Would you Facemash?   The October 2003 dormitory online entertainment created to compare hacked photos side by side to assess levels of ‘hotness’ and ‘notness’ bred outrage, but the idea generated in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room took root. By the dawn of 2004, he founded Facebook to connect people around the University, a task he declared would take Harvard years to implement, but he and his cohorts could put together in mere days.

Originally limited to Harvard, Facebook quickly spread to other campuses, and by the close of 2004 boasted 1 million registered college users. Today, 1 in every 7 people on Earth has a Facebook account, and in the first quarter of 2013 alone, the site added 54 million new users, or 1 new user every 7 seconds! (According to the Census Bureau, the world population adds 1 new person every 15 seconds.)

Although only 11% of users are aged 13-17, today’s teens spend 80% of their time on social media, have twice as many ‘friends’ as their parents do, and post 3 times as often to their walls. Yet, their parents are among the fastest growing Facebook demographics. Clearly, Facebook’s platform and growth rate provide WACAC members and our charges tremendous opportunities to connect and communicate.

We share pictures, activities and ideals. We ‘chat’ with friends and associates, schedule and invite people to events, and use hashtags to link others to interesting websites. And we can advertise…. Yes, we have privacy concerns, but the very nature of social media – share and share a lot – belies any true fear of Big Brother! Facebook nonetheless endeavors to stay ahead of the security curve, ostensibly leaving in our hands who can and cannot see shared information. What we volunteer might be used against us though; providing login information violates Facebook’s terms of service, but the terms have no real legal weight, and experts say the legality of asking for such information remains unclear. Surely, our WACAC ethical guidelines discourage it….

So, join us at the June conference where the Communications committee will integrate social media into daily activities. On Day 1, we’ll solicit member posts themed Today I Learned (TIL at #WACAC2014). Day 2, we’ll unveil SWAGAC with witty giveaways staged around the conference center (#SWAGAC), and the final day will be dedicated to reflective conference posts.

And until June, stay tuned for subcommittee blogs about Twitter and other social media sites providing a new world of WACAC opportunity.

By Ellen Supple