September 18, 2009

Facebook as a Business Tool

I call this: random,theatre — Posted by KP @ 2:44 am

I know there are Facebook haters. People who think that anybody who uses social networking sites is a waste of oxygen and must have the IQ of a gnat. Those people are stupid. But they generally don’t know it, otherwise they would know they are not one who should be scoffing at the intelligence of gnats. This post is one small story in disproving the assertion that Facebook is useless.

First there are those who believe that social networking actually makes us less social. For some people who are very naturally social, I suppose this may be true. Myself, I am extremely antisocial. I think I’m a very pleasant person and well-liked by the people in my life, but though I have many friendly acquaintances, I have a lot of trouble forming close friendships. As a result, I lose touch with people the moment they leave my life in whatever context I knew them (which in this business can mean a new job every few weeks or months.) I tend to assume (maybe neurotically) that nobody really wants to hear from me that badly, so as a result I never contact anyone. But Facebook is a way of saying hi when even an email feels too intrusive. If someone is reading my message on Facebook they are there because they want to get random messages from people like me, and so I feel no anxiety about making contact with them. It also keeps me up to date with what other people are doing, which opens up ideas of other things we might have in common or be able to do together. Which brings me to my point.

I have a show in rehearsal right now. I have been Facebook friends with our production manager since we did a show together about a year and a half ago. One day last week, his status was about how he was looking for an Express programmer for certain dates (pretty clearly our tech). On that same day, another friend, who was the venue tech director for a show I did at NYMF last year, had as her status “Amy really needs to find employment,” or something to that effect. I wrote Amy a message and asked if she could program an Express and was willing to work a short-term job for undoubtedly crappy pay. She was. Cut to today, and Amy has been hired as the programmer for our tech. Now she has a job, we found a programmer, and maybe she’ll get future work now as a result of making these new connections. And all this was made possible very easily, when there’s no way I would have known about either her need for work, or our lack of luck finding a programmer if we had to rely on talking to people individually to find out what’s going on in each other’s lives.

And on top of that, since the job in question happened to be the show I’m working on, I will actually get to see her in real life, proving that Facebook does not cause you to see your friends in person less! Someday I’ll give you my rant about why text messaging is more useful than phone calls.