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Everyone else has more friends than me, AHHOoooooo
January 15, 2009 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Everyone else is on Facebook, why aren't you? Not knowing the rules is not an excuse.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (248 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
No! I will never join! My account will remain unlogged into and friendless in perpetuity.
posted by Justinian at 12:28 PM on January 15, 2009


Same here. MetaFilter takes up enough of my time, thank you very much.
posted by Johnny Porno at 12:29 PM on January 15, 2009


How come only faces have a book? Where's Assbook, Elbowbook, Kidneybook, Toebook?

Faceists!
posted by jonmc at 12:29 PM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm sending a friend request to everyone who comments in this thread.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:29 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Facebook is only a problem for people with friends.
posted by tommasz at 12:30 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love Facebook because I am a loudmouthed extrovert who wants, nay, demands that you are all aware of every detail of my entire life.

Oh, wait, gotta go, the poop is about to come out... *ungh*
posted by GuyZero at 12:32 PM on January 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


Does Facebook allow 'Enemies', as well as 'Friends?' Now that would make the place interesting.
posted by jonmc at 12:32 PM on January 15, 2009 [24 favorites]


Why does not wanting to join facebook mean I have an "attitude" or am "skeptical" of the service?

I already have an e-mail address, if someone wants to contact me, they e-mail me.
posted by odinsdream at 12:32 PM on January 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


What should you do when someone you don't like or don't know sends you a friend request? Most of you will hold your nose and accept the request.

Fuck that, I'd reject it and respond with an obfuscated link to meatspin.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:33 PM on January 15, 2009


Arsebook
posted by Grangousier at 12:34 PM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't have a cell phone, and I don't need one of these Facebooks either.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:34 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


robocop is bleeding is cheating at Word Twist.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:36 PM on January 15, 2009


is this something i'd need a text messaging machine to understand?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:36 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I found the comparison to cellphones interesting. I remember back in the Mesozoic when people still thought they were cool for not having one. I find I turn to Facebook almost as much as gmail to email people now, which is a little disturbing.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:36 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I only recognize one rule of Facebook. The One True Rule to Rule Them All. It's done wonders.
posted by studentbaker at 12:36 PM on January 15, 2009


I love Facebook because I am a loudmouthed extrovert who wants, nay, demands that you are all aware of every detail of my entire life.

No, that's Twitter you're thinking of.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:37 PM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


For a long while—from about the late '80s to the late-middle '90s, Wall Street to Jerry Maguire—carrying a mobile phone seemed like a haughty affectation.

IT STILL DOES, YOU ELECTRONICALLY-CHIRPING ASSHOLE
posted by Greg Nog at 12:37 PM on January 15, 2009 [16 favorites]


"Everyone else is on Facebook..."

That's why I'm not on Facebook. And why I never joined MySpace and whatever the previous cool internet based community before that was.

That, and I'm a privacy nut. I don't like the idea of having to use my real name for my account if don't want to, lest I face deletion. I'd rather use a screen name and share as much about myself as I care to (which would be very little).

I admit though, sometimes I feel the urge to look someone up that I used to know, but that is a rare urge and when I get it I can just log in via my fiancees profile.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:38 PM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


I thought you had to be under 21 for Facebook. You mean to tell me, I've been talking to kids.
posted by doctorschlock at 12:38 PM on January 15, 2009


I'm pretty sure my MeFite friends defriended me on facebook for a whopper.

:(
posted by piratebowling at 12:39 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Gah. I've had a Facebook account for several years and have only recently really used it. And that's only because my in-laws insist on using it to communicate. My daughter, otoh, lives on the thing.

I just don't get the appeal.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:41 PM on January 15, 2009


Cause I work for That Other One and I'm stubborn.
posted by flaterik at 12:42 PM on January 15, 2009


I admit though, sometimes I feel the urge to look someone up that I used to know, but that is a rare urge and when I get it I can just log in via my fiancees profile.

I know exactly what you mean. I am a vegan, except for the occasional prime rib I scarf down when my girlfriend orders them.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:43 PM on January 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Hey, I was just tweeting about this.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:44 PM on January 15, 2009


Every time I get on Facebook I feel like I'm ruining it for its original audience - i.e. college kids and teens. The fact that now *my* mother and her friends have joined just confirms for me that it's jumped a big old tank of sharks.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 12:44 PM on January 15, 2009


I joined, and looked up many of the people I used to know.

Then I remembered why I didn't know most of those people anymore, realized that those worth keeping in touch had kept in touch, and deleted my profile.
posted by Graygorey at 12:44 PM on January 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


I've lost touch with EXACTLY who I wanted to lose touch with. No need for someone from my Hebrew Day School finding me and wanting to be my "friend". Fuck Facebook.
posted by gman at 12:45 PM on January 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


I will not subject myself to the panopticonspiracy. Also, the thought of hobnobbing with people from high school makes me throw up in someone else's mouth, a lot.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:46 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


The fact that now *my* mother and her friends have joined just confirms for me that it's jumped a big old tank of sharks.

Only, I think, if you are using Facebook for some weird "to be cool" reason. For those who just use it to catch up with people, it's just another tool. I wouldn't stop emailing because my mum got a gmail account.
posted by gaspode at 12:47 PM on January 15, 2009 [13 favorites]


Obligatory warning on the dangers of linking your identity to minions of Satan Facebook: You too, may one day be an unperson.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:47 PM on January 15, 2009


I'm pretty sure my MeFite friends defriended me on facebook for a whopper.

That reminds me that I still need to do this.
posted by Stynxno at 12:47 PM on January 15, 2009


I felt a rather perverse tingle of pleasure when I defriended someone whom I had grown to hate because of their total assholishness. And I know that he knows, and hasn't had the balls to request refriending or mention it to me in real life. I also had a nice moment the other day when someone I haven't talked to in years friend-requested me, and I thought for a few minutes, "Well, should I or shouldn't I?" Then I realized, "I don't care about this person or have any desire to communicate with her or her friends, who are all douches. DENIED!"

Yes, I am a petty, petty man. Why do you ask?
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:50 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure my MeFite friends defriended me on facebook for a whopper.

Throw in fries and a vanilla shake and I'll defend your whole family.
posted by jonmc at 12:50 PM on January 15, 2009


The way Facebook commodifies human relationships (You have 344 friends!) and the amount of spammy commercialism is starting to feel really wrong to me.
I don't want to know about how so-and-so is 'now single', and I don't want to become a 'fan' of Carrot Top or Barack Obama.
I've been a member since 2004, back when you had to be an undergraduate to join- back when the site was so fresh, new, and simple.
Fuck, it's almost becoming as bad as Myspace- but then Myspace is always pushing the envelope of awful.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm actually quite enjoying my Facebook account and have gotten back in touch with folks I wanted to find. It's pretty cool!
posted by kalessin at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2009


"R. Mutt has just eaten his ice cream too fast .... ooooouuuuwuuwwwccccchhhh!"
posted by R. Mutt at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2009


Facebook Friend Apparently Dead
posted by ninjew at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2009


I didn't like Facebook until my husband joined. Now I always have to make sure I have more friends than him.
posted by desjardins at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


When I first started using it I didn't get it. Now I use Facebook constantly. In fact, 99% of my email consists of Facebook alerts telling me something has been updated. I should probably just have Facebook tell me when I get an email.

I don't mind using my real name there because I keep it separate from my "fake" internet life, so nobody can ever link the real me back to the me that frequents the furry forums.
posted by bondcliff at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I finally broke down and signed up late last year specifically so that I could gain access to a collection of a couple of hundred photos from co-workers at a previous job.

I briefly tried to get in the spirit of things and use some of the features that people around me assuredly indicated were both "awesome" and "something that I would totally use" and I quickly discovered that 1.) I think I hate Facebook, and 2.) people around me clearly have no clue what the fuck they are talking about.

I should have remember these facts from the myspace fiasco. Oh well, at least this time no one was critically wounded. Or, more accurately; this time it wasn't completely my fault.
posted by quin at 12:53 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, wait, this is Metafilter. What I meant to say was:

Why would I want to use Facebook? I just don't get the appeal. Is it just me or is Facebook really lame?
posted by bondcliff at 12:54 PM on January 15, 2009 [12 favorites]


I'm pretty sure my MeFite friends defriended me on facebook for a whopper.

Throw in fries and a vanilla shake and I'll defend your whole family.


Oh, defriended. For that, I'll have to demand some pie, too.
posted by jonmc at 12:54 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


too late now, stynxno, FB banned the BK app.

The best part of Facebook is sending friend requests to my teenage daughter, and watching her twitch in horror at even the prospect of her dad being part of her network. One day she left it open on our home PC and I changed her status to "appreciating all my Dad does for me each day." That was a hell of a blowup. Good times.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:55 PM on January 15, 2009 [96 favorites]


I love Facebook because I am a loudmouthed extrovert who wants, nay, demands that you are all aware of every detail of my entire life.

Oh, wait, gotta go, the poop is about to come out... *ungh*


That's not what Facebook is all about. I find Facebook to be an interesting and valuable tool for "networking" (I know some people think it's a stupid term, but whatever), and I don't really understand why people feel the need to purge "friends" (and then write articles about it).

To be fair, "networking" is a large component of my day job, and maintaining connections with folks from a wide geographic (or even global) area is important. Although I don't "friend" everyone I come into contact with, there is a core community of folks with whom I try to stay in touch with, but in a superficial way. I can find out if someone is hiring a developer, and I can find out if someone has left one company and has gone to another.

In terms of privacy, I generally try to limit what these superficial "friends" can see on my profile, so that I can maintain my professional image.

Facebook is also useful for staying in touch with friends from all over the globe. It makes it easier to meet up when they're in town, and to kick off conversations quickly when getting together.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:56 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


You are an evil, evil man stupidsexyFlanders.
posted by Weebot at 12:56 PM on January 15, 2009


Recently, I thought I'd give the Metafilter 'contacts' function a try, but it reminded me of Facebook way too much.
posted by gman at 12:56 PM on January 15, 2009


Does Slate or Manjoo have stock in Facebook because that was one hell of a sell line.
posted by jadepearl at 12:57 PM on January 15, 2009


The fact that now *my* mother and her friends have joined just confirms for me that it's jumped a big old tank of sharks.

That's been my experience too; it'll probably spell the death of Facebook, I think. It's quickly becoming not just an easy way to get/keep in touch with friends, but also an easy way for moms to keep an eye on their drunken fledglings. And really, once your number of "friends" reaches a certain threshold, it all becomes rather unwieldy.

