Thursday, November 08, 2007

Facing My Travel History On Facebook.com

I joined Facebook a few weeks ago mainly because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I have found it to be a very interesting social networking site -- it's certainly much better designed and easy to navigate than MySpace -- but I haven't really discovered anything on Facebook that really held my interest.

Until last night.

I had to sign into Facebook because a coworker, Mike Wells, had requested that I add him as a friend. After I had approved Mike's request, I looked at my short list of Facebook contacts and saw Vickie Chachere's name. Vickie is a Facebook fan. Her other claims to fame: She also works for the Tribune, she's married to reformed sourpuss Doug Stanley, and she's the mom of America's Smilingest Child Nick Stanley.

I was perusing Vickie's Facebook profile to see all the different things she does on the site: the photos, the blog, the interactive instant messages (called pokes) to other Facebook users.

Everything seemed designed to promote interaction between Vickie and her network of friends and colleagues (which includes me) on Facebook. For example, there's an area which shows the books that Vickie has recently read, and those she's planning to read soon. This section also shows which books her friends are reading.

The thing that really caught my eye was a section called "Cities I've Visited." It's a world map with tiny pushpins showing 231 cities in 9 countries. I clicked on it and got a bigger map.

Now when I see Vickie at work, I can ask her when she was in Spain or Switzerland or Germany. Or I can tell her about my own experiences in Europe.

Of course, I had to create my own "Cities I've Visited" map. If you're a Facebook user, look me up. If you're one of my Facebook friends, you can see the map on my profile page. If you're on Facebook, click here to visit me.

If you aren't on Facebook, here's a screen grab:

"Cities I've Visited" on Facebook (properly sized)

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