Keeping in touch with FacebookLife in Spain Wed, 29 Jan 2014
Do you use Facebook? It has crept, or perhaps leapt, into our lives at a startling rate and there are now few people who do not have an account.
If you live in Spain or know someone who does, it has the attraction of being an additional point of contact with your family and friends. Even those of greater years have learnt to use it to share photos and check on how everyone is getting on in their home country.
It’s not only individuals who use it. It has increasingly been used for advertising and most businesses have their own Facebook page which they encourage you to ‘like’.
Not everyone’s cup of tea
However, its use for advertising has perhaps been a little slower in Spain than other European countries. A report by Eurostat suggests that Spanish firms are still not making sufficient use of the internet as a tool for promoting and marketing their business.
In fact, three out of every ten Spanish businesses have not yet set up their own website. Only 68% of Spanish companies have their own webpage in comparison to 94% in Finland. There may still be some way to go but many businesses are experimenting with their own Facebook account and in some cases, this can be particularly valuable to those living abroad.
The British Embassy
For example, the British Embassy in Madrid has launched its own Facebook page.
If you would like to see for yourself what’s on the Embassy’s page then you should type in ‘Brits living in Spain’. The page is run by the British Consular network and is sister to the British Embassy’s UKinSpain page, a more formal version with administrative and political information.
As you’d expect from a Facebook page you can make your own comment, give an opinion and share. It has lots of posts that draw attention to aspects of Spanish life. For example:
- The number of British nationals living in Spain compared to the rest of Europe
- Calling 112 in an emergency
It also draw attention to articles on the Gov.uk website that can be beneficial to British people with a property in Spain.
There are lots of opportunities for hearing what others think about their life in Spain and for sharing good places and events to visit. It asks for comments and answers to questions such as, ‘You find yourself in a UK supermarket. Name your favourite food and drink products to bring back with you to Spain’. Always interesting to see the replies.
So, there are plenty of virtues to Facebook. However, it does come with a health warning. You should be careful with what you post and what you ‘like’. Unless you are very careful with your security settings, it can be too easy to discover that more people have access to your posts than you anticipated.
You should always be cautious before making a post and consider what its ‘wider’ implications might be. Will celebrating the fact that your son is coming over for a visit antagonise the daughter who had requested a visit at the same time? Who will see that you are going away for a few days if you advertise the fact in your posts?
It’s also important if you use an internet café or other shared location that you sign in and out. Leaving your page open after you have used it can invite malicious comments on your posts.
As with most new methods of communication, it has lots of advantages but needs some thought too. Share your photos and enjoy your moment together, ‘like’ your favourites and open up the conversation. Just remember on Facebook you are never alone.