Time Dulls All: Facebook Nation

The hot ticket on the social media military circuit is Facebook, the wildly popular Web site where kids, 60-somethings, and the hordes in between divulge entirely too much information about themselves.

We have observed that the passage of time seems to have dulled the memories of many in the military community. Never had a civil word with Fred? No worries, he doesn’t remember and wants you to be his Facebook buddy. Blew off your roommate’s wedding because you two never were particularly chummy? Maybe she has not forgotten, but she wants you linked to her Facebook page anyway. (The latter could be “enemies closer.” Not sure.)

For those deployed and trying to stay in touch with friends and family, this book’s for you. If self-promotion is your game, this is a great tool — make people feel they are invested. Make them think they are your “friend.” You will gain a degree of loyalty and buy-in from a sizeable market otherwise difficult to reach.

Maybe you’ve dabbled in Facebook, acquiescing to seemingly innocent invites. Do you now find yourself the target of predators from your past? The military type? If so, you’re not alone. You might not be looking for Mr. Goodbar, but do we really know the motives of old acquaintances? If you want your life to be an open (Face)book, this gig’s for you. We have been surprised by the number of military (active as well as retired) who tell all, detail family trips, and provide photos of hobbies and unit happenings. Privacy? Wiretaps may be the least of America’s concerns.

There are friends, then there are Facebook friends. One retiree said, “I would not keep in touch with these friends if it wasn’t for Facebook. (Does this baffle only us?)

Years after classmates or military mates have been together, even in the most hostile relationships, you can bet there will be a Facebook invite asking, “How are you?” Since the person knows nothing about you, he will continue “Are you still on active duty? Are you really in DC?” Does time dull the memory or is this a set up?

Our friends at MOAA are on Facebook. The association also is on LinkedIn, a professional online network, and YouTube (who knew?) though we reasonably sure MOAA’s leadership is not singin’ the best of Queen. There are reports military recruiters use Facebook as a prospecting tool. And they should.

Facebook: Do you really not recall how poorly your Facebook “friends” treated you oh so many years ago?

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