Social networking is here to stay

March 24, 2012|Liz Thompson

Once upon a time, if you wanted to communicate with someone and couldn't do it personally, you called on the phone or wrote them a letter.

Today, the phone is probably not connected to a landline and the odds are, you’re using it to send a text message or an email. And letters have been replaced by emails, even in the business world.

Although I sometimes worry about what texting will do to our language skills, I think the changes delivered by technology are good.

I admit I used to be more suspicious of what technology might bring, but I'm mostly a convert now.

Almost four years ago, I got an email from someone in our corporate offices telling me I needed to create a Facebook account.

I rolled my eyes and dutifully registered the account and then promptly forgot about it ... at least for a week or so until I got the next email that said I had to post something on my Facebook account a couple of days a week.

I rolled my eyes again, but started posting on a somewhat regular basis, then on an increasingly regular basis.

And then one day, just like that, I realized I had become a Facebook fan.

If you’re one of those people who think it’s a fad, I have to tell you, I think you’re wrong.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all of the other up-and-coming social networking platforms have shown us how small the world can be. None of the platforms are complicated or difficult to use. Anyone with a smartphone, a tablet or a computer can take part in the social-networking world.

Facebook might eventually give way to some other online platform — although all of its competitors are far behind — but social networking is here to stay.

We use it as a way to easily stay in touch with family and friends, to reconnect with old friends and to promote our businesses and causes.

Facebook was launched in 2004 for Harvard students and quickly spread to other colleges and universities. Eventually, it was opened for public use.  

Today, Facebook claims 845 million active users. 

Almost 2.6 million of those registered Facebook users live in Maryland, according to Internet World Stats. That’s an incredible number when you consider the state’s total population is 5.8 million.

Another 6.1 million Facebook users live in Pennsylvania, again, almost half of the state’s 12.7 million residents. And in West Virginia, there are 771,740 Facebook users amid its 1.8 million residents.

Social networking is becoming a dominant force in the communications arena. When news happens today — and in this case, “news” means everything from gossip in the neighborhood to traditional news — the social networks light up and spread the information from one connection of friends, to another, to another and so on.   

For businesses, social networking provides an opportunity to reach out to customers to give and to receive information. Our Facebook pages — Herald-Mail, Sports and Red Hot Deals — have 7,450 “likes” or “fans.” We use The Herald-Mail Facebook page to post some of our stories and to promote our contests and deals. Facebook drives nearly 100,000 page views a month to, and 600 to 800 comments are posted on those Facebook pages every month.

It is a form of communication that proves its worth over and over.

If you haven't “liked” us on Facebook, please do. You can find us at, and

The only communication tool touched more often than Facebook is email.

Here are some amazing statistics for you:

  • There were 107 trillion (with a t) emails sent in 2010.
  • 294 billion (with a b) emails are sent daily.
  • There are 1.88 billion email users worldwide.
That’s a lot of emails flying around. I personally get about 3 million of them.

The way we communicate has definitely shifted. I am curious to see what will come next in this ever-changing world of communication, technology and social networking.
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