Facebook, Twitter and Sudbury

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The older you are, the more accustomed you are to satisfying your need for news, entertainment and conversation via newspapers, magazines, books, television, radio and good, old-fashioned face-to-face interaction with others.

Imagine. Many of us even grew up looking forward to reading the mail at the end of the day.  

But that was then. This is now. This is the age of the Internet and instant messaging, smart phones and even smarter notebook computers, laptops and tablets. This is the era of newfangled social media communications tools and technologies that are already well on their way to changing the way we create, share and receive information forever.

Take Facebook and Twitter, for instance, two of the most popular social media sites today.

If Facebook were a country, its user base of more than 600 million (about a fifth of whom reside in the United States), would make it the third most populated one in the world, behind China and India. And it looks like that may be just the tip of the iceberg. Facebook is currently growing at the rate of over 500,000 users a day, poised to reach one billion users by the end of 2013.

We’re talking about a force to be reckoned with, if ever there was one.

When I joined Facebook in late 2007, it was considered quite the novelty among grownups, having gone live in early 2004 exclusively for college students and unavailable to the general public until September 26, 2006.

But the rest, as they say, has been history.

Like many others on Facebook, I use it for both personal and professional reasons, staying in touch with not just my friends and relatives, but also my colleagues and contacts in the business world.

Facebook is great for sharing family photos and videos, spreading the word about activities and accomplishments, soliciting opinions on the top stories of the day, discussing important issues and getting the inside scoop on all your favorite brands.

Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been reunited with many of my old high school classmates and have been able to keep up with everyone from distant cousins to former co-workers, famous celebrities to others right here in Sudbury.

I’ve also “liked” a number of local businesses and institutions on Facebook, including the Buddy Dog Humane Society and the Goodnow Library, opening up my customized news feed to their status updates and anything else they care to share with their “fans.”

As for my wife, Barbara, I don’t know what she’d do without Facebook. To her, it’s like a water cooler around which she engages in an endless stream of dialogue with a tight-knit circle of friends, some of whom are our Pine Lakes neighbors and some who live as far away as California.

But let’s not forget about Twitter. Launched in July 2006, there are now over 200 million accounts on this so-called “microblogging” site, more than half of them in the United States. On Twitter, users adopt handles (mine is @cargillcreative) and exchange short, real-time text messages with their network of followers.

Every day, more than 100 million messages – called tweets – are sent across the Twitterverse, many by people and places in Sudbury, including Jill Baker (@JBakerMarketing), Bob Familiar (@bobfamiliar), Adam Gross (@AdamGross), Rob Mossi (@RMossi24), Larry Robiner (@LRobiner), Bearly Read Books (@BearlyReadBooks), The Frugal Flower (@TheFrugalFlower) and yes, of course, the Sudbury Town Crier (@SudburyCrier), to name just a handful.   

Since I joined Twitter on May 8, 2008, I’ve tweeted over 4,000 times about everything from marketing, social media and copywriting (all of which I do for a living) to running, pop culture and my family.

And while I don’t have anywhere near as many followers as, say, Lady Gaga (over 8,700,000), Oprah Winfrey (over 5,300,000) or Shaquille O’Neal (over 3,600,000), I’m proud of the fact that over 2,700 others are interested in what I have to say in 140 characters or less.

Yes, you can meet plenty of like-minded people on Twitter as well as those who might otherwise never give you the time of day. Personally, it’s where I go when I want to listen and learn, congregate and converse, publish and promote. It’s where I’m fortunate to have formed a bunch of good relationships with folks I look up to and admire, trust and respect for their knowledge and expertise, generosity and support. It’s where I’d be happy to connect with you.

Bob Cargill resides in Sudbury with his wife, Barbara, and their two sons, Scott and Ben. You can find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bobcargill and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cargillcreative. Or you can reach him by email at Cargill123@gmail.com

The article, “Facebook, Twitter and Sudbury,” was original published in The Sudbury Town Crier (Sudbury, MA) on Thursday, March 17, 2011. It is republished here with permission.

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