Facebook and the Deaf’s Changing Social Life
I started out with Facebook when it was introduced to us during our Web Based Networking Seminar in Thailand September of last year. One of the organizers encouraged us to open a Facebook account so that we can still get in touch even when we go back to our respective countries.
At first, I was hesitant to open a Facebook account. I’m not a fan of social networking sites. They are too teen-ager-ish and their primary purpose is simply to get as many friends as you want. The more friends you have, the more popular you are, so it may seem. Look at Friendster. 90% of its traffic comes from Asia with the Philippines on top with nearly 13 million unique users monthly as of 2008. My country is currently number one based on the average worldwide Google traffic of friendster in all years. That means Filipinos search Friendster the most.
As I have mentioned earlier, Friendster mostly caters to the younger generation. Facebook which appeals to both the young and the young at heart, basically everybody. That includes me. So when I started using Facebook, Whoa! I got hooked! Its interface is easier to use. There are no flashy, trendy but oftentimes eyesore backgrounds, heart pounding sounds, and freakish themes like Friendster. It’s a straightforward, friends-sharing-things-about-friends style. You connect with everybody whom you know. It’s not a popularity contest. It’s getting closer with the ones you love and connecting to your old friends.
Aside from that and of course, hours upon hours of Pet Society, Restaurant City and Scrabble (teeheehee), what appealed to me most is Fan Page. You can join any organization, celebrity, activity, causes, TV programs that you believe in. You can also create one. That’s just what I did.
I created a Fan Page for our school only last December 14, 2009. I figured out that since our school cannot reach all of our alumni and update them about their school’s latest activities, I might as well create one that could solve it. I have no way of encouraging them to visit our official site. I heard from the grapevine that many IT literate deaf are now switching to Facebook. So I guess opening up a fan page would at least keep some of them informed.
During the first few weeks, I posted some news articles I copied from the MCCID official site into the Facebook Fan wall. Then, I occasionally invited my friends, now numbering 334, to become a fan. You can say that majority of MCCID fans are my friends. That is a perfect observation since most of my circle of friends are deaf students and alumni of the school.
I decided to test how “sociable” Facebook is by inviting our Deaf alumni to attend the school’s Sports Fest 2010 Opening Ceremony on February 6, Saturday. We usually don’t generate much interest from our alumni to participate in this yearly activity. Since we started this sporting event a decade ago, we sometimes see ten or more alumni who joined.
In January 29, a week before the event, I made a Facebook Event Entry inviting the deaf alumni. Then, on the day before the event, I made this entry on the Fan Page Wall without expecting any impact on the “fans”:
Sports Fest 2010 Opening Ceremony tomorrow at Lutheran Church Grounds, Sta. Mesa, Manila. Eight students from MCCID Quezon Branch will join us. 🙂
Well, surprise, surprise!!! Aside from the 100 regular students, nearly 50 alumni showed up! Some of them were the schools graduates from our second and third batches (1996-97).
After the ceremony, I greeted the alumni and thanked them for attending. I also made an informal survey as to how they were able to know the event. Almost all of them said, they were informed thru, you guessed it right, FACEBOOK!
As of today (March 20), there are 617 Fans of MCCID College of Technology. Although this is too insignificant compared to the total number of Facebook users in the Philippines (yeah, we are now the tenth largest Facebook users worldwide), we are on the right track. We can now disseminate information to many of our alumni and students faster than ever before. We can now say that we are taking advantage of the available technology.
I appeal to my WordPress blog readers to subscribe to our fan page. If you have Facebook account, kindly add us among one your favorite pages. We need to reach 1,000 fans in order to shorten the URL or web address from the one that we currently use. 🙂
“Facebook is not a contest as to how many friends you have but as to how long you keep the friends you have.” 🙂