I give it two years, tops.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:57 PM on January 15, 2009


No they killed the Whopper app. It violated FB TOS. I guess I'm not cool for knowing that, or maybe I am?
posted by fixedgear at 12:58 PM on January 15, 2009


Metafilter: Assbook, Elbowbook, Kidneybook, Toebook
posted by vibrotronica at 12:58 PM on January 15, 2009


Facebook is for suckers. Maybe I don't wanna connect with people from my past and I certainly have no desire to feel obligated to talk to people from the present if I don't want to, whether I like them or not. Maybe I have better things to do like sleep or bang my head against a wall.
posted by wherever, whatever at 1:01 PM on January 15, 2009


I'm always struck by how annoying the design and operation of Facebook is. I'm especially bugged by their ugly redesign that forces you to hide content under several tabs. And there's no way to control which friend's status updates you see more or less often. And if you declare yourself a "fan" of something, everyone in the world can see what it is--no privacy setting can hide these things. And etc.

Ugh. An annoyance around every facebook corner.
posted by washburn at 1:04 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Attention friends online: I am not on facebook because I am aware of history. I've signed up for Friendster, Orkut, Tribes, LinkedIn, Breedster, MySpace, Behance - etc, ad nauseum. I'm sorry. I won't be recommending anyone sign up for anything ever again.

If you'll observe there's a cycle that has happened before and will happen again. It goes a little something like the following.

Step 1) A new social network is invented. Chances are it fails. If it doesn't fail, likely it has some new feature or gimmick and a massive marketing budget.

Step 2) Young people, the young at heart and early adopters start signing on. Critical mass begins building. Many wasted hours are accumulated around the world as new profiles are set up and new connections and networks are built or rebuilt.

Step 3) The masses join. Your grandma is now on the social network service sending you forwarded lists about cats. Advertisers, spammers and viral marketers begin advertising through abuses of the system. Security flaws are discovered. Wasted hours accumulate even faster as a large percentage of the online population builds profiles and networks. The GDP of developed countries around the world takes a massive hit.

Step 4) Because of the spam and annoying noise from message forwarding as well as the massive popularity diluting anything unique about the service - service is no longer desirable to the early adopters. They flee, leaving only advertisers and the usually more normal and boring late adopters. The service begins to really suck.

Step 5) Begin again at step 1. A new service is discovered. Early adopters flock to it. Repeat from the beginning.


No. I'm not on Facebook. Just email me, will you? I've had my Gmail account for years and years and it's not going anywhere any time soon. I would still have my 10+ year old yahoo mail account but they didn't catch up to gmail in time, and I hated my username.

Also the primary reason for starting a social network service is to make money. Through advertising. Advertising that is targeted by collecting lots of data. About you. About your friends and family. About your life.

Do you really want a company like MySpace or Facebook collecting that much data about your life and then using it against you to make you feel inadequate to sell you things you don't need?

If you're interested - I'm currently calling for the beginning of the end of Facebook within a year of this date. If you'll observe you can see it hitting critical mass right now. A virus like the Koobface worm will likely help cause an exodus of the early adopters and smart core users. Next is the Next Big Thing, waiting in the wings somewhere. After that it's all over.

Remember Friendster. People bailed out of that site like it was a ship on fire. MySpace is currently going through a similar slow burn as people flock to Facebook.

What's next?

Please, just email me. Or call me. If you're that good of a friend you'll find me or I'll find you and it'll all be ok, ok? Ok.
posted by loquacious at 1:06 PM on January 15, 2009 [34 favorites]


I'm in the Yellow Pages, does that count?
posted by briank at 1:07 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Effigy2000, doesn't that mean people will just invade your privacy via your fiancee? You've posted your birthday here, your general location, and a blurry picture of yourself. If I really wanted to, I could find you and your fiancee (assuming I would put forth the effort to find someone on the other side of the world to prove a point). In short, you're the worst self-proclaimed privacy nut I've seen (not that I've seen many - probably because they're privacy nuts).

Facebook and MySpace can be simple tools, if you ignore the other features, just like gmail and cell phones. You can gchat with gmail and text on your cell phone. Or you can just send formal emails and make calls when you get lost on the way to a friend's house. They're only tools of the hipster devil if you use them as such. The hipster devil might tempt you with the possibility of updating your facebook tagline at every mundane change in your life, or drunk dialing your friends when you're only a little bit tipsy, but stay strong, and the tool will not own you. Heck, even your moms can use it. Maybe she'll find a nice birdwatching group to join. Just warn her of the hipster devil and all his wiles.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:08 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, they may have killed the BK app, but if anybody brings this crippled dude the following:


from Arby's: two Bacon, Beef & Cheddars, a Crispy Chicken Cordon Blue Sandwich, an order of Southwest Mini Egg Rolls, an order of Loaded Potato Bites, an order of Jalapeno Bites, and a Jamoca Shake.

plus a six-pak of Bud Tallboys, a liter of Coca-Cola and a two bottles of Lagunitas Cappucino Stout,

I'll add you to my ColonBook.

(really, I'm hungry and lonely)
posted by jonmc at 1:09 PM on January 15, 2009


Is this something I'd have to have a computer, and friends to care about?

See, I have neither, and that's why I'm cool as fuck.
posted by kcds at 1:09 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can find out if someone is hiring a developer, and I can find out if someone has left one company and has gone to another.

LinkedIn. Fewer photos of people being drunk at frat parties. More actual professional networking.
posted by GuyZero at 1:09 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I really wanted to, I could find you and your fiancee (assuming I would put forth the effort to find someone on the other side of the world to prove a point)

Effigy2000's roughly in my corner of the world. I'll sign on to help you track him down, as long as I can claim 50% of his collection of cricketing memorabilia after we kill him he departs for a labour beautification camp in the countryside, never to be seen again.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:12 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm on Facebook, but not by choice. I tried it out, didn't like it, then discovered it's impossible to delete your account. Nice. I quit because it was a stupid waste of my time and the company is ethically challenged; the Beacon business was the last straw.
posted by Nelson at 1:14 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


During periods where I was doing the dating thing, without fail, one of the first topics of conversation on the first date with a new girl would be, "So, I couldn't find you on facebook..."

And then I would have to explain that, no, I was not on facebook. This was usually met with blank stares - "You're not... what? What do you mean you're not on facebook? I don't understand!"

Anyway, it's become such a unique identifier of me - I'm now known by many, many people as "that guy that's not on facebook" - that, even if I wanted to, I don't think I could actually join it at this point.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:16 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I was on Facebook I wouldn't be able to filter those people out of my life who are too lazy to send me an email or call me when they want to do something.
posted by chunking express at 1:18 PM on January 15, 2009


I can find out if someone is hiring a developer, and I can find out if someone has left one company and has gone to another.

LinkedIn. Fewer photos of people being drunk at frat parties. More actual professional networking.


I'm on LinkedIn as well, with only about 1/3 the amount of "friends" or contacts that I do on Facebook, and I find that LinkedIn is not as dynamic or interesting as Facebook. There are fewer conversations or interactions, if any, probably because

a) LinkedIn, as a forum designed for professionals, is more conservative
b) Fewer people in my network use LinkedIn - Canada has a relatively low LinkedIn penetration rate, compared to a relatively high (higher as a percentage of population than the US) Facebook participation rate
posted by KokuRyu at 1:18 PM on January 15, 2009


The key to facebook is having a couple identities, each one similar but not too. You give out different variations of your name to different people, for profile photo, you make sure you are behind a cocktail glass or standing in a group of people and turning away.

When you think you have enough identities, you can start taking over little areas at a time. Maybe you wrest control of the Ole Miss. Alumni group or the Friends Country Day School Concerned About The Environment, and you pit your group against other groups. Over time, your groups grow and you start to monopolize huge tracts, your influence grows and then one day ...profit! oops! Said too much
posted by From Bklyn at 1:19 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Do you really want a company like MySpace or Facebook collecting that much data about your life and then using it against you to make you feel inadequate to sell you things you don't need?

I am beginning to agree with you here. For the life of me I cannot figure out what I wrote or said or did that would make FB continually bombard me with ads featuring men shaving their chests.
posted by resurrexit at 1:19 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


ricochet biscuit: "I know exactly what you mean. I am a vegan, except for the occasional prime rib I scarf down when my girlfriend orders them."

You can be a vegan and still appreciate the use that meat has to some people, despite the fact the meat totally disgusts you, I'm sure.

filthy light thief: "Effigy2000, doesn't that mean people will just invade your privacy via your fiancee?"

The answer to that question is yes. Yes it does. And don't think I haven't said as much to her. But what can I do? She's a grown woman who has the right to do as she pleases. All I can do is ask that she try and not give away too much about me, which, to her credit, she tries to do.

filthy light thief: "You've posted your birthday here, your general location, and a blurry picture of yourself. If I really wanted to, I could find you and your fiancee (assuming I would put forth the effort to find someone on the other side of the world to prove a point). In short, you're the worst self-proclaimed privacy nut I've seen (not that I've seen many - probably because they're privacy nuts)."

As I said in my original comment, my problem with Facebook is that it forces me to use my real name in my profile. Anyone who has tried to use a screen name gets deleted. Here on Metafilter I get to use a screen name and share what little I decide to share with a community I generally trust. If Facebook allowed me to use a screen name and was a community I trusted even one iota (and by that token was owned by someone I trusted one iota) I might have a Facebook profile. But I don't. And now you know why.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:19 PM on January 15, 2009


So weird how 10 years ago, anyone using a computer to socialize was assumed to be friendless. Now, anyone NOT using a computer to socialize is considered friendless.
posted by naju at 1:20 PM on January 15, 2009 [22 favorites]


loquacious: If you'll observe there's a cycle that has happened before and will happen again.

This reminds me of how gentrification works.
posted by desjardins at 1:22 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'll admit it: I used Facebook to laugh at old classmates' wedding photos. Some girl's poor bridesmaids wore Pepto Pink with Dimetapp Purple sashes.

(I fully intend to post my wedding pictures so my "friends" can laugh at me)
posted by giraffe at 1:23 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


This reminds me... does anyone remember those "Metafilter stalker" posts/comments where someone would dig through people's posting histories here to dig up info on them?
posted by backseatpilot at 1:25 PM on January 15, 2009


Wait a minute...

✔ hard to find
✔ Privacy Nut
✔ "Effigy" of the year 2000 (as in right before 9-11!)
✔ Hates our freedoms

ITS OSAMA YOU GUYS LETS GET HIM
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:26 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Cardboard is watching people on Metafilter tell the internet to GET OFF THEIR LAWN.
posted by cardboard at 1:27 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am on it, but I devote about 20 mins of attention to it a month. It's not very interesting.

