Well, for the most part its a place holder for me. I was a member in college before they opened it up to everyone, so we would use it to exchange messages across campus and campuses. Now its mostly social placeholder for me. I find a lot of friends from college by them polling it. It can also serve as an unofficial resume for employers trying to get a finger on you outside of your carefully cultivated existence on your resume/cover letter. Its a social network that is as open or closed as you set it up to be, without the garishness of Myspace.
Yeah I've heard those horror stories too. I make sure to set my facebook as private so nobody but my friends can see. As for actually getting a facebook, there are some pros and some cons...It's really helpful to stay in touch with friends who go to different colleges, putting together big events, and keeping up relations with people you just met. Also, it's great for procrastinating...I used to use facebook for that purpose, but now Watchuseek has taken up that position :-d.
On the other hand, you get some people who expect you to post on their walls (facebook's way to exchange messages between people) every day (like my girlfriend...even though I see her every day :roll, and a lot of "facebook stalkers."
So I guess in the end, I'd say it's a fairly useful social tool as long as you use it correctly! Does everybody else think I summed that up fairly correctly?
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