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August 23, 2010

Facebook Extending Lives & Literacy

Yesterday I heard from a very reliable source that Facebook has triggered a sea change in the nursing home industry.

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This comes from a client of one of my business mentors.

The #1 reason people die is their friends have died or been dispersed to the four winds; their family doesn’t visit them anymore, and they have no more reason to get up in the morning.

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I’m sure all of us have visited long-term care facilities and seen the blank stares and hopelessness of aged people living out their last days.

Facebook has changed that.

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There are many, many 77 year old folks in nursing homes who now have 60 Facebook friends and interact with them on an hourly basis.

This is literally extending life spans – to the point of wreaking havoc in the long-term care industry.

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This is because many of the payment models are based on people living only so long and their communities on Facebook are literally extending their lives.

(It’s also creating some interesting social gaffes.

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Like after a person dies their friends are still getting reminders:

“You haven’t reached out to Ethel for awhile. Send her a note. Click here to POKE Ethel.”)

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It’s also obliterating illiteracy.

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Kids might be able to fake reading books in school, but they can’t fake writing comments on their friends’ pages.

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I seriously believe that within 5 years, nearly every single kid in the developed world will be able to read, write and type – because of Facebook.

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Within 10 years, the same will be true in developing countries – because of mobile phones.

***********************************Please Note**************************************

In My opinion social networks can’t substitute for face-to-face interaction, but for people who already have healthy real-world relationships, technology can help amplify them.

For those already prone to isolation, however, technology may encourage them to further retreat from society — and possibly Facebook themselves into an early grave.

If we try to substitute technological content for the interpersonal, we run into a whole host of problems. You see that on college campuses with increasing psychological stress rates. But I do think our interpersonal relationships are refreshed because we network socially. There’s a healthy balance there somewhere.

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