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I’m Friending Face Book

Thus far, I’ve kept my distance from Face Book.  I haven’t seen much value in it.  It always seemed like a great procrastination tool, but nothing more.  I rarely change my profile picture; said pictures have been a close-up of a camel’s face and a picture of me and DC Crack Head Marion Berry. I’ve never changed my status.  I have always felt that I’d seen Face Book before.  It was called Friendster, and in the early part of this millennium, I spent a LOT of hours voyeuristically looking at all my “friends”.  Friendster connected you to friends of your friends, up to 3 degrees of separation, giving you the online equivalent of a social booster shot. I was shocked to see that Friendster is still online.  Not only that, my account is still active and I now have 1,000,000,000 friends, making me connected (though degrees of separation) with 1/6 of the planet, and that does include Kevin Bacon.

Having wasted much of my early online years sifting through Friendster and HotOrNot.com, I was skeptical of Face Book. Plus, I was turned off by people buying me a virtual beer I couldn’t actually drink or telling me how their child pooped through three outfits in one day.  Frankly, I’ve got enough dirty diapers to deal with; I don’t need to hear about yours!  With this mentality, I kept most of these online people-finding tools at an arm’s length away.  Not anymore. I am whole heartedly embracing Face Book. I’m friending it. And if you forward this link to 10 people, Mark Zuckerberg will personally deliver a one dollar bill to you on a diamond-encrusted silver platter.

I now have to love Face Book, it’s my job.  Starting Monday, I’ll be in a new job at the embassy in the Public Affairs Office, and the job title is Social Media Coordinator.  The position helps the embassy reach out to Cambodians using social media tools.  I will be friending, tweeting, blogging and posting to try to win hearts and minds.  And while I won’t be subscribing to Paris Hilton’s tweets, the revolutions that have shook the Arab world in the past couple of months owe much of their momentum to the ability to quickly share information via social media websites. Thus the State Department has dedicated significant resources to making sure our diplomatic corps part of that on-going conversation.

In reality, Cambodia has such a low percentage of people with internet connectivity, that Social Media with just be a small part of the job description.  The position is more of a Public Affairs Assistant, which helps with speech writing, cultural event planning, website content, all media outreach, and educational exchange programs.  It is a good fit for my skills, and still fits nicely into my embassy career path.  When I applied for a direct hire position with the State Department, it was with the Public Affairs Bureau.  So really, this is a position I’ve been hoping to get for the last six years.

I’ll leave my Community Liaison Office position after a very fun four and a half years.  I truly enjoyed that job, but I needed a new challenge and look forward to the valuable experience I will gain in the Public Affairs Office.  As a result, I will be spending more time on Face Book.  Now I will be paid to update my status, to watch videos of baby monkeys riding on pigs, and to update you on Micah’s green poop.

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