Before you assume that this post will be full of negativity towards 'social media', it isn't - at least not all of it.
I've had a bit of a whirlwind 24 hours with Facebook. I'm not a complete luddite when it comes to this particular brand. Like a lot of these social media options, I was an early adopter purely because I worked in media and we were encouraged to 'dip our toes in the water'. So Facebook and Twitter were duly embraced and quietly put down again soon afterwards.
I've stopped and started with Facebook several times. I've normally stopped due to social embarrassment - for example, be-friending a family friends 13-year old daughter seemed to be the correct thing to do, as she had requested to 'become my friend'. But when I was subsequently bombarded by information and 'do you know' alerts which all were emanating from up to 20-30 young teenage girls, I could sense the Operation Yew Tree police starting to rev up their engines in the distance. If I'd have known what to do I could have got around it, but deleting the account was the easiest way out.
Yesterday I happened to see on my blog stats that I was getting a lot of traffic from a Facebook page. Intrigued I reactivated my account and found that it was coming from the 'Pan-species lists' site, posted by Seth Gibson drawing attention to a Ramularia purpurascens post that I had made. I was aware that my fellow pan-listers had such a site, but hadn't looked at it for months. I then spent more minutes that were advisable looking through its content and applied to join this particular Facebook group. One thing lead to another, and before I could say "BOOM!" I had joined the following Facebook groups as well - Insects of Britain and Western Europe; British Facebook Birders; UK gulls; Birding London; Widerscope; Seasearch Identification; Birding UK and Ireland; and UK bird identification.
I'm not going to claim that every single contribution made to these groups is going to be faultless, but by scrolling down and sampling what is on offer, I can see that each of them will provide me with information, entertainment plus a platform for discussion with like-minded souls. What's not to like about that? There will no doubt be many more groups out there that I may wish to apply to join. I could even start one of my own, although there might not be much call for 'UK middle-aged misery birding'.
So, Facebook isn't just about posting pictures of kittens in washing machines, gangs of the drunken leering at a camera, or status's that are 'complicated'. But there again, most of you could have told me that, couldn't you.