Last Friday, I took my daughter horseback riding. It’s her new passion. It’s my old passion.

There we were on the trail with Fred, a 63-year-old wrangler with flowing white hair and a long white beard and mustache. He looks like something out of an 1890s western show.

Fred, me and the kids on a recent ride.

Fred is a good man. Taught my daughter well this summer how to be confident on a horse. She’s really a different child after the experience. But, this is about networking and friendship.

Toward the end of the ride, Fred turned in his saddle, looked at me and said, “you on that Facebook thing?” I figured Fred was asking because he didn’t know what it was. I said no. I’m engaged in different types of social networking, just not Facebook.

“Too bad. We could have been Facebook friends and you could have kept track of me over the winter.”

Add this to the fact that I’ve been entirely out of the loop with the baseball team families all year because Facebook is how they communicate. My husband always knows what’s going, but I don’t.

I counsel my clients to have a good strategic business reason to use social technology. I rant about having strong goals and objectives that meet business needs first. I’d be a hypocrite if I used a technology that I have no strategic need for. Finding all those old friends who didn’t stay in the circle is not my priority.

Now, I’ve finally been pulled by a strategic need. I cannot keep track of what my close friends and children’s friends’ families are up to. I am uninformed. I’m peripheral. I need to be plugged in, even if it’s just to know when I need to be doing stuff, like driving Max to practice.

And so, as my friend and client said to me today, “welcome to the 21st Century.” I’m there now. I’m in Facebook. Heck, if a 63-year-old cowboy finds strategic use in it, surely I can too.