Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on a newfangled web site called "Facebook".
Facebook has exploded in recent weeks. Last week alone I received eleven offers. The overture states "(name) wants to be friends on Facebook."
These have come from people I already consider friends (without electronic documentation or authentication). Included were coin dealers, medallic sculptors, a U.S. mint engraver, assorted numismatists, and even your E-Sylum editor, Wayne Homren. I haven't responded to any of these, and until I had to write this message I really didn't know why.
My first thought was "I'm too busy, I'd rather devote my time to my numerous book projects and my new association with Medallic Art Company in addition to my commercial venture with partner Mark Schlepphorst in Signature Art Medals." But, really, I argued with myself, shouldn't I take time to be friendly with someone who is extending a friendly gesture?
Then I realized my real reason: I am slow to adopt new fads. I saw in my mind Facebook as a kind of diary, a public diary of an individual's activities. At my age I want to devote every modicum of time to my chosen numismatic projects. I probably won't live long enough as it is to write all the numismatic books I would like. Do I even want to read a friend's Facebook entries? Could Facebook be a Fadbook?
I DO want to be friends with the multitude of people I have met in the numismatic field. Thus I so look forward to the Boston ANA Convention in two weeks. I will be attending for the full week. It will be something like my 30th ANA convention but I haven't attended the last few years.
This year I want to meet a lot of old friends and make new ones. So I am pleading, stop by my bourse table # 1 - 2 - 3 - 0 (center isle, across from the escalators). It is a combination of Signature Art Medals -- Medallic Art Company and it is more educational exhibit than commercial venture. We will have four medals and a lithograph for sale, but I want to meet and chat with you. Look over our medallic items on exhibit. Pick up and handle dies and hubs. Please ask questions.
Meanwhile I need to be convinced to respond favorably to all those Facebook entrees.
You and me both. I'm a bit quicker to try the latest new thing online, and I've had a Facebook account for a while. But after a time I got overwhelmed and have rarely touched it in the last year. When a cousin found me the other day I got back on to exchange notes.
Like many others, I'm finding I need to become much more selective on Facebook. Are you a relative? A neighbor (past or present)? Have you visited my home? Have I visited yours? Have we even broken bread together? I find I've ended up with way too many "friends" on Facebook that I've never even met in person.
The E-Sylum of course, is another story. If I were starting The E-Sylum, today I just might choose Facebook as the platform to build it on (separately from my personal Facebook account). Back in 1996 Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was twelve years old and email was the only truly viable platform for pushing content to people worldwide.
If I were to survey E-Sylum readers today, I'm sure there are many with Facebook accounts, but many more without (or like me, with a fairly dormant one). We do have an E-Sylum RSS feed. If there's a way to hook that into Facebook maybe we could start dipping our toes into the Facebook water. If anyone is familiar with building Facebook interfaces, let me know.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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