What are these "friends" everyone is talking about?
posted by everichon at 1:28 PM on January 15, 2009


I'll pay, just bring it to me.

*looks pathetic*
*allows you to put his pathetic face in your Facebook*
posted by jonmc at 1:28 PM on January 15, 2009


If I was on Facebook I wouldn't be able to filter those people out of my life who are too lazy to send me an email or call me engraved invitation when they want to do something.

I'm sure you're wonderful, but no one's that special. I don't understand why the mode of communication is so vitally important when what the person wants to do is spend time with you. The pixels that make up a wall post on Facebook are the same pixels that make up your email. We used to mail paper invitations to parties; now e-vites are de rigeur. What difference does it make in the end?
posted by desjardins at 1:28 PM on January 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Put me in the "no thank you" camp. I too am a privacy freak and really, if I haven't talked to you in years, there's probably a reason for it.

Plus, I don't know, but it feels like high school and all the accompanying drama: Who is friends with who? Who didn't accept my invite? Why did they de-friend me? Should I accept their invite? What if I don't? Also how people feel the need to have high numbers of friends and brag on that.
Bah.
I'm for quality over quantity, and quality of friendships includes actually talking to people, but that's just me.
posted by NoraCharles at 1:29 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


jonmc, you'd dare place an Arby's order without curly fries? The shame!!!

The only Arby's within 50 miles of me JUST reopened. It's been non-stop Jamocha madness in the SpiffyApartment.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:29 PM on January 15, 2009


What difference does it make in the end?

Maybe I phrased it poorly. I just don't feel compelled to hang out with someone who requires I join some website to keep in touch. And I don't want Facebook to be the arbiter of my social life.

There is all sorts of other stupidness associated with Facebook. The company is creepy. There is all this highschool drama that comes with friending and not friending people. Really, the whole idea of a social networking site seems broken. I'm not in grade 2 anymore. People are more to me than "friends" or "not friends".
posted by chunking express at 1:35 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


My favorite facebook rule is you have to have a facebook account to apply for a job at facebook. Apparently, it's IMPOSSIBLE to substantively contribute to their efforts, otherwise.

Also: don't ask them what's keeping them from being the next friendster. They really, really don't like that question.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 1:35 PM on January 15, 2009


The jalapeno bites are better dude. Also, lots of Horsey Sauce please.

*cries*
posted by jonmc at 1:36 PM on January 15, 2009


I only use Facebook because Cortex added me as a friend. Now he's just one of a small handful of people I'm connected to on Facebook who don't appear to know anyone else I know.
posted by emelenjr at 1:36 PM on January 15, 2009


I signed up for facebook after caving to the peer pressure. Neat at first, graffitti app is cool.

Now I ignore any requests for anything, except for some friend requests, never initiate any requests, and generally ignore my inbox.

What annoys me is event invites. I mean, I'll get an invite to something through facebook, but there's no other mention of it at all. No phone call, email, word passed from another friend, etc.

So what, if I don't check facebook I'll miss an friends birthday party (note, not a problem with close friends, just with the less-than-close-but-more-than-an-acquaintance friends)? That's kind of bs.

I think the main reason I even still check it is because it is where my friends post their pictures.
posted by utsutsu at 1:40 PM on January 15, 2009


I'm sure you're wonderful, but no one's that special. I don't understand why the mode of communication is so vitally important when what the person wants to do is spend time with you.

This argument is pointless because it goes both ways. Why is someone so special that I need to sign up for an account with my real name, waive lots of privacy rights, be advertised to, and maintain an account just for them to send me a message?

Sorry, but this is back-fucking-asswards. No one is that special. The "engraved invitation" is Facebook, not the plain old email.

Oh, hey, look! Someone found my email and emailed me! Gmail even automatically added the contact! Hey, I can even IM them in gmail! And video and voice chat!


Outside of advertising and datamining the main problem with these social networking sites is that they're not open. You can't export your comments, your contacts, your profile and take it to another service. When the service fails, so does all the work you invest in building your network.

This is no longer acceptable. Fuck Facebook. Fuck MySpace. Fuck all of the closed-loop social networking sites that don't exist to provide a service at all, but to collect user data for the purposes of marketing and datamining.
posted by loquacious at 1:40 PM on January 15, 2009 [22 favorites]


I'm seriously wondering how long until the "kiddies", lowlifes, and spammers from MySpace start taking over Facebook and turning it into a cesspool or a 4chan circus. I don't want to be a gated community type Internet denizen, but I don't want to invest myself in Facebook if that's coming. With sites like MetaFilter, $5 and "one notch above" discussion quality tends to keep the riffraff out. Facebook, there's no controls to keep 'em out.
posted by crapmatic at 1:41 PM on January 15, 2009


While I don't feel very strongly about FB one way or the other, I find the Slate piece urging me to get over myself, comparing me to an Onion parody, and generally asking that I not be a barnacle on the wheels of progress to be annoying.

Piss off, Farhad Manjoo.
posted by everichon at 1:42 PM on January 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Will being a member of Facebook make me cool? Will it make my ass look big? Will my e-mail
account assplode with spam afterwards? Will a salesperson call me on the phone?
posted by doctorschlock at 1:45 PM on January 15, 2009


I enjoy facebook quite a bit. It's one of the easiest things to do to annoy quite a few people here on metafilter.
posted by Stynxno at 1:45 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


As I said in my original comment, my problem with Facebook is that it forces me to use my real name in my profile. Anyone who has tried to use a screen name gets deleted.

I have the same problem. I'm still on Facebook, but this bugs me quite a bit, and it makes me far, far more cagey with friends requests and personal info than I'd like to be.

Yet of the many concerns about Facebook, Koppelman's is the most easily addressed. Last year, the site added a series of fine-grained privacy controls that let you choose which friends see what information about you. Your college friends can see one version of your profile, your high-school friends another, and your family yet another; if you want, you can let everyone see essentially nothing about you.

The problem I have with this is that I'm not convinced they always work.

I'm not kidding: I have tried to segregate my status updates by friend groups and the status updates apparently went out to everybody regardless.

If you rely on the privacy controls, you're relying on the quality of Facebook's implementation to protect you from embarrassment or worse , and I don't see much reason to trust them yet. Worse, you are quite possibly relying on the quality of the code from third parties who are writing their SuperAwesomeQuizApp. Yeah.

It really only makes sense to be pretty cautious with what you put on Facebook, possibly more so than the rest of the internet. And if you're actually paranoid, it makes a certain amount of sense not to bother with the site at all.
posted by namespan at 1:46 PM on January 15, 2009


*pokes Stynxno*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:46 PM on January 15, 2009


I found it pointless at first, but as the ranks of people on there who I actually know swelled, I've found it really quite good. There's a lot of crap on there - but there's a lot of crap on the internet, as well. You don't have to indulge in it. I've found at least a dozen real old friends who I would have had no idea how to contact again if it weren't for Facebook. Using real names is what makes this work so well.

So, right now I'm sucking it up and saying sure, I get a bit fucking sick of being invited to be a zombie, but the site does have real utility.
posted by Jimbob at 1:48 PM on January 15, 2009


I'm on FB, (and may be a member of the Metafilter Group - I just don't remember), but it was immediately stripped of its coolness when my mother opened an account.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 1:50 PM on January 15, 2009


I wonder what Facebook is doing to marriages, now that everyone is "Friends" with and constantly exposed to new pictures and insights into the life of every ex-boyfriend or girlfriend with whom they remain civil?
posted by autodidact at 1:50 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


... and every person they ever fucked whose name they can remember...
posted by autodidact at 1:51 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I enjoy facebook quite a bit. It's one of the easiest things to do to annoy quite a few people here on metafilter.

Actually, it's your comments on metafilter that annoy the people on metafilter. If you just stuck to enjoying facebook people here wouldn't be annoyed at all. Pleased is much more probable reaction, really.


MetaFilter: Tools of the Hipster Devils.
posted by loquacious at 1:51 PM on January 15, 2009


I avoid it - I hate the idea of having to quantify my relationships to people - there are lots of people who I wouldn't want to know anything about my life, but I also don't want to tell them this in any way so clearly as denying their friend request. Also, I like privacy, and don't want to be datamined.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:55 PM on January 15, 2009


No Facebook for me, thanks. I saw what's happening with Friendster and Myspace and I'm just waiting for the Next Big Thing.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:56 PM on January 15, 2009


I won't join Facebook until there is a Facebook group to join called "People Who Refuse to Join Facebook".
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:57 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


The jalapeno bites are better dude. Also, lots of Horsey Sauce please.

Here's the thing: Within the spectrum of jalapeño bites/poppers, the Arby's ones, while delicious, are probably in the top 10% or so. The curly fries, on the other hand, are, in my mind, the single greatest version of that foodstuff I have ever encountered. Unbelievable that a second-tier fast food place can so consistently delivery such bliss.

But I'm with you on the rest of it, and if I weren't a thousand miles away, I'd happily supply you with what you require.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:57 PM on January 15, 2009


I first got roped in this summer when one of my close friends was trying to think of a way to cheer me up after I had been dumped, and he thought "oh, she'll start reconnecting with all these people she hasn't seen in years and it'll give her ego a boost and it'll be good, yay!" And he was right about that -- within the first two days I'd heard from a couple of fairly decent acquaintances I had had in high school and we'd traded little "so how're things" emails and it was kind of cool.

This same close friend was also the person who first sent me my first "superpoke/you're a vampire/snowball/garden/whatever-the-doomaflagee" request, and I wasn't sure how to handle that so I ignored it for a long time.

Then I started getting more friend requests, most from other people in high school, and that was also kind of cool. And other people I know today, and that was also cool.

Then I started getting a couple requests from people I DIDN'T know. I'd see that my good friend was also in their network, so I'd ask him "Who's this guy?" And my friend would reply, "I don't know either, maybe he's someone who knows our theater company." I decided...not to friend people back unless I'd met them personally.

Then I started getting friend requests from people I knew in high school but didn't like. And I decided that I would ignore them too. I admit that one particularly persistent person rerequested so many times it drove me to a moment of weakness that made me go crawling to the green, but everyone there promptly snapped me out of it.

Today, I've received two friend requests from "frenemies" -- one of which is a re-request from someone whom I ignored first time around -- and a friend request from someone I think I maybe know vaguely from online, maybe, but that's it. Largely, these days, I use facebook only to look at annoying pictures people have taken from high school.

I'm not sure whether this is what my good friend originally had in mind when he recommended I sign up...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:58 PM on January 15, 2009


I won't join Facebook until there is a Facebook group to join called "People Who Refuse to Join Facebook".

