3.16.2008

to everyone who has asked to be my friend on facebook

To everyone who has sent me a friend request on Facebook: thanks, but no thanks.

I'm not into Facebook. I wasn't into MySpace or LiveJournal, and I won't be into whatever comes after Facebook. I just don't care. Nothing personal. I care about you. I just don't care about Facebook.

I registered because a Facebook URL showed up in my Statcounter, and I wanted to see who was linking to wmtc. That's a minor obsession of mine; I'll register anywhere to trace a link. I'll accept the friend requests as they come in. But that will be the sum total of my Facebook experience.

As far as I'm concerned, Facebook is just another giant time-sucking machine. I already live with a constant feeling of never having enough time to do the things I want to do. Why would I add yet another use (or misuse) of my time? Most people I know share that time-pressed feeling... yet so many of them jump into The Next Online Thing. I don't get it. But each to her own.

My online life happens in the blogosphere, and through email. And that's enough.

17 comments:

Jere said...

Yeah! That's what I'm talkin' about.

I still can't figure these things out. But I have a feeling it's that people care more about wanting other people to see how many "friends" they have than about actually having friends.

Psst...just because your favorite band friended you, it doesn't mean you are their actual friend. Or that you know them at all.

L-girl said...

But I have a feeling it's that people care more about wanting other people to see how many "friends" they have than about actually having friends.

I'm sure for a lot of people, that is true. But then, the folks who have contacted me aren't like that.

Maybe it's being part of the The Thing To Do. You don't want to be left out of The Thing.

David Cho said...

I am completely with you on that.

L-girl said...

OK, now there's three of us. Allan makes four. The last four people not interested in Facebook. Hey, let's start a site!!!

deang said...

Five. I don't understand the Facebook, Myspace, etc amassing "friends" trend either. Like you, I think of it as just fashion. They're not really friends if you don't know them!

L-girl said...

And if you do know them, why do you need Facebook?

Perhaps a Facebooker (i.e. someone from the rest of the world) will come by to explain.

impudent strumpet said...

Yeah, I'm not into it either. No big reason, nothing against it, I just...don't need it.

L-girl said...

Yes, I guess that sums it up for me too. I don't need it.

And I wonder why others do.

And I wonder what they used to do before Facebook existed.

Summed it up plus those things.

impudent strumpet said...

I assume because it's a good way to keep track of everyone's lives. Like when your mother runs into the mother of someone you went to high school with, then tells you what your old classmate is up to and it's generally of interest, even if you don't care about this person enough to keep in touch with them. If I had one, I'd add my cousins and people I went to uni with and people from my previous jobs just because I'm vaguely curious about what they're up to, even though I don't consider them actual call-in-a-crisis friends and if facebook didn't exist I wouldn't be wishing for a way to keep track of them.

L-girl said...

I understand that for people like yourself who blog anonymously.

But for people who blog under their own names - and whose friends all know about their blogs - and in some cases also have LiveJournal pages, what's the difference there?

Amy said...

Although I am not into Facebook at all (though I have a page with my dog as my picture and no information on it), it does provide a platform for people to find each other who otherwise might never be able to as well as a platform to share pictures. I know there are lots of other ways to do that, but for lots of people, Facebook is the most user-friendly.

So although I have no use for it personally, I think it does have value for lots of people.

Canrane said...

I don't get the whole facebook thing either. But I'm on it. After more than a year of resisting, I finally caved. More out of necessity than anything else. All of my friends are on it and they seem to have forsaken all other forms of communication. So if I want to "talk" to the ones who live in different cities/time-zones, this seems to be the best way to do it. At least the only way if I want to hear from them in a timely manner. It's like they've all stopped checking normal email or something.

The appeal seems to be that you can broadcast information to a lot of people at the same time. So rather than answering 10 individual queries of how your week was, you do it once. You can also get a sense of how all your friends are doing in one shot, one interface.

Another thing is that people don't mind posting tiny little one-liners or inconsequential observations that they wouldn't necessarily put in an email. So contact with friends far and near may not be deep, but at least it feels like you're "talking" to them every day.

That's the plus side. What bothers me is how public it is and how little control you have over what gets broadcast to whom. You can't seem to easily setup groups. So something I feel comfortable talking about publicly with one group of friends is not something I'd want to make common knowledge among others. And the fact that you can see the entire conversation between mutual friends is just creepy! I feel like I'm eavesdropping everytime the update shows up on my main page! I hate that.

