Facebooked

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I’ve still to find any good reason to visit Facebook more than once a month. It’s just never really grabbed me, largely because I have plenty of other places online where I can interact and all of them are far more subtle than the constant barrage of utter nonsense that the bulk of Facebook seems to thrive on. I mean what is that virtual poking thing all about? Seriously, answers on a postcard to WHYTHEHELLSHOULDIBOTHERWITHFACEBOOK, c/o IFEARIAMMISSINGTHEPOINT. Thanks.

That said, the upside of Facebook is that it has allowed me to ‘connect’ to some old school acquaintances. I’ve emailed a couple of them but considering that I struggle to keep up with my friends I’d be very surprised if I manage to keep in correspondence with any of them on anything more than a bi-annual basis.

My Facebook contacts are a mix of real and virtual contacts, friends and family. It’s an odd hybrid but not hugely a problem. Until some chuffnut decides to ‘tag’ me with some Facebook meme thing. Thankfully this isn’t as bad as, say, someone throwing a virtual polar bear at me (seriously, wtf?) so I guess I might possibly consider following up on this one. Here are the rules then:

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose up to 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

OK, so writing a note with 25 random things isn’t a big challenge. I mean it’s not like I struggle to waffle on about random nonsense, is it?

But the bit that gets me is the “choose 25 people to be tagged”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve participated and nominated people in a fair number of blog memes in the past, but to me this is different. A meme is a soft suggestion, something that you know may be ignored, particularly as the ‘invitation’ to participate is held on MY blog, not rammed into the blog of the invitee.

I think this is what still irks me with Facebook, it’s far more aggressive. Multiply the number of contacts/friends that you have by the number of applications/games/useless and pointless ‘poking’ variants and before you know it your inbox is deluged. This then puts the onus on you, to do something about whatever it is you’ve received. Delete or participate? Doesn’t matter which, I now have to spend MY time dealing with something that YOU think is interesting, cool or funny. It’s quite a subtle and bizarre intrusion, loaded with expectation and the premise seems to be that once you are in, you are in. You can’t join Facebook and block everything, so, regardless of what filters you have in place you still need to maintain your account.

That is why I don’t visit Facebook all that much. It’s too time consuming. Yes it is genuinely handy and I do keep in touch with people using it but even then a simple check becomes a 20 minute wade through the quagmire of application approval requests, new friend notifications and other levels in the myriad of random crap.

I remember once, whilst still at school, receiving an anonymous letter which suggested I had to add my name and forward it on to 5 different people. I can still remember mulling it over before throwing it in the bin. If you are the person that sent it, I apologise but frankly what did you expect?

Chain letters weren’t fun or cool in the 1980s and the current fad for intrusive social applications isn’t any more fun or cool today.

11 comments

  1. re Facebook – I find the easiest way is to not bother with the great majority of the “applications” that are on there, and particularly the really intrusive ones.

    Mind you, I’m fairly good at polling out the shite in general, and at rejecting the rubbish I can’t be bothered about. I use Facebook for staying in touch with people, and that’s it.

    (That being said, I did do the 25 things meme thingy, but didn’t then send it on to 25 people. Although I do have a nagging feeling you might’ve been one of them…)

  2. Facebook private messaging seems to have replaced e-mail for a lot of people, so I’ve been sucked into it from that angle. Also, I’m getting more and more replies to my tweets on Facebook, as I’ve hooked Twitter up so that it auto-updates my FB status. And FB is also dead useful for “professional” networking – I’ve even done an interview via FB. As for the annoying applications, I find they’re much easier to tune out these days.

  3. Yes Lyle, this post is ALL YOUR FAULT!!

    And my point is that I don’t want to HAVE to poll out the shite. Why should *I* have to do that, I didn’t ask for any of it! (did I?? is the point then that, by signing up, I open myself to such things?).

    And mike, I disabled my Twitter updates on FaceBook precisely because I was getting replies via Twitter and replied on Facebook. Two places to check for the same thing? Doesn’t make sense.

    Never even considered FB to be ‘professional’, hmmmmmm more pondering required.