Good plan. Fair warning, there's already a group of people who hate you:

I hate people who refuse to join facebook and think they are cool cuz of it.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:00 PM on January 15, 2009


Why am I not on Facebook? I dunno.
Because the last time "Everyone else is..." persuaded me to do anything was back when I was a sperm?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:00 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here's the thing: Within the spectrum of jalapeño bites/poppers, the Arby's ones, while delicious, are probably in the top 10% or so. The curly fries, on the other hand, are, in my mind, the single greatest version of that foodstuff I have ever encountered.

They are good, no doubt, but curly fries at the end of the day are inferior to the fries from here which are the best fries in the franchised universe.
posted by jonmc at 2:00 PM on January 15, 2009


I recently moved from San Diego to the Bay Area to be closer to my wife's family. They're great people and all, but they're the ONLY PEOPLE I know up here. It's been lonely to say the least.

Facebook has saved my sanity while I've been up here. I've kept track of and in touch with my San Diego friends. By just glancing at my news feed and seeing what they're up to, I feel in the loop - something that would otherwise require 15+ phone calls.

I've also "reconnected" with old friends who wound up in the Bay Area. People from high school who I knew (or kinda knew) who are only too happy to help a fellow Southern Californian get acclimated.

Like people said above - it's a tool, and can be quite handy when used the right way.
posted by mdaugherty82 at 2:03 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Anyone who has tried to use a screen name gets deleted.

Effigy2000, I'd agree with you if you were right. I have maybe 200 friends on the site and at least half a dozen of them are under some name other than the one they use day to day. (Bafflingly, one guy I asked about it trotted out the old excuse that he "didn't want people from primary school bugging him." This struck me as strange because he had changed his very common first name and kept his highly unusual surname intact, which is I am sure is exactly what people looking for him would use.)

In any event, there seem to be no shortage of people named Buffy Summers, Jack Bauer, or Hugh G. Rection on Facebook.

So without trying to sound like a shill, I find it works fine for what I use it for: keeping in touch with my circle of actual friends (currently resident on every continent save Antarctica) and once in a while seeing vacation photos or announcements of nuptials or whatever from the dozens of acquaintances, former classmates, widely-scattered co-workers I also have on the site. And of course, playing Scrabulous/Lexulous/whatever it may be.

I have never quite cottoned onto the basic horror that so many critics seem to have of people from their past getting in touch with them. Anecdote ahead: About a year ago my former boss from my campus job in first-year university spotted my name and dropped me a friend request. The catch-up e-mail led to a drink the next time we were both in the same city and now we have been quite happily going out for most of a year.

To my mind, it takes a pretty damaged person to say "I have enough human contact in my life already."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:06 PM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


I appreciate everybody's reasons for not joining facebook, but I can't imagine the crushing boredom that I would have to face everyday at work if I didn't have facebook (and metafilter). I would probably have to actually, you know, work and that's just not something I want to commit to just yet.
posted by kerning at 2:07 PM on January 15, 2009


Whoops, spoke too soon. Time to sign up, mcstayinskool:

I Refuse to Join Facebook.

I'll let you slide because you were looking for "people who" instead of "I."
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:08 PM on January 15, 2009


I have enough human contact in my life already.
posted by everichon at 2:10 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would like to apologize to Metafilter for having funny and interesting friends who make Facebook enjoyable to use.
posted by The Straightener at 2:11 PM on January 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


Autodidact makes a good point there. I used to have myspace and friendster accounts, but at some point a few months ago I realized I was only ever logging in to check out my ex-girlfriend's profile to see if she'd logged in, if she'd changed status, pics posted (did I take that one? no? SHIT!!) and so on. That was it for me. I pulled the plug on myspace and frienster and have not opened up a Facebook account.
posted by ben242 at 2:14 PM on January 15, 2009


I wish to apologize to Facebook for not having any friends who use Facebook.
posted by aramaic at 2:17 PM on January 15, 2009


I have an account that I opened over a year ago for reasons I can no longer remember. I didn't use it at all because I didn't understand the interface or the need for it. Lately I've been getting a lot of friend requests from it, so I just confirm that I know the person and then get the hell out, because I still don't like or understand the interface.

I mean, what the hell is a "wall"? Why do I have one? Why do people "write" on it? Does it have something to do with the fall of Babylon? Or maybe Paul Simon, or something? I don't have time for that shit.
posted by trip and a half at 2:18 PM on January 15, 2009


I had this theory of only befriending people I considered Actual Friends. Anyone who was an asshole back in college or high school, I would ignore. Simple. I mean, I haven't seen these people in at least six years. Who cares if I ignore them?

So this guy friends me one day, and I make it a point to ignore the request, and loudly proclaim to others (those who are avoiding Facebook to for this reason), "See how easy that is?! I am an example unto others. BEHOLD!"

A week later -and I mean no more than seven days later- I walk into my favorite burrito joint, and guess who shows his visage for the first time in six years? Yup. Dude-I-Made-An-Explicit-Point-To-Ignore. The one and only. We make brief small talk, but the only thing I could think about was my failed Theory and how Some One must be smiting me.

A couple weeks later, Dude-I-Made-An-Explicit-Point-To-Ignore resent the request, and I obliged. In the end, it's not a big deal. It's not like we're actual friends.
posted by yeti at 2:18 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


What loquacious, everichon and NoraCharles said. As I tried to explain to a rabid FB'er friend of mine the other day... "I was one of those people who was networking online and meeting others and connecting with old friends back when the rest of you thought the internet was still for government dweebs or panty-sniffing deviants. I'm glad y'all finally figured out that there are fun ways to use your computer to connect with others... but there's no zealot like a convert, huh?"

I have a question for you FB'ers -- as a user group, not accusing any of you personally -- and I mean it with 100% sincerity, not just snark:

Why do y'all care?


I have noticed among my RL friends who are active on FB a growing need to both defend their own participation ("because it's the new must-have like a cell phone!!!!!!" No, it's actually not. See also: Friendster.), and to try and denigrate anyone who has chosen not to join FB (much like the Salon article). People actually ask me for specific reasons why I'm not on FB, and then try to argue those points with me.

I'm no psychologist, but when I've seen this similar behavior in past situations in my life, it was inevitably a peer-pressure effort because the person felt icky about his or her own choice and was trying to drag me down with them. I mean... people who don't enjoy the Facebook interaction are "damaged"? People who stay off FB must not have enough friends that are funny and interesting?

Really?

At its start, FB was an app for children, and the grownups were intentionally excluded. The application was never intended for me, until such time as some people wanted to make insane cash off it. Why on earth should I feel like I am missing something? I'm all for social networking, but I do and have always done that in places that it works for me, and Facebook simply isn't one of them -- not for the least reason of which is that I think the founder is a shitbag.

And it's not just the creepy founder, the shitty interface and 7th-grade social drivers of the site... through a Google-connected pal I was able to join Orkut early too, and after a while I quit it because it added no value to my life.

But why does anyone care?

Because, truly, this whole "You're on Facebook, right? Wait... WHY NOT???" is starting to baffle me. I personally think that professionals who want to network professionally should be on LinkedIn... but when I find that they aren't, I don't try to make them feel like a Luddite or a basement-dweller over it. I personally feel like people who still use Yahoo or Hotmail instead of Gmail are risk-averse, and I also assume that those people are latecomers to the internet, the kind who are not likely to have heard of MetaFilter, Gawker, Digg, Kottke, or any other sites that are household names to people who met the internet before 2005 -- but I keep that to myself because if I judge someone aloud based on what internet tools they use or don't, then I'm the shitbag.

I guess my point is that people who elect not to be on Facebook don't seem to be bothered by it nearly as much as the people who have. Methinks they doth protest too much.
posted by pineapple at 2:18 PM on January 15, 2009 [17 favorites]


I'd like to apologize to my books for getting ShitFaced.

(actually, wouldn't ShitFaced be a great online social resource for binge drinkers? Niche market alert, yo!)
posted by jonmc at 2:19 PM on January 15, 2009


inferior to the fries from here

Hell, I'll drink to that. I miss Nathan's. Chicago-area hot dog stands actually churn out some really kickass fries (Weiner and Still Champion, Hot Doug's, etc.) but the dogs... ugh, I've been down that road before.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:19 PM on January 15, 2009


I'm only commenting so people will add me.
posted by hermitosis at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2009


Actually, the best non-franchised fries I've ever had, were at this fancy-assed place. Fucking delicious.
posted by jonmc at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2009


I'm really perplexed by the idea that Facebook is a burden. Ignore the friend (or join) requests from people (or apps) you don't know or like, keep your privacy level set high, and check in as often as you care to. I like being able to stumble on an acquaintance's pictures of his trip to Egypt, engage in a meandering conversation about recent doings with a couple of far-flung friends for whom calling would be prohibitive, or see notices for local events I wouldn't otherwise have heard about. It's a big deal only if you let it be.
posted by kittyprecious at 2:29 PM on January 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


Is there a big push for new members or something? Facebook has been around for awhile now, but it seems like I've had a large number of invites in the last 30 days or so. It honestly hadn't occurred to me to join (or formulate a reason for not joining.) I had no idea this made me anti-social what have you, I just figured I was too busy to play with yet another social networking thingy.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:30 PM on January 15, 2009


Duck fat fries, I take it?
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:30 PM on January 15, 2009


realized that those worth keeping in touch had kept in touch

Then you're better than I am at keeping in touch. Out of my high school graduating class (coming up on our 20-year reunion) of ~150, there are maybe 7 people that I'd want to keep in touch with. I'd lost touch with all of them until I joined Facebook about 6 months ago, and now I've reconnected with 3 of those.

Anyone who has tried to use a screen name gets deleted.

Not true. It's just that you only hear about the ones that are deleted, because the people who are using fake names but aren't getting deleted aren't broadcasting that fact to the world. I have at least two friends who use fake names on Facebook—they're not obviously fake at a glance, but if you spent 30 seconds researching the name (or, in one case, if you were a fan of a certain TV show) you'd discover they were fake. But these two aren't deleted. It's not like Facebook is rigorously checking every account.

There is all this highschool drama that comes with friending and not friending people.

Yes, if you're either a) one of the people who engages in such drama, or b) one of the people who perceives drama at every turn. Since I don't belong to either of these groups, I take about half a second to decide whether to friend someone or not when I get a request, and move on. No drama involved.

And on the subject of fries, will someone explain to me what the appeal of "fresh-cut fries" is? The small high-end burger joints always seem to advertise these as if they were an attraction, but whenever I've had them they always came across as a bit limp to me. I prefer fries from the big-chain fast food places (yes, especially Arby's) which are more crisp than "fresh-cut fries," which I'm guessing may be due to the fact that the fries at the megachains go directly from freezer to fryer.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:36 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does Facebook allow 'Enemies', as well as 'Friends?' Now that would make the place interesting.

