In the know

Published 8:29 am Friday, July 3, 2009

When I first saw Facebook, I didn’t want any part of it.

I had already been making an erratic commitment to two other Web sites — Flickr and LinkedIn. Plus, I had two blogs that I wasn’t doing much with — and an online comic strip that has been mostly abandoned since 2003.

I decided that Facebook was not to be dabbled with. I was too busy.

But in March I had a change of heart; I joined the Web site after hearing that it was an excellent tool to reconnect with old friends.

Now, four months and precisely 282 friends (including pending requests) later, my foray into Facebook has been an entertaining one. As promised, it has been an excellent tool for reconnecting with old friends, but it’s also provided me with revelation.

My friends are all over the map, literally and professionally.

Since my profession is writing, I decided to do a little exercise to test the old mantra, “It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know.”

So, here is whom I know:

I know 105 people in Michigan — and 142 in Illinois. This makes sense, because I lived in those places for 11 years and 17 years, respectively.

I know 34 people from elementary school, 84 from high school and 24 from college.

I know 19 people who are unemployed, although that number could be higher.

I know a horror/suspense writer who has had several books published, and there’s buzz about one being made into a movie.

I know a popular narrator of Christian books in Chicago, and I know a seminarian in Detroit.

I know a bartender in Warrenville, Ill.

I know a guard at a juvenile detention center in Vermillion County, Ill.

Oh, do I know graphic artists. I know them in Salem, Ore., Colorado Springs, Colo., Berkley, Mich., and Baltimore.

And oh, do I know photographers. I know them in Ann Arbor and Pontiac, Mich., and Albany, Ga.

I know two professors at Wayne State University and one at Michigan State University. I also know a journalism instructor at Oakland University.

Obviously, I know people in newspapers. Not to be a name dropper, but I have friends at The Chicago Tribune, The Detroit Free Press, The Macon Telegraph, The Greater Wilmington Business Journal, The Oakland Press, The Daily Herald of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., and The Army Times. I also know the former graphics editor for USA Today.

I know a vice president of the Professional Bowlers Association.

I know a professional model and actor who has been in a couple of movies and numerous print ads.

I know two radio personalities: One is a DJ for an alternative rock station in Chicago; the other hosts a psychedelic program once a week from Princeton.

I know an assistant principal in Berea, Ohio, and middle-school teachers in Aurora, Ill.- and Wrightwood, Calif.

And I know a senior retail manager for Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

The others? Well, they didn’t say what they were doing at the moment, so it’s anybody’s guess. For all I know they could be digging ditches in Alaska. Or they could be drilling for coal in West Virginia. Maybe they’re cleaning sewer pipes in Kansas — or working the carnival rides in Arkansas.

Then again, they could all be CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

So don’t mess with me.

I know people.