So I bit the bullet about 2 weeks ago and signed up to Facebook. Why? Well, I have complained about how much I dislike the entire thing for at least the last 6 months (if not longer) but it was rightfully pointed out to me that I cannot complain about something of which I have had no experience of. Well, I’ve got 2 weeks of experience now and this is what I think.

I spent the first 48 hours or so quite addicted to it, adding everyone I ever knew ever as a friend and having fun setting the details on how I met each person. I’ve just gone over 100 friends and my ego is satisfied. Great. It’s kind of cool to say “Hi” to someone I’ve not hung out with for 7 years, but after the “Hi” that’s about it. It’s a bit awkward. Is this because I’m a bad person with no social skills, or did we just stop hanging out for a reason?

Then, I had fun adding a few of the applications. Connecting myself up to a few of the sites I actually DO use on the ‘net (flickr, upcoming, dopplr, etc.) so that in theory I could show those that cared (who does?) what I do on other sites or more likely, I could pretend/brag to myself and others that I have a life outside of Facebook. It’s a bit of a one way street. Just dragging in stuff from other sites to display in another place. I can’t push much back out to those sites though. This must be the walled garden I was hearing about.

As I was locating and finding applications, I discovered that other people had slightly less useful, but more personally interactive apps., and I love a good excuse to fill out a survey to see which Pokémon I’m most like or which film star I’m most likely to marry. General time wasting. I can compare my film tastes with my friend? Sounds like potential fun and conversation. OK… oh wait, I’ve got to add this piece of crap to MY profile as well just to do this? Erm… no. It appears that to interact with anything you’ve got to also say you want to use it too. It’s viral in a bad, forced way. Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough, my inbox is now filled with requests to try out just about every application my awful friends have decided is fun today (I’m turning off all notifications I can as I pause from typing).

The search. The most irritating search I’ve ever used. Just to say certain names are pretty common. I can only search with more attributes if the person I’m searching for is in a network that I belong to. That seems a bit ridiculous. I have friends that aren’t in any specific network, or I associate with a group of people too small to require their own network. Yeah, I can try and find people from my IM listings (that’s useful) but if a friend is unfortunate enough to have a common name, and not be listed with their IM details, it’s virtually impossible to locate them unless you find them on a shared friend’s list or you ask them (but if you’re using Facebook to get back into contact with old friends, it’s possibly safe to assume you currently can’t contact them).

So, I really am failing to find an actual use other than for time wasting and ego-boosting. I’m quite nosey, so I suppose I do enjoy seeing who’s just fallen out with who or just started seeing someone else etc., and I do like friending people I haven’t spoken to for ages just because I want to see where they’re working or if they’re still with so’n’so. It’s passive gossip and I like that. It’s the same reason I like Twitter, but at least it’s not as nerdy.

I also am reasonably keen on having all of my contacts in one place. Granted, most of the people I really want to talk to I already have in my phone book or on my IM or (heaven forbid) I see them regularly, but it is valuable to have a centralised list of people from various networks. I haven’t figured out WHY yet, but I can see a time when I might want to organise something or announce that I’m emigrating to Mars and it would be a lot less hassle for me if I can just mass-spam this information to everyone I’ve ever met.

At the end of the day though, I’m bored of signing up for networks. This is a fad. I think I said MySpace was a fad too and refused to sign up to that, and that’s fallen away to be replaced by Facebook (and dare I say it, but at least MySpace was helping to expose some musical talents, if nothing else). Something else’ll be along and I’ll be complaining about that this time next year too. Someone please tell me why “this is the one”?

Can’t I just have one home and this can be it?

10 thoughts on “Facebook”

  1. It’s a tool for wasting time and quite good it is to.

    But at the moment facebook is valued at $10 billion!?! Yes $10 billion… that’s more beer than pubstandards could drink in 100 lifetimes meeting every night! Obviously that is ludicrous and if the idiot doesn’t sell up now then he’ll quickly discover once this fad is over it will be worth 10p. (and I won’t buy him a beer!)

  2. The single best thing about Facebook is the feed. For me it serves as the Flickr/Twitter/etc for my set of friends who aren’t massively into technology. Why do I like Twitter? Ambient intimacy.

    I feel like I get most from Facebook with the set of friends who fit somewhere between best friends and associates – a group I’d like to see more but just don’t have time. I bumped into my friend Stef at d.construct, for example, who I’d not seen for 5 years because he lives in Birmingham. Despite all that time I had dozens of questions ready about his daughter, company and mutual friends who I’d noticed him mention on Facebook. As with all the best web services it touches my life in the real world.

    I’ve got criticisms aplenty for Facebook, the biggest being its closed nature, but until they have a sensible revenue stream I’m guessing that the data will remain walled in. Fingers crossed for a magic business plan…

  3. I will openly admit that Facebook felt like an exclusive fad for a while. I got into it while it was still a college student networking solution. The simplistic nature of it prior to opening the software was what really appealed to me; MySpace was far too gaudy for my tastes. Slowly, Facebook is going that way as well, although I don’t feel it will ever get as bad. I like the thought of communities outside of these social networking sites, which is part of the reason I finally got my blog established (which, by the way, thanks for stopping by).

    P.S. I’m presently doing my hosting through GoDaddy’s services, which I’m fairly pleased with at the present time. For a virtual host of 100GB/1TB storage/transfer, I’m paying roughly USD$7/month. What are you looking for in a hosting service?

  4. As fads go, Facebook is pretty heavyweight – what with twice as many photos hosted (according to their Head of Platform at FoWA) than every other major photo hosting service on the internet put together. Apparently, they’re doing something right. That’s why they’ve got as many users they have, and thats why they get 20-50 clicks per day per registered user. Ch-ching!

  5. according to this months .net photobucket is the king of photo-sharing?

    ‘it’s official: flickr will be adding video soon. whether it will be able to compete with youtube is questionable, but the option to store videos and use the same tags and albums as you do for your photo collection will be a significant improvement. bizarrely, the king of the photo-sharing market is still photobucket, which holds a 43 per cent share – massive compared to flickr’s 6.4 per cent. flickr is growing fast though, and it’s loyal community adores it.’ – p20, issue 168

    maybe the study doesn’t take into account facebook – after all it’s not exactly public is it. i’m not a member, i can’t view any photos.

  6. I’ll link this place when I can be arsed to update them again. Will you link me or is my whinge pit too low brow?

    Facebook is awful, I don’t think anyone really feels that it enhances their life.

    It makes mine a lot worse.

  7. “Can’t I just have one home and this can be it?”

    You could.

    Though think about if you had: GMail, LinkedIn acct, Flickr, FaceBook or MySpace, SixApart blog, and possibly other social networking or online storage/sharing services … Maybe you might like a central application to access it all and make life easier? (If you use such applications or services.)

    Maybe Google’s OpenSocial will be that application to make it easier for many?

    Google Announces the OpenSocial API
    [O’Reilly Radar]

  8. Friends at work keep asking when I’m going to join FB, and while I do have a number of other profiles on other services (I signed up to see what the hype is all about), I much prefer my own little patch of green on the ‘net (www.farfromfearless.com).

Comments are closed.