It doesn't have to. Social networks are a bully's dream. Anecdota proof: My friend's a headmaster, and says he's not had a case of bullying this year that hasn't had a social network element. In this case it's Bebo, the uk tween's network of choice, but still.
posted by bonaldi at 2:41 PM on January 15, 2009


UbuRoivas, you can claim all the cricketing memorabilia. I call dibs on the music-related items, and I'll split his collection of retro postcards from South America.

Effigy2000 - I understand, and I know MeFi is generally a more trusted place, but you can buy into that trust for $5 USD. And if you use the same username on various sites, ties can be drawn and people can become less anonymous (for better or worse). I've come to accept that my name and personal information is floating out there, with everyone else's info, too. I like social interaction too much to become a hermit.

I'm not fond of tossing my name around, but Facebook is weird about their name-checking. There are some single-word "names" I know of on Facebook, but they're mostly dormant profiles. Otherwise, make up something name-like, and you're in. Except there was that whole Facebook/Beacon thing. And the million of dumb add-on application-things that clutter the interface and interaction to no end.

To pineapple: I'll second kittyprecious - it's kind of fun to find friends I've lost track of over the years (I'm absolute shiite about keeping up contacts with people, mostly for lack of trying, and not because I'm anti-social), but I can live without it all. For me, it's a blend of gimmick and tool. More useful than those lollipop spinners, but more interesting than just an email contact list. I tried orkut, but it never went anywhere for me. Maybe once I learn Portuguese, it'll be more interesting. And when Facebook dies, hopefully I'll contact people I care about and get their latest points of contact.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:44 PM on January 15, 2009


At its start, FB was an app for children, and the grownups were intentionally excluded

At its start, Facebook was an app for college students, most of whom are adults.

Now what were you saying about needlessly denigrating people?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:46 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is there a big push for new members or something?... I've had a large number of invites in the last 30 days or so.

In the last two days, out of nowhere, I've gotten about a dozen emails from people (who I know) saying they've "added me as a friend." As a confused elderly person, I must ask, can someone become your Facebook friend if you're not even a member? (I'm not, for many of the reasons named above.) Or is that just how they phrase the invitations to join?

(I checked using an actual friend's Facebook account, and was surprised there were four people signed up with my exact (not that common) name, but none of them is me. And, on cursory notice, none of the other four seem to have the people who emailed me now attached to them instead.)
posted by LeLiLo at 2:58 PM on January 15, 2009


"Effigy2000's roughly in my corner of the world. I'll sign on to help you track him down, as long as I can claim 50% of his collection of cricketing memorabilia after we kill him he departs for a labour beautification camp in the countryside, never to be seen again."
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:12 AM on January 16

Cricketing memorabilia owned by me = nil. I only mention this because I like you Ubu, and am afraid you'll get shafted if these are the terms of your gentleman's agreement.

"Effigy2000, I'd agree with you if you were right. I have maybe 200 friends on the site and at least half a dozen of them are under some name other than the one they use day to day. (Bafflingly, one guy I asked about it trotted out the old excuse that he "didn't want people from primary school bugging him." This struck me as strange because he had changed his very common first name and kept his highly unusual surname intact, which is I am sure is exactly what people looking for him would use.) In any event, there seem to be no shortage of people named Buffy Summers, Jack Bauer, or Hugh G. Rection on Facebook."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:06 AM on January 16

Perhaps, but the official Facebook policy, as I understand it based on these two AskMe questions, is that you have to use your real name. If Facebook finds out you haven't, and as the AskMe questions I linked to proves that sometimes they do (or at least that they're actively on the lookout for fake names), you're a candidate for deletion.

Thinking about it now, this insane enforcement for real names on the internet, a place where screen names are pretty much the norm, seems kind of creepy from a privacy perspective. Why do they insist that you use a real name? What do they have to lose from someone having a fake name? Just sayin'...

"Effigy2000 - I understand, and I know MeFi is generally a more trusted place, but you can buy into that trust for $5 USD. And if you use the same username on various sites, ties can be drawn and people can become less anonymous (for better or worse)."
posted by filthy light thief at 8:39 AM on January 16

How much does it cost to join Facebook? Free, you say? The fact that you need to spend actual money here to become one of us makes this place instantly more trustworthy than a place where it's come one, come all.

That plus Matt, Jessamyn, cortex, pb and vacapinta have done such a good job moderating this place. That helps with trust as well.

"I've come to accept that my name and personal information is floating out there, with everyone else's info, too. I like social interactions too much to become a hermit.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:39 AM on January 16

Clearly this is where you and I differ. You've come to accept it... I try to fight it and only allow it to as much of an extent as I feel comfortable with it.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:00 PM on January 15, 2009


I enjoy facebook, but I use it to kinda keep mild tabs on people I like but who I wouldn't think of calling once a month or whatever. Many of them live interesting lives, and it's fun to see what they're up to.
posted by maxwelton at 3:04 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


filthy light thief: I get that... but that's an answer to "why do you use Facebook?" And I understand those parts. The pics, the comments, the silliness, the finding old friends* -- I understand why people who want to be on Facebook, are on Facebook.

What I would like to understand is why people who want to be on Facebook seem so very threatened by people who don't want to be on Facebook.

It's starting to seem to me, though, like the issue is, at its core, an "either/or" situation. Statements like "I like social interactions too much to become a hermit" suggest that a lot of people truly believe that there simply is no other way to socially interact. If I'm not on Facebook, I'm a hermit? The mind boggles.

* which isn't some groundbreaking new feature. Classmates.com has been around for 5+ years.
posted by pineapple at 3:08 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I would like to understand is why people who want to be on Facebook seem so very threatened by people who don't want to be on Facebook.

Confirmation bias on your part. You don't hear from all the people who just don't care.

I'm on Facebook and I don't care if you are or not.
posted by desjardins at 3:14 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have nothing serious against Facebook except for the fact that I can't understand it. The interface makes no sense; I can never find this Wall of which they speak in their all too frequent emails; my friends post dumb videos there that I never see and then oh god, if I click on one of those damn flowers the deluge begins and my whole computer is tied up. It ate half my pictures; the only things I get invited to are fundraisers and I don't have any money. People I don't know and never have even met want to be my friend; I'm too shy to try to friend the guy I had a crush on in high school; I feel guilty about not supporting the dolphins more and I have all the punk rock I need.

Plus, anyone who wants to know where I am or what I'm doing can follow my blog or twitter or flickr and all in all, Facebook seems like a duplication of effort to me. So I just put those links up on my Facebook page and assume that anyone who is interested enough will follow them and I click on nothing now but friend requests. But there you go, I'm on it because it just seemed inescapable and yes, I've found some people from my past that I'd lost and that's been nice. We email now.
posted by mygothlaundry at 3:15 PM on January 15, 2009


I finally gave in to the peer pressure and joined Facebook about 6 months ago. I've found it very useful, as much as I ragged on it previously, because I travel frequently and also have a tendency to lose my phone.

A good portion of my friends still refuse to join, though, and they seem to manage just fine, socially. I wish less people would join Facebook, actually. Like my mom.
posted by jnaps at 3:23 PM on January 15, 2009


It definitely feels like there's some kind of "why aren't you on it" recruitment drive going on... I've been asked that in real life this week too.

I think one reason for misunderstanding is that the arguments that are being used for joining ("OMG your entire social life and career are crippled without it") are for me arguments against joining. I don't want my social life and career to depend on a closed network owned by a single, foreign corporation that can delete me at a whim.

Cellphones are not the same. The only information I share is my number. I can choose from multiple providers, and talk to people from other providers. I can talk to people on the new cellphone network from the old landline network. Facebook is more like cellphones would be if there was only one cellphone company, and landlines couldn't call you, and the contract let them cancel your phone number and erase your contacts if you said anything they didn't like.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:24 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


* which isn't some groundbreaking new feature. Classmates.com has been around for 5+ years.

And has sucked ass for 5+ years. It's useless.
posted by fixedgear at 3:32 PM on January 15, 2009


OK wait, for people who complain about Facebook and it's data mining and throwing advertising at you, then say why don't you just e-mail me at my Gmail account. Google also data mines you and throws advertising at you. You get just as many ads in Gmail as you will get on Facebook.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:32 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Facebook is far more enjoyable than MySpace, to me, because it's a mostly utilitarian social networking device. It's a great way for me to remember birthdays, meetings and events without having to deal with "alerts" that are actually blog entries. The settings are pretty thorough, so you can filter out whatever you don't want. Don't really see the harm in it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:33 PM on January 15, 2009


I find it amusing that some people who make a point of not using facebook have twitter accounts.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 3:48 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I will say this about FB: it perplexes me that people join so many groups that they can't possibly participate in even half of them. One friend of mine (from high school) is a member of 100+ groups on the exact same topic. Why??
posted by desjardins at 3:58 PM on January 15, 2009


I had this theory of only befriending people I considered Actual Friends.

Yeah, that's me. And I still got guilted into befriending a half-dozen friends-of-friends, and still get friend requests from assholes who I do not want to be associated with, but with whom complete absence would have been preferable as opposed to some kind of clear rejection. In those ways, it's exactly what I thought it would be. Though it's easier to dump pictures on than Flickr, I will give it that.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:06 PM on January 15, 2009


To my mind, it takes a pretty damaged person to say "I have enough human contact in my life already."

I'd like to note that this opinion is not shared by all Facebook supporters. I'm on Facebook and find it very useful, but I am also keenly aware that there is such a thing as too much human contact, and furthermore that what constitutes "too much" varies from person to person. If that makes one "pretty damaged," then at least 20-30% of the general population is "pretty damaged."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:18 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


One friend of mine (from high school) is a member of 100+ groups on the exact same topic. Why??

Because group membership is like a bumper sticker on your car. It's ends up being a quick way of saying "Look at me, I'm into Obama/Saving Geese Destined to Become Fois Gras/Dr. Gregory House". Which, I assume, is why they came up with the "Causes" application, to try and steer groups away from being used like this.
posted by Jimbob at 4:19 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also why the comparisons of Facebook with Orkut/Friendster? Friendster never really took off, nor did Orkut really. And MySpace? It has been in a slow burn for at least 3 or more years. Facebook has a much better design and layout than MySpace and has a much more extensive user base than Orkut or Friendster ever had.

If you don't use FB ok fine whatever. It's a useful tool fine there are other tools out there, you can use them. But really I've seen far more of the "protests too much" from anti-FB people than from FB users. Yes sometimes you'll get a "oh you're not on Facebook?" Just because it is the norm, people are often surprised by deviations from the norm. That's not new.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:20 PM on January 15, 2009


To my mind, it takes a pretty damaged person to say "I have enough human contact in my life already."