If you want a message to be *truly* private, you use the mail functionality. Which is exactly like email. So what's the difference? I just don't get it either.

To tell you the truth, I've never felt so out of whack with my generation before! I'm crossing my fingers and hoping the attempts to bring more advertising into Facebook eventually drives people away.

L-girl said...

I know there are lots of other ways to do that, but for lots of people, Facebook is the most user-friendly.

I do see that it combines many functions from other internet modes into one site - email, journal/blog, photos, forums, etc. And it is attractive and well designed. (I think MySpace is hideous looking, and MSN "Spaces" is even worse.)

After more than a year of resisting, I finally caved. More out of necessity than anything else. All of my friends are on it and they seem to have forsaken all other forms of communication.

Ugh.

The appeal seems to be that you can broadcast information to a lot of people at the same time. So rather than answering 10 individual queries of how your week was, you do it once. You can also get a sense of how all your friends are doing in one shot, one interface.

Exactly like having a personal blog or a LiveJournal.

Another thing is that people don't mind posting tiny little one-liners or inconsequential observations that they wouldn't necessarily put in an email.

Exactly like... see above.

If you want a message to be *truly* private, you use the mail functionality. Which is exactly like email. So what's the difference?

Exactly.

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping the attempts to bring more advertising into Facebook eventually drives people away.

But will it? Aren't the same people who use Facebook numb to all the advertising everywhere, and just accept it as given?

Eventually Facebook will be bought by a big media company. Did MySpace's popularity fade after NewsCorp (Fox) bought it? I bet tons of people on MySpace don't even know who owns it.

Canrane said...

Right, I guess it's the blog for people who don't blog :)

As for being immune to the advertising...I agree that most people are immune to "standard" advertising. But the very personalized kind advertising that facebook is trying to bring in makes people uncomfortable. It's more intrusive than "normal".

For example, people were pretty upset when everyone on their list got automatic notifications of what they had ordered on Amazon. Not only were more than a few christmas presents revealed, but it was also a reminder of who all was on your list.

Facebook gives the illusion of privacy. You feel like it's just you and your friends and your little circle. It's easy to forget the friends of friends and the random people you had added to your list way back when because they don't ever post on your wall. You can hide notifications from them. So when facebook does stuff that shatters that illusion of a close-knit circle, it's more jarring.

At least that's my take.

L-girl said...

Thanks, Canrane. It's nice to have a perspective from someone who didn't jump at Facebook, but still uses it.

M@ said...

I'm on Facebook, I have a number of friends on Facebook, and I do visit the thing daily.

I'm not interested in amassing friends, but I do have a lot of them. Some of them are actual friends with whom I do not typically communicate with on Facebook, but since we were both on we friended each other. Others are people who I would not, say, e-mail on a regular basis, but who I'm comfortable having this slight and arm's length connection with.

The arm's length thing is also really useful with people like former co-workers. I do care to know where they are now and what they're up to, and I'd like to let them know that I've published this book or am going to this event. Same with old army buddies and school friends. I'm not wanting or expecting dinner invitations from these people or anything, but if I ran into them on the street I'd be happy to pass a few minutes chatting about what they're up to.

Facebook is a convenient way to play online games like Scrabble and chess. I use that a lot. Unlike going to a big site like chess.com and throwing myself into a pool of thousands of strnagers, I can find people I know on Facebook who have the chess application installed on their page, and start games with them. Convenient and low overhead. Works for me.

Anyhow, I don't know if I'm a typical Facebook user (maybe typical for my generation?) and I certainly don't spend hours a day there. But it has its uses and I intend to keep using it.

As for advertising -- Firefox + Ad-aware takes out most of the ad content. Whatever's left is a lot less obtrusive.

Anyone reading this can feel free to friend me. :)

L-girl said...

Thanks for the input, M@.

The arm's length thing is also really useful with people like former co-workers. I do care to know where they are now and what they're up to, and I'd like to let them know that I've published this book or am going to this event. Same with old army buddies and school friends. I'm not wanting or expecting dinner invitations from these people or anything, but if I ran into them on the street I'd be happy to pass a few minutes chatting about what they're up to.

I can see that. That's like the people I email with 2 or 4 times a year. Without email, I'd never keep in touch with them.

Facebook is a convenient way to play online games like Scrabble and chess.

Oh shit, it's a damn good thing I don't want to use it, then. I am a true addict when it comes to certain things like that. The last thing I need is another outlet. Thanks for the warning!