  4. Gawd, the polar-bear chucking phase was soooooo tedious wasn’t it? But the buying of virtual drinks, that always seemed to me to be even more idiotic.

    “So and so has bought you a double whisky”, the Facebook email would tell me.

    Quite frankly I’d rather the real thing.

  5. Fact is, while signing up for Facebook in particular *does* mean that you do (to some degree or other) acknowledge that you’re opening yourself up to FB Spam (sorry, applications)

    And as with Spam, that means you have to filter diamonds from shite on a manual basis. It sucks big-time, but them’s the breaks.

    My personal perspective is that Facebook is an invidious piece of crap that acts as a distraction to lots of people. I’m not trying to make out I’m above it (hell, I couldn’t, considering this was caused by me 🙂 ) but I don’t spam people with buttloads of ‘zombie attack’ requests, or whatever the feck the latest micro-craze is. Additionally, I do feel that a meme is slightly different in that it’s done by request, and doesn’t involve trying to find out who your friends/contacts/whatever are, or invading your FB page.

    Facebook’s the current cult space for all the additional guff that is supposedly “part and parcel” of the social networking thing. Before that it was MySpace, before that (among others) it was GeoCities etc. The thing with MySpace and FB is that they allow other people to add content to your page – and for that there’s two options (really four, but they usually only allow the two) :

    1) Just allow anyone/anything to add content to your profile page. Unacceptable to me (and to most people)
    2) Ask permission for anything to add content. Vaguely acceptable, even in terms of customisation.

    the other two options *should* be :
    2a) Allow a setting that just says “leave me the fuck alone. Don’t even bother asking”
    2b) Allow a setting that says “I don’t care, just add it all, you’ve got my permission”

    Both of which would make certain groups far, far happier.

  6. I’m someone else for whom the sole purpose of Facebook is: getting back in touch with old school acquaintances. But, to be honest, a lot of those don’t go beyond adding someone to my “Friends”, and that’s it.

    I am getting very good at ignoring Facebook requests for things, too. Not “pushing the ignore button” ignore, just, not paying any attention to them at all. I currently have well over 100 things on Facebook that claim to be waiting for my attention.

    As for chain letters: I used to get a hell of a lot of those by email in my last job. There were some idiot co-workers who would automatically forward any chain mail they got, even the “if you do not forward this then you will have bad luck for 20 years and 37.2 puppies will be killed” sort. Unfortunately they were smart enough not to just send them out to the “entire company” list; they sent them to everyone who wasn’t in a suitable position to give them a slapping.

  7. Thing is, these days: if I really want people to follow a link, then I know I’ll get more out-clicks if it appears on FB. Twitter comes second, my actual blog comes third, Tumblr comes fourth. That’s ‘cos there’s a whole bunch of people on my FB friends list with zero interest in Twitter, Troubled Diva or Tumblr – and weirdly (and perhaps unrepresentatively?) they’re in the majority.

  8. So very tempted to delete my Facebook account – especially since I’ve had a few people from my dim and distant past resurface. But every blue moon I check it and see what people have been doing and every other blue moon I update something. Fortunately I have managed to filter out the crap by not responding to anything and disabling the email notification.

    The other reason I’m not about to leave FB is because I can see future networking and marketing potential related to pretty much the same thing that Mike was talking about.

  9. i HATE facebook, i hate the fact that only the nerkiest people from “my past” have ever tried to find me, I hate the stupid applications, the stupid “arthur sent you a sausage/poked you/etc” the stupid photos of kittens, the AWFUL jokes people send, and i HATE the fact that it attracts complete techno-idiots who don’t have the slightest clue what else there is on the internet, and think they’re being clever and tech-savvy for using facebook and think that that’s what we’re ALL doing on the internet. … but like draconian one, I daren’t leave it.

    grrrr.

    (while we’re on this subject, gordon, do you have any thoughts on how to drop the hint to people who one knows in real life who send CONSTANT emails with terrible jokes and “i’m sending this to you because you’re my friend… value your friends” guff, cancer scares and really tacky pps of sunsets, to bloody well stop it?)

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