You've never ridden the NYC subway at rush hour on a hot day, have you?
posted by jonmc at 4:21 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why people are bothered that there are young people and drunk frat-party attendees on Facebook. As long as they're not on your Friends list you'll never have to see them.
posted by bink at 4:24 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Facebook is visually a mess. I liked the old look more, before all activities of your friends were listed as news events.

Effigy2000 - I don't put more info out than I usually need to access the sites I like, though I think Facebook is the exception (because I've posted the info hoping interesting people from my past might find me there). And I'm probably a good deal less of a privacy nut than you. Also, I should probably stalk you more before coming up with an agreement of what ill-gotten gains to divvy up, thanks for the reminder.

pineapple - I agree with desjardins and others. If you like it, fantastic. There are other semi-social sites I like, but I don't proclaim them to the world, or try getting you involved with them. The people who tell you "you're missing out if you're not on Facebook" just want to see your information, old pictures and maybe give you a poke (it's a Facebook thing). If you're happy where you are now with the people you know and contact, jolly good. Enjoy it. If you're looking to find people from your past, Facebook can be useful.

In regards to my hermit line - a more complete read includes: "I've come to accept that my name and personal information is floating out there, with everyone else's info, too. I like social interaction too much to become a hermit." -- This comment is in reference to my personal information being available online. Part of the cost of being in a social network is that you share your personal information. If you don't, people have a hard time finding you (which is no good, unless you're there to find new people only and hide from the old).

Further ramblings: Facebook used to be more exclusive. You had to be a student from a limited number of universities (verified by your email address) to join the site. Then it extended to accept high school students. Now anyone can join. If you still care about the rambling story of Facebook, here are some interesting pages: Complete Biography, dated August 25, 2006; Facebook history 2005-2007 from the point of view of entrepreneurs; and a bit more history, from a weird facebook-focused site.

Friendster was The Big Thing back in the day. Orkut was Google's attempt at joining the game, but it was exclusive like gmail was initially, requiring an invite from someone already in. That stifled the growth, but somehow it worked in certain areas (I think it's big in India, and I know it took off in Brazil).

Another tangent: human connectivity means a lot of things. Do you mean being around people in mass, or having a set number of real friends? There's the oft-cited Dunbar number - 150 people, the limit of a social group for people - which would imply that people with 100s of groups and 1,000s of "friends" don't actually know many of them. Of course, there are the outliers. One person I know from college is outgoing to an unnatural extreme, and I'm rather sure it's honest. I checked his Facebook profile recently, and he sends birthday greetings to Facebook friends by the handful each day. Sure, he may have no idea how they're doing in real life, but he's making contact in some way. Maybe it is just networking, maybe he just likes to send greetings.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:33 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've reconnected with a few people through Facebook, and actually had a sort of penpal thing develop with a formerly mostly nodding acquaintance there. It's nice, though I could see it being annoying if people were constantly bugging you to sign up.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:35 PM on January 15, 2009


I use facebook pretty regularly. Its been a great tool for keeping up with most of my models, many of my favorite photographers and a bunch of my favorite musicians. And also my entire family, scattered across the country.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:41 PM on January 15, 2009


Facebook appears to be down. I'd like to think that everyone in the world took this post to heart.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:42 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK wait, for people who complain about Facebook and it's data mining and throwing advertising at you, then say why don't you just e-mail me at my Gmail account. Google also data mines you and throws advertising at you. You get just as many ads in Gmail as you will get on Facebook.

No, I'm bothered by Google's datamining policies, too, but there are a few key differences.

In gmail it's done by robots. Google serves the ads. The data isn't strip-mined and packaged and sold off to who knows who.

Also, google and gmail don't know my real name.

In addition to that I can export my contacts and emails. I can access my gmail account through my own POP3 email client. Gmail is open. I can choose to close the account. People can't readily stalk me or my activities through gmail. I could even set my gmail account to forward all my email to another email address entirely.

Or I could choose to not use gmail at all and pay for a real email account somewhere, or use my own server and host - and I won't lose all of my contacts.

These are huge differences between Facebook or any closed-loop social networking service and email/gmail.
posted by loquacious at 4:48 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not down (for me) but it has been pretty wonky.
posted by fixedgear at 4:51 PM on January 15, 2009


Perhaps, but the official Facebook policy, as I understand it based on these two AskMe questions, is that you have to use your real name. If Facebook finds out you haven't, and as the AskMe questions I linked to proves that sometimes they do (or at least that they're actively on the lookout for fake names), you're a candidate for deletion.

Thinking about it now, this insane enforcement for real names on the internet, a place where screen names are pretty much the norm, seems kind of creepy from a privacy perspective. Why do they insist that you use a real name? What do they have to lose from someone having a fake name? Just sayin'...


effigy2000: At a guess, lawsuits. IANAL, but I suspect that this is mainly a way of showing due diligence that they are not expediting fraud. As mentioned upthread, it would have its uses in bullying. Let's say I were student John Q. Wilkinson at Central High School, Anytown and tried to join Facebook only to found that someone else had already joined under my name and school and town. It's good to know that If I wrote to the Facebook administrators and made my case, they wouldn't have to say, "Sorry, nuthin' we can do."

As the article in the FPP mentions, the membership is going up by several million a month. Perhaps I am missing something , but I don't think Zuckerberg and his minions are carefully scrutinizing every single new account, one-by-one, to make sure that the name is the right one.

If that makes one "pretty damaged," then at least 20-30% of the general population is "pretty damaged."

DevilsAdvocate: I would say that sounds about right.

Because group membership is like a bumper sticker on your car.

jimbob: If I may suggest a second, parallel metaphor, people with dozens upon dozens of group memberships displayed are the exact equivalent of the cackling old guy who hangs around the door of the supermarket and wears a vest and a baseball cap festooned with a hundred promotional pins and buttons.

Actually, that guy may have a Facebook account.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:01 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


The 100 biggest content providers on 'Rate My Poo' are already trialling the beta of Faecesbook.

Now excuse me because I'm going to have to go. Somebody's just nonconsensually poked my rectum, and if I don't have the bastard banned, I know it's going to end up on YouPorn.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:20 PM on January 15, 2009


There must be some weird recruitment drive going on. My BF just joined, after much "what, WHY aren't you on facebook?" comments and "you have to be on there to get networked!" peer pressure, and it's been more than a year since I left.

I joined back then because I needed to suss out how to make apps for it, and before I knew it people who I have lost contact with (for a reason, duh) are friending me and then FB-mailing me daily, and people that I do know and like are FB-mailing me instead of e-mailing me forcing me to check mail and facebook all the time. One day I just got fed up with that, and deleted the whole thing, every photo, every comment and then the account. Seems I did it before they made it so dang hard to do too.
posted by dabitch at 5:25 PM on January 15, 2009


sevenyearlurk said: "I find it amusing that some people who make a point of not using facebook have twitter accounts."

Different functionalities. I hear people say "Yeah, FB is kind of a pain, I only really like it for the status updates," and I think, "Hi, let me introduce you to Twitter." To use the Twitter application as designed is significantly less effort than to be an FB user as designed. If the two look the same to you, you are clearly not a Twitter user -- I can assure you that they are different apps.

fixedgear said: "And has sucked ass for 5+ years. [Classmates.com is] useless."

This is true. My point is that FB'ers who squeal "omg there has nevar b4 been a way for me to find my ex-BF from freshman year!!!!!!!" seem to not realize that this isn't actually a groundbreaking new service. And I am not accusing anyone here of that squealing -- I'm talking about people I know in real life.

desjardins said: "One friend of mine (from high school) is a member of 100+ groups on the exact same topic. Why??"

Consider this a relevant data point, or not... but my 12-year-old niece does the exact same thing on her tween social network sites, where it is expected behavior.

MrBobaFett said: "Also why the comparisons of Facebook with Orkut/Friendster? Friendster never really took off, nor did Orkut really. And MySpace? It has been in a slow burn for at least 3 or more years. Facebook has a much better design and layout than MySpace and has a much more extensive user base than Orkut or Friendster ever had."

Because they are apples and apples and apples and apples. That one has been more successful than its predecessors doesn't somehow make it a different animal altogether. It makes sense to compare FB to those that came before.

Facebook hasn't broken any amazing new social-website ground... it was just the one that was in the right place at the right time when mainstream society was finally ready to embrace online social networking.

Believe it or not, I don't hate Facebook; I'm fairly indifferent to it. I don't like Mark Zuckerberg as a poster child for DotComBoom 2.0, because again, I think he's shady and unethical. I took a look at it, decided not to sign up, and that was that. But I am finding the recent push of "If you're not on Facebook, it's got to be because something is wrong with you" to be odd.
posted by pineapple at 5:26 PM on January 15, 2009


My biggest beef with FaceBook is that while I was going through a divorce, it suggested to me every time that I logged in that I "might know" my ex-spouse.

There's no option for "YES, I KNOW THAT PERSON AND I'D RATHER NOT THINK ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW."

See also: A few people who really burned me quite badly. There needs to be a "S/HE CAN SEE ME IN HELL" button.

More on topic: Some of the moms from Schmoopelina's ballet class (I'm her nanny, not her mom, FYI) were talking about FaceBook and they all have accounts... I'm not so worried about them finding me, none of them know my last name, but if they do - am I compelled to friend them? It would be super awkward having to explain to these people that I see once a week that I don't want to be "friends," and it would definitely keep me out of the loop where babysitting gigs are concerned - but at the same time, how awkward would it be to have them checking in on my extremely boring life in which a large percentage of my status updates are about my cat?

Oh boy, first world problems, how I love thee.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:26 PM on January 15, 2009


I wonder what Facebook is doing to marriages, now that everyone is "Friends" with and constantly exposed to new pictures and insights into the life of every ex-boyfriend or girlfriend with whom they remain civil?

Yeah, I debated for months about the social ethics of exactly *when* to un-friend someone I was DIVORCING. I decided that the right moment was after the divorce hearing.

Not because we're not civil, but because it's time to have separate lives now. Even separate INTERNET lives.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:34 PM on January 15, 2009


Oh boy, first world problems, how I love thee.

Funny and true.
posted by everichon at 5:37 PM on January 15, 2009


"I'm not an elitist. It's just that I'd much rather sculpt or write in my journal or read Proust than sit there passively staring at some phosphorescent screen."

O RLY?
posted by butterstick at 5:44 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder what Facebook is doing to marriages, now that everyone is "Friends" with and constantly exposed to new pictures and insights into the life of every ex-boyfriend or girlfriend with whom they remain civil?

