I have 400 Facebook friends: What I've learned

On July 3, I finally succumbed and joined the movement that is Facebook. Six weeks later, I have 400 “friends” – yeah I am that popular.

But, from when I first started thinking of giving into the social networking movement back in March, I took the decision way too seriously – wanting it to benefit me professionally, rather than become a waste of time. I wanted to improve my name searchability online – so employers, friends and stalkers can find the right Christopher Wink.

So, I am happy to report, that more than a month into this experiment, I have rediscovered what has become obvious – Facebook is a fantastic tool.

The monthly individual visits to ChristopherWink.com. (WordPress)

After launching ChristopherWink.com in early December and grabbing barely more than 200 hits, I saw in January nearly 1,500 – or an average 46 hits a day. After a dip to 41 in February, I saw relative growth into the summer – daily hits of 52, 54, 78 and then 64 in June.

Then in July – when I joined Facebook – there was an enormous spike – though, I must caution that a huge portion of that is misleading. This post got caught up in several fan Web sites and even briefly a Google Image search bringing in more than 6,500 hits in that first week. But, even excluding every last one of those visits, the remaining 2,711 hits account for more than 87 per day.

I think I can account a lot of that growth to posting this site’s feed on my Facebook page, but I wonder if it will sustain considering so far through August I am getting about 63 hits per day, or roughly similar to where I was before I joined the site. Any ideas on what audience could have seemingly disappeared and been replaced by the regular hits I get from my Facebook page?

I have experimented elsewhere on Facebook, including launching a group for northwest New Jersey and linking to a post I wrote on northwest New Jersey. I saw another 30 hits to that page, sizable enough for a group that only just broke 50 members.

I made a few decisions that others interested in keeping their Facebook profile professional might want to incorporate: declining to have a wall, so others can’t post messages on my page; I have to approve any photos or videos that tag me; I myself keep from posting photos and think very carefully before changing anything. I also use Facebook’s nifty category application for one’s friends list, which is awfully helpful as your contact list grows. So things don’t get unwieldy, I’ve already broken many of my contacts into sources, contacts, contemporaries, friends from certain groups and other identifying characteristics that will not only help me remember how to place individuals, ,but also give me a boost in connecting different ideas, writings and suggestions.

This, of course, is one in a long line of giving into the professional Internet world. Even more recently I joined Twitter, though that was just to ask a question of Comcast.

I have no reason to, so I haven’t yet investigated advertising on Facebook, but when I do, I’ll be sure to listen to the experiences of Sean Blanda.

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Graphic courtesy of Jeff Pulver.