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Thursday, July 19, 2007

I do not like that Face book, Sam-I-am

[with apologies to the late, great Dr. Seuss]

I do not like that Facebook puts me in a box.
I do not like zombie/vampire invites from a fox.
I do not like food-fights or fake gifts of food.
I do not like knowing so much about your mood.
I do not like being informed when you are here or there.
I do not like friend invites that hound me everywhere.
I do not like time suckage one step above spam.
I do not like Facebook, Sam-I-am.

Look, I'm not deleting my Facebook membership.  Yet.  But I'm not going to be much of a Facebook participant from here on in, either. 

This Facebook thing is like 'Live Journal' on steroids, and is well on its way to turning otherwise intelligent adults into blathering, jabbering, housebound adolescents. 

Given a choice of actually living life or selecting life-like actions and emotions from check-box lists and pull-down menus... I'll take the real thing.

Just my $0.02


Posted by David Bogner on July 19, 2007 | Permalink


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The relevant difference, though, is that you didn't see what it was when it first became popular.

My undergrad institution was something like the 10th or 15th school to be added to Facebook. It took about 36 hours for half of the student body (4,000 or so students) to sign up for the service.

It had all the advantages that other 'networking' services lacked - tunable privacy, 'local' networks for which school, interests, majors, clubs... and even dorms. It was missing most of the gimmicks of today's Facebook, yes, but it had what people wanted. People didn't want another Friendster or Myspace; they wanted a place to keep in touch with their friends from school and have a rough idea what they were doing (which was previously carried out through reading AIM away messages and the occasional blog).

Now, it's open to the entire world, has nice stalking features, and is entirely overloaded with 'features' that obscure the useful parts. Oh, it can still be fun sometimes, and it still has some utility, but it's certainly lost its charm to most of us. People still use it because they have developed social networks there, and it's easy to keep in touch (or track down old acquaintances)... and some people have become addicted to the onslaught of feed information about the minutia of everyone's existence.

The point is that most people ignore the 'status' things, the completely idiotic e-gifts, etc. If you look past all of that, there's still a useful system in there. With appropriate privacy and notification settings, you should be able to reduce it to a minor annoyance that you have to deal with a few short times a week... and occasionally, a useful resource.

*shrugs* All of your complaints are quite valid, though. Just thought you might want to see why it's gotten the attention it has.

Posted by: matlabfreak | Jul 19, 2007 12:14:10 PM

Interesting timing. The technology guy at the Washington Post put an article out today about his impressions and issues with Facebook. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/18/AR2007071802460_pf.html

I haven't tried it yet (nor MySpace for that matter). Haven't felt any desire to either.

Posted by: JDMDad | Jul 19, 2007 2:40:56 PM

shame- I was just about to get around to adding you!

I still maintain that Facebook is a fluffy bunny compared to it's psycho relation, MySpace.

Posted by: PP | Jul 19, 2007 4:18:25 PM

Ha ha! My thoughts exactly! My friend convinced me to sign up for facebook because she posts pictures of her kids there and because she thinks it's "so me". It actually isn't. Facebook is way too "stalker-y" for me and gets too personal. I pretty much keep in touch with most of the friends that I want to over e mail and blogs. I'm like you, David, I'm not deleting my profile, but I am not really using Facebook.

Posted by: SaraK | Jul 19, 2007 4:50:04 PM

Yeah, what "matlabfreak" said. Facebook used to be perfect, and it still can be useful if you ignore all the extra crap (i.e. everything called an "application").

I still use it every day to send birthday wishes, keep in touch with friends, or collaborate on a group project/idea.

Posted by: Alan | Jul 19, 2007 4:50:52 PM

You know...you could still do the Yahoo360° thing...and don't forget hyves.net. Oh, MySpace (you'd even get a cool ortho layout)!

Some "insiders" and self-proclaimed techies already claim that this is web3.0 ... it's one of the rare occasions that makes me wish it was 1985 again.

Posted by: Account Deleted | Jul 19, 2007 5:08:37 PM

I have to admit it...I still love Facebook.

Not because of the e-gifts (never sent one) or the applications (don't know how to use most of them), but because Facebook helped me get back in touch with friends I lost track of years ago. Some of them found me through mutual friends that I didn't even know were mutual. I found some of them the same way. I've had some great conversations over coffee with people I honestly never expected to see or speak to again.