And I think this is less an issue with facebook and more to do with the widespread, inexplicable assumption that one is obliged to loathe every past boyfriend and girlfriend. Every ex of mine (save a couple of non-joiners) is or has been a Facebook friend.

I think that if someone has a marriage that is so fragile as to be threatened by seeing vacation photos of somebody one of the spouses dated twenty years ago, counselling is in order.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:44 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've written about facebook here at least a few times before, and at risk of repeating myself, here are some dot-point summaries of my usage & observations:

* friends & friending: overwhelmingly, actual friends or people who i at least associate with regularly in real life. as far as acquaintances are concerned, i have no interest in adding them just because i happen to know them; only if there's any specific indication from them that they want me to (eg if they initiate it, not me).

* catching up with people from the past: mostly disappointing. with only a few exceptions, most are just like "hey, what are you up to now?" and after that, zilch. generally speaking, if they fail to respond to one message or comment, and if they never comment on my status or things i've posted, i pop them into the "not interested in further communication" mental bucket.

* events: useful. especially in terms of inviting / being invited by slightly more remote acquaintances who wouldn't normally extend such invitations. not bad for extending your real-life social circles.

* groups: a total waste of time, apart from a few that broadcast messages about upcoming events etc. other than that, groups are little more than bumper stickers.

* applications: largely useless. the only ones of vague interest to me are the movie / book / music kinds, and they depend on your friends all using the same one. there's no critical mass i've seen favouring one of these over the other.

* personal info: taken with salt, an ok way of getting an indication of what people are into.

* photos: one of the better features, especially with friends who are travelling or who have moved elsewhere in the country or world. also ok for images from the past; people & places & things you never photographed yourself, suddenly available as if in a big shared photo album.

* the idea that facebook & real life are somehow mutually exclusive: disagree strongly. i see it as more of an enabler for real life interaction than something that somehow detracts from it. this is especially true for the more marginal friends; those who wouldn't normally keep you informed of their new baby or holiday or whatever, but by making this stuff available, they enable at least a low level of contact to be maintained between you, which might or might not evolve into more, but if it doesn't it's no skin off your nose.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:51 PM on January 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not because we're not civil, but because it's time to have separate lives now. Even separate INTERNET lives.

is there going to be a custody battle over who gets metafilter, then?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:54 PM on January 15, 2009


is there going to be a custody battle over who gets metafilter, then?

I left for a while to "give him" the site, then I was urged to come back by other users. Then I left again until the divorce was final, just because I'm odd like that.

We never *talked* about it or anything, but we're both active users and have even appeared in the same threads. Like I say, we're civil - there isn't any hostility (that I know of, unless he's hiding nuclear weapons with my name on them - somehow I doubt this) - we just have our own lives now.

(Full disclosure: For those not aware, I was married to Kattullus)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:03 PM on January 15, 2009



There's no option for "YES, I KNOW THAT PERSON AND I'D RATHER NOT THINK ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW."

Unless I misunderstand your meaning, there more or less is. The "People You May Know" feed shows each photo and name, along with a small grey X: this X is the link to remove the person from the feed. I have friends of friends whom I regard with faint distaste: this makes Facebook cease trying to hook us up (from this side, at least).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:13 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's already been said; Facebook is Classmates that actually works. I appreciate some of you have had great success on other former sites, but to me those have only connected early adopters and .com geeks. Facebook has been amazing at literally anyone -- anyone, from teachers to grade school students, so far pretty much 9 out of 10 times if I search their name -- BAM, they're on the network. It blows my mind. I made an account several months ago but never really commited anything to it, and I didn't see much of the point and I just let it idle. Then "they" found me. And I had a few add requests. Then a few more add requests. Suddenly names I haven't seen in 15 years are popping up in my email -- and you know what? It's amazing. It's just like email or WWW or the telephone, this is technology changing my life for the better.

I think folks who care too much about having too many friend requests or ignoring people or omg they're not really my best friend are missing the boat. Used properly -- as almost like a universal phone book with good results -- it's a tool. An great, great tool.
posted by cavalier at 6:20 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


You do know that you can actually *block* users on FB, right?
posted by fixedgear at 6:21 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


And yes, I know that I'm being datamined to shit. Give and take, give and take.
posted by cavalier at 6:21 PM on January 15, 2009


Facebook doesn't impact marriage negatively unless your marriage is already in trouble. One of my husband's exes friended him the other day. Why the heck would I care? If Facebook didn't exist, I'm sure she could have figured out another way to contact him if she really wanted to, which she hadn't in 15 years. Probably the only reason she found him is through the "people you may know" sidebar, because they went to college together and he'd friended some classmates. Evidently I've only dated non-Facebook users, but I'm out of touch with my exes anyway. (No bitterness, just apathy.)

I think it's sweet that my husband publicly proclaims his love for me on his status or writes love notes on my wall. Of course he's affectionate in person; it doesn't take the place of that. I just think it's cool to be able to express that in a public way without having to literally shout it from the rooftops or make out on a park bench. Of course, all our single friends probably hate us.
posted by desjardins at 6:27 PM on January 15, 2009


I don't use Facebook because I couldn't bear the success of everybody else from my past. I mean, I hope they are successful, I genuinely do, and I want them to be fulfilled and happy. But if I got on there and found a wave of pictures of all those high school and college kids smiling, with their children, with their businesses, with their books and short films, I'd burst into tears. I need to adjust to that kind of thing socially, one person at a time. We didn't evolve to deal with that kind of pressure.

Also, if I did put up a page, what could I have on it? A whole bunch of socially acceptable and non-bitchy interests, for employer-Googling purposes. Which of those do I even have?
posted by Countess Elena at 6:32 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dude, of course the sun is setting on the FB empire, and there will be something else later, and then everyone will talk about how not cool Facebook is. But it is the only place where I can play fifteen Scrabble games at once against people I resent.

I made an 87 point move the other day and it was awesome.
posted by sugarfish at 6:32 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I joined myspace when I had to for a college class. And I went through the trouble of building a profile, and adding friends, and all that jazz. And for months, I checked it regularly because I thought that's what you do.

But, after about four or five months, I realized that I was mostly deleting spam and friend requests from hookers and camgirls. And people that I'd never, ever met in my life and who didn't know any of my friends. And endless chain mail broadcast to everybody.

I didn't meet new people through MySpace, because there was no focus. Since it's for just anybody, there was no filtering mechanism, no sense of community. There was nothing to contribute to; there was no way for me to examine somebody's actions, only their claims, and determine if they were worth my time. I've made friends from iam.bmezine.com and from metafilter, partially because both had a vetting process, but mainly because they had a greater work to which people contributed.

IAM was a community for a subculture. I could be positive that anybody I talked to shared at least one of my interests--and an interest that tends to correlate with a set of political and ideological beliefs as well. It was also a gated community, and you had to pay for your subscription.

Metafilter is a community, although it doesn't have the subculture focus. But we have something that we're all contributing to. I remember names from posts that I liked, askme answers that I liked. And then when there's a meetup, and those people are coming, I have a reason to want to meet them.

And the constant updates on people's lives... I found that they cheapened conversation instead of enhancing it. Really, what's the point of even talking to my friends when I already know everything they're doing anyway? It grew very tedious to read somebody's fifteen paragraph post about their weekend, and then when we met for drinks on Wednesday to have to hear the same fucking thing again.

And apparently it's considered rude to say, "Yeah, let's talk about something else. I already know as much as I care to from your myspace bulletin." And then, when I tried just not reading that stuff, and I asked, "So, how was your weekend?", I'd get, "Shitty [or great]. Didn't you read my myspace?"

The main things that build a friendship for me are shared time and experience. Since maintaining a friendship requires regularly spending time together, I've got to have something to talk about. If all the smalltalk is handled asynchronously through a social networking app, there's nothing left to discuss when we meet up. I mean, yes, we do have deep conversations about actual stuff... but, that doesn't make up the bulk of the drinking talk.

If that makes one "pretty damaged," then at least 20-30% of the general population is "pretty damaged."

DevilsAdvocate: I would say that sounds about right.


Man, I'll pull the lever to see the other monkey just as quickly as anybody else. But, it seems ridiculous to state that I'm damaged because I'm (mostly) happy with only a handful of friends that I only interact with occasionally.

It just takes so much energy for me to deal with other people, to collaborate and build consensus on what we're going to do. I'm down for sitting and chatting to somebody interesting for hours; and I'm down if you'd like to come along and do something that I'm into. But, I just don't enjoy doing otherwise uninteresting "recreational" activities simply because I have friends around me--on the other hand, work, no matter how unpleasant, is improved by friends. And, by and large, the number of people who share my pastime interests is small and geographically poorly distributed--even more so when you intersect my interests with my politics and standards for personal intellect.

I'm self-absorbed and elitist. A good 75% of the people I meet bore or irritate me. While my gregarious friends tell me that "everybody is interesting", I just cannot find it in most people. Mind you, I don't think they're worthless as people or anything, and I'm not rude or condescending as a rule. But, you've got to bring something to the friendship table other than simply breathing the same oxygen.

I cannot think of a single friend of mine that I met through random encounter. Every one was either a friend of a friend, a classmate (as in, a specific class; not just the same school), somebody I found online through a domain-specific site that had nothing to do with social networking, or a fellow practitioner of some hobby or another. In short, we had time and experience together before I ever considered befriending them.

Now, I do wish that I had some friends who live locally to my new domicile. But, I really do not in the slightest bit think that a geographical search for facebook users within 10 miles of my location is going to yield a list full of potential friends.

Even after filtering out the ones with profiles that make them obviously incompatible, I'd still have to go on a zillion blind man-dates to find anybody interesting. And then, since we hadn't already shared time or experience, I'd have to work super fucking hard to actually cultivate that relationship: guessing what activities might be mutually enjoyable (or at least tolerable), setting up schedules, etc.

As for finding old friends... there's nobody I've wanted to talk to that I couldn't find through google. I guess it's different if you're over the age of 25; but, most people in my generation have enough of an online presence that they can be tracked down using public web tools and public records.
posted by Netzapper at 6:35 PM on January 15, 2009


[MySpace and Orkut and Friendster] are apples and apples and apples and apples. That one has been more successful than its predecessors doesn't somehow make it a different animal altogether.

Facebook hasn't broken any amazing new social-website ground.


No offense, but this is wrong. It might not have been up until Facebook became a platform, but when that happened, Facebook was something new.

