, and then ask, "What do you mean unusual?" I'm sure she would be wondering what could be more unusual than two men sleeping with each other.
"It's different," I would say. "It's not conventional."
She would become frustrated and ask, "Oh please. How different could it be?"
I would take a deep breath, exhale, and say, "I met a nice couple."
"A couple of what?" she would ask.
After another deep breath, I would say, "I met this couple. A guy and a girl. And I've been seeing them both for the last several months. We're all very fond of each other. I think you'd like them."
Then there would be dead silence, and I would hear a crash on the other end of the line. My dad would come rushing into the room to see what had happened and I would overhear him asking my mom, "Oh my God, Joanne. What's wrong? Why did you pass out?"
Bu these are only fantasies I replay in my head sometimes, because I'm not sure when I'll ever tell my mom about this relationship. I don't think she would understand, and I'm not even sure I fully understand what I'm doing with another couple half of the time. Maybe it's a generational thing. People my age seem to be doing things a little differently than generations before them. But I could be wrong about that. Maybe we're just doing it more openly.
This all began a few months ago. I belong to a gym a few miles from school and I go there to work out with my best friend, Gina, four or five times a week. But I should backtrack a little first. I met Gina my freshman year of college in a registration line while waiting to be approved for a history class we both wanted to take that semester. Gina was standing in front of me in line, tapping her black pumps with six inch heels and looking at her watch. I noticed her large breasts and her expensive seven shades of long blond hair. She noticed my tight jeans and my large biceps. At first, she flirted with me and I took this as a compliment. It was even more of a compliment when I mentioned I was gay and she didn't blow me off. We started talking about how frustrating it was to get anything accomplished during registration week and found out we both had a lot in common, especially when it came to men. We started whispering about the hot guy in front of us and we've been best friends ever since that day. I even used to joke around that if I weren't gay Gina would be the woman I would marry.
I had no idea how true these words would one day be.
At the beginning of our junior year Gina met a guy named Luke at the gym. I wasn't there that night. I was in my dorm doing what I always do at the beginning of a new semester: trying to organize my schedule and working hard not to freak out about taking on eighteen credits that semester. And while I was kicking myself for taking that extra film course on Thursday evenings, wondering how I would deal with all the reading from the English class, Gina was in Luke's Corvette giving him head in the parking lot of the gym. I will never forget the elated tone in her voice when she phoned me at midnight and told me what had happened with Luke.