Through all of its innovations as well as its challenges, Facebook is the social platform that I continue to use more than any other. In fact, I have used Facebook consistently since 2007. But I can’t say that I am an avid FB friend, meaning that I do not feel the need to post daily, weekly or even frequently. I post on Facebook in much the same way that I contribute to verbal conversations: I only talk when I feel I have something important to say. Still, I enjoy connecting with people on Facebook. I have been able to catch up with childhood friends whom I would normally have lost contact with. It’s enjoyable sharing family photos, vacation pictures, and news about personal accomplishments, etc. Facebook is the go-to application for almost all of my family and friends to share the milestones of life.
Facebook is also the most used social platform in my professional life. As the head of the Public Affairs Department on my job, it’s my staff’s responsibility to maintain the organization’s Facebook pages. We have found Facebook to be the best forum for connecting with the public. It delivers immediate access to a core group of people who are interested in the organization’s functions and services. We solicit and receive feedback from our customers on Facebook and we are able to use the communication to assess the efficacy of our programming. Facebook also allows my agency the opportunity to disseminate important messages to the public that the mainstream media either ignores and misconstrues. It’s the best forum for posting videos of the organization’s press conferences, its public events and presentations, and PSAs.
If I could create another social platform that would better fit my lifestyle it would be one specialized for people with like interests to share their cultural travel experiences only. I am asked often for my perspectives on travel to different locales by family, co-workers, and friends because they know I believe travel is not about spending the time isolated on resorts or in fancy hotels but rather using all or some of the time mingling with and learning about the people, their histories and cultures. I do post travel pics on Facebook, but the images tend to tell a small part of my journeys and soon get lost among the plethora of other topics covered on that platform. The specialized travel platform I’d create would only be open to people who are invited, to cut down on the “noise” of too much information. My invited “travel companions” could view my posts about adequately preparing for immersion travel, such as finding the best accommodations suited for this type of travel, where to go for tastes of the local cuisine, music, art, etc., and access prepared travel itineraries complete with contact names and numbers of trusted guides who live in the destinations.
I know that there are travel info social sites already out there and they can be great resources, however, I think that their commercialization detracts from the culture-based travel approach. I would invite companions who ask to view my cultural travel posts and they can also post their own travel posts as long as they fit the content parameters.