Yesterday afternoon I shared on Facebook a picture of my father receiving a Certificate of Service Pin for his service in the Army. Dad, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, lives in an assisted living facility in Indianapolis.

I shared the picture because I was proud and because I was pretty moved on receiving the picture from one of Dad’s caregivers.

I received over 65 likes and comments to my post of Dad’s pictures. Those who liked and commented included immediate family, family friends from our hometown in Wisconsin where we grew up before Mom and Dad moved to Indy in 1976, business friends who I worked with over a decade ago, business associates and friends of the last 15 years, friends of my parents, and other folks.

What’s the point? Facebook is a wonderful place for people of all ages and all walks of life to stay in touch and nurture relationships by posting on personal matters — and business matters.

This was a personal matter – a deeply moving one for me. I also posted on Facebook yesterday items relating to networking online — my work.

The Pew Research Internet Project examined a social networking survey that explored people’s overall social networks, including Facebook, and how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, and community.

The Project’s findings:

  1. Social networking sites are increasingly used to keep up with close social ties
  2. The average user of a social networking site has more close ties and is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American
  3. Facebook users are more trusting than others
  4. Facebook users have more close relationships
  5. Internet users get more support from their social ties and Facebook users get the most support
  6. Facebook revives “dormant” relationships

Rather than social networking sites isolating people and cutting off their relationships, the benefits of social networks, especially Facebook, are clear — for staying in touch, for establishing trust, for reviving old relationships, and for getting support from your network.

Wow. If you went to the managing partner, chief marketing officer, or any lawyer looking to grow business in a law firm and told them you discovered something which offered these six benefits, they would be all over it. Lawyers would be encouraged and empowered to start using it.

Unfortunately, lawyers and law firms are caught up in fears of privacy when it comes to Facebook and the ignorance that everything you share on Facebook is seen in the Newsfeed of all your Facebook friends – personal or business.

Get beyond those fears and you have a wonderful business development tool founded on relationships.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jason Samfield