Sure, it can be stalker-y. But I don't put up any info that I wouldn't care for someone else to see. And if it helps me keep in touch and/or reconnect with people I am (or used to be) fond of, then I'm willing to put up with a few annoyances.

Posted by: Cara | Jul 19, 2007 5:12:36 PM

I don't really understand complaints about facebook being too personal or too stalkerish or too status-y.

It's so customizable - you decide your level of privacy, what to write about you, what to share, what notifications to receive, etc.

Often it seems like people's complaints about facebook are really complaints about their friends being annoying. Oops, I don't think a computer application can fix that!

Yeah, so I'm pro. I'm in touch with people I wouldn't be in touch with otherwise. I have rough ideas of what's going on in other people's lives. I can upload an unlimited amount of pictures and albums and share them both inside and outside facebook, for free (which I don't think Flick'r or Picasa allows). And... so far it hasn't taken away from my ability to live life or experience emotions!

Posted by: Tara | Jul 19, 2007 5:44:55 PM

I'm still ambivalent. I don't log on every day, and dropped out of a group that was too active for my tastes.

My friend Liz Henry reports that it took her 2-3 months to figure out how to make Facebook work for her.

So I'm holding tight for now.

Posted by: Liz | Jul 19, 2007 6:47:30 PM

count me in. Not sure what it is and what its purpose is. It's all new to me. but I do seem to know a few people on it...

Posted by: Riva | Jul 19, 2007 9:12:07 PM

An interesting article a few days ago - I don't recall where, maybe Salon? That reported on a study saying essentially that there was a breakdown in users between facebook and myspace: facebook was more the "popular types" and high schoolers, whereas myspace tended to be more "outsider-y" types and people in college or older.
I don't recall the origin of the study so believe at your own risk.

Posted by: Kol Ra'ash Gadol | Jul 20, 2007 1:13:02 AM

An interesting article a few days ago - I don't recall where, maybe Salon? That reported on a study saying essentially that there was a breakdown in users between facebook and myspace: facebook was more the "popular types" and high schoolers, whereas myspace tended to be more "outsider-y" types and people in college or older.
I don't recall the origin of the study so believe at your own risk.

Posted by: Kol Ra'ash Gadol | Jul 20, 2007 1:13:10 AM

Facebook is evil. Plain and simple.

Computers might still be the root of all evil, though.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Jul 20, 2007 1:26:07 AM

What's "Facebook"?

Posted by: Alan T. | Jul 20, 2007 4:41:38 AM

Fine, no gifts from me. Ever.

Posted by: Shevy | Jul 20, 2007 4:44:54 PM


For the first few years of Facebook, it was literally only College students, by design. You couldn't get access unless you had a campus e-mail address.

Myspace was for high schoolers and creepy older folks.

Posted by: Alan | Jul 20, 2007 5:18:31 PM


Also.. everyone in college had it. Literally everyone.

Posted by: Alan | Jul 20, 2007 5:19:20 PM

matlabfreak... That may all be true, but when all I seem to be getting are vampire bites, zombification notices and fake fruit... i have to wonder if Facebook jumped the shark somewhere along the line.

JDMDad... Yeah, he and I usually coordinate our posts. :-)

PP... By all means, please do. Just don't send me any fake fruit or thong underwear (don't ask).

SaraK... Great minds...

Alan... There is very little you just mentioned that i can't do with other (better) apps. Just sayin'...

a. ... Kind of like the way hardcore skiers pine for the days before the equipment got so good that any jerk could do it.

Cara... Let's face it, you love it because you're still like 19 years old. :-)

Tara... The single biggest complaint I have is that the default setting for every change, update or application addition you perform is "Tell everyone you've ever met or emailed in your entire life?". Being one keystroke away from that kind of thing is just plain evil.

Liz... It didn't take me that long to figure out how my wife worked. That kind of learning curve indicates a GUI problem. :-)

Riva... That's the spirit! I like a go-along kinda gal. :-)

Kol Ra'ash Gadol... You mean they didn't break it down by 'jocks', 'geeks', 'motorheads', 'dweebs', 'freaks', etc. ?

tnspr569... One is the disease, the other just the carrier.

Alan T.... Put the test tube down and back away from the computer geek boy. :-)

Shevy ... Deal. :-)

Alan... that's me... creepy older guy. Surprised I didn't go that way. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 22, 2007 3:19:54 PM

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