I recognize that 95% of the apps on there are crap, but it doesn't matter, the 5% that are worth something are going to mean no new behemoth is going to sweep them on features, and that most new niche networks are going to at least interop with Facebook when they aren't actually based on its platform. There *may* someday come along someone new or an old guard titan who can pull all this off better than they do, but I'd bet hard cash that you will not see Facebook follow the trajectory of Friendster or MySpace. At least not in the next five years.

That doesn't mitigate some of the problems people have brought up, nor does it mean Facebook's not even a fruit anymore for the purposes of comparison. But becoming a platform differentiates it enough that it's no longer apples to apples.
posted by weston at 6:40 PM on January 15, 2009


Since I can't believe this link hasn't already made it to this thread:

Why I Left Facebook
posted by pineapple at 6:41 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ha, that's cute.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:47 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unless I misunderstand your meaning, there more or less is. The "People You May Know" feed shows each photo and name, along with a small grey X: this X is the link to remove the person from the feed. I have friends of friends whom I regard with faint distaste: this makes Facebook cease trying to hook us up (from this side, at least).

They don't exactly make this obvious, so, thnx.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:48 PM on January 15, 2009


But, I really do not in the slightest bit think that a geographical search for facebook users within 10 miles of my location is going to yield a list full of potential friends.

This is not what Facebook is for.
posted by desjardins at 6:57 PM on January 15, 2009


No offense, but this is wrong. It might not have been up until Facebook became a platform, but when that happened, Facebook was something new.

Well... okay, so this is wrong... except for all that time when it wasn't.

I understand what you're saying -- but for the point of this particular conversation, you are unhelpfully splitting hairs. When people are saying, "Orkut/Friendster/MySpace weren't as successful as Facebook, therefore they don't deserve to be in the same conversation," that argument is flawed.

The fact that Facebook became a platform six months ago, after however many million users were already signed up for the application that was basically "MySpace for college kids", doesn't somehow cancel out the flaw in the other assertion.

It is fair to point out that differentiation for posterity, though.

I'd bet hard cash that you will not see Facebook follow the trajectory of Friendster or MySpace. At least not in the next five years.

If Facebook were to last for five successful years, it would already have outlived the others, rendering your window of determination moot.

Still -- I'll see you on January 15, 2014, right here. No cash needed; my smug grin of satisfaction will be my reward. I'll bring links to all the mainstream business articles that look back on Facebook as the Pets.com of this decade.
posted by pineapple at 7:02 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


The one problem they don't tell you about when you join Facebook is how you get to find out that that one girl from high school, the one who was dumb as a box of rocks but wore slutty clothes and was kind of "fast," the one you lost touch with 15 years ago, now lives in a sprawling villa in Tuscany with a staggeringly hot dude and three attractive kids.
This is keeping me up at night.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:10 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


But, I really do not in the slightest bit think that a geographical search for facebook users within 10 miles of my location is going to yield a list full of potential friends.

This is not what Facebook is for.


Wait, so Facebook isn't for making new friends? Then why the fuck do I want it?

I stay in touch with my friends already. Between AIM, email, phonecalls, and text messages, I already hear from my friends from around the world. Adding another vector, especially one so fraught with privacy concerns, just doesn't seem efficient.
posted by Netzapper at 7:15 PM on January 15, 2009


Confirmation bias on your part. You don't hear from all the people who just don't care... I'm on Facebook and I don't care if you are or not.

Okay - that seems reasonable enough. But then, desjardins, how does the Salon article fit in with your statement that I'm just experiencing confirmation bias? This is national media saying, "If you're not on FB, you're somehow ignorant or socially retarded or tech-averse or [whatever]." The author actually compared Facebook to a daily social necessity on par with email and antiperspirant.

Now, just because one Salon author is a twit doesn't mean I'm not still experiencing confirmation bias. I just don't think this is that.
posted by pineapple at 7:15 PM on January 15, 2009


http://www.sophos.com/security/best-practice/facebook.html has some thought on FB sercurity settings, and maybe explains some of the functionality.
posted by fixedgear at 7:21 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


I prefer to look at porn.
posted by bardic at 7:34 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is national media saying, "If you're not on FB, you're somehow ignorant or socially retarded or tech-averse or [whatever]."

When 80% of the people you stay in contact on a day to day basis are using medium X, and 20% aren't, you start to get a bit frustrated with the 20% who aren't because you have to switch mediums to contact them. Which isn't that hard, I guess, but when you organize social gatherings though Facebook, or post photos of your kid on Facebook, it's understandable that you want everyone who would be interested to be on there.
posted by Jimbob at 7:37 PM on January 15, 2009


Wow, I think I've spent more time reading this than the total time ever on Facebook... But today it brought interesting information about my brother across the country (hit by a car), but not bad so I could make a snarky comment about biking in bubble wrap.
posted by sammyo at 7:53 PM on January 15, 2009


Wait, so Facebook isn't for making new friends? Then why the fuck do I want it?

I stay in touch with my friends already. Between AIM, email, phonecalls, and text messages, I already hear from my friends from around the world. Adding another vector, especially one so fraught with privacy concerns, just doesn't seem efficient.


Then you, personally, don't need Facebook. If people try to tell you that you do, I suggest you chuckle at their naive ignorance rather than becoming angry with them.

I stay in touch with my friends around the world by email, Facebook, and (rarely) phone. I, personally, don't need AIM or text messaging.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:59 PM on January 15, 2009


But it's another vector.
posted by fixedgear at 8:02 PM on January 15, 2009


"[Why does Facebook insist you use your real name?] At a guess, lawsuits. IANAL, but I suspect that this is mainly a way of showing due diligence that they are not expediting fraud. As mentioned upthread, it would have its uses in bullying. Let's say I were student John Q. Wilkinson at Central High School, Anytown and tried to join Facebook only to found that someone else had already joined under my name and school and town. It's good to know that If I wrote to the Facebook administrators and made my case, they wouldn't have to say, "Sorry, nuthin' we can do.""
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:01 AM on January 16

Let's discuss a scenario involving Mr Wilkinson and I'll show you the irony of this.

Because of this policy that demands/insists that people create Facebook profiles with their real names, people assume with some degree of certainty that if they're being contacted by John Q. Wilkinson at Central High School, Anytown or viewing his profile it means that they're actually viewing the real Mr Wilkinson's profile, right? But if the profile has been set up fradulently, and John Q. Wilkinson at Central High School, Anytown dosen't even know about it (after all, his profile was free to create by a fraudster so it's safe to assume he has no interest in joining Facebook), the person running this fake account can pretty much destroy John's life, if he wants to.

Suddenly John's boss fires him because his boss read that John hates his job and his asshole boss on his Facebook profile. His best friend tells him never to contact him again because his profile listed him as a member of the KKK. His girlfriend dumps him because he joins an AIDS support group.

Because of this horrible confluence of events in John's life, he investigates and finds out what's behind all of this and contacts Facebook and the account is closed. But the damage to John's life is done. All because everyone assumes that while an account is active on Facebook it must be real because Faceook has a policy that insists you use your real name and deletes accounts that do not conform.

But the irony is that if Facebook didn't have this policy, and user "Deathbringer111" starts saying he's a part of the KKK and he has AIDS and oh, by the way, I'm actually John Q. Wilkinson at Central High School, Anytown, most people who know John would probably take it with a heavy grain of salt before believing it to be true. That's if they even knew to look for Deathbringer111 if they were searching for a profile belonging to John Wilkinson so as to add him as a friend.

And John, a high school student, is probably one of the lucky ones. As a high school student it's probably safe to assume he has some degree of computer literacy. What of older people who have never even heard of "that Facebook thingamajigger." Fraudsters setting up an account based on an older person with the intent of destroying their lives or gaining access to other personal information are probably able to get away with much more when their target dosen't know what Facebook is, let alone how to operate a computer. And for these older people, all it takes is one friend who is computer literate (or has a younger relative who is) for the false gossip to spread.

So I don't buy that the potential to avoid lawsuits is the reason behind this policy. Infact, IANAL either, but it seems to me that this policy has a greater potential for getting Facebook sued than a policy which allows people to use screen names.

More likely, I suspect that the real reason is so that Facebook can supplement its income by selling your details to spammers or other direct marketers. Compare my e-mail inbox to my fiancee, who does have a Facebook account. My inbox is a pristine sanctuary, full of e-mails from friends and family and those MeFites helping me create the Metafilter Collaborative Novel (due out at Easter!). My partners account is full of spam, with the ocassional e-mail from a friend or work colleague peppered in-between.

The evidence pretty much speaks for itself.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:05 PM on January 15, 2009


What an apt thread. So my new years resolution was to be a little less of a hermit. I am very introverted, and going to a party or socializing with people I'm not already comfortable with is very difficult. Till now, I had pretty much written off Facebook the same way I had all it's predecessors. But I'm starting to realize that this might actually be a really good tool for someone like me. I can communicate with people at my own pace and in privacy. The anonymity that makes so many people assholes on the internet actually works really well in my favor and eases my socializing, to the point that I can spend time composing my thoughts without the pressure of direct interaction in real time.

The ground rules detailed in the second post were very helpful in this regard. I'm still kind of a Facebook virgin, so I didn't know I could remove friends without notifying them I had done so; that came in handy as I am trying to use this to communicate with people, not ramp up some magic number.

I would actually suggest hermits of all stripes give this an objective look and think about how you can use it in a way that works for you, if you're on the fence in the least. For instance, I pretty much just use the messaging, but I like the way I can spin through a list of friends and pick one to catch up with. I can't really do that with my email client, and the status updates make for good conversation starters. There is nothing more awkward than trying to get back in touch with someone without something specific to discuss. I don't really have much need for walls or apps, but I could see myself using the photos. In that regard, it gives me a separate place to put pics of friends and events that is more accessible to those people. Now I use flickr for serious photography exclusively. Groups seems kinda useless.

Anyway, I'm giving it a shot. At least until my co-workers find me on there.
posted by butterstick at 8:18 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


More likely, I suspect that the real reason is so that Facebook can supplement its income by selling your details to spammers or other direct marketers.

If that's the case, I must be the least desirable market ever, since none of my three email addresses I have listed with Facebook have gotten spam. OK, that's not entirely true—the two which received spam before I joined Facebook continued receiving spam at about the same level, and the one which never got spam before still doesn't.

The evidence pretty much speaks for itself.

Yep, your sample size of 2 is awfully persuasive.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:22 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


After much lamenting from a friend of mine when I wouldn't join, I tried it out. The cast of characters was as follows:

  • woman whom I used to work with who sent me lots of those annoying games / apps
  • message to and from a woman I briefly dated who'd moved across the country
  • brief exchange with a woman I knew in high school who'd moved to Europe
  • everyone else was stone-cold silent after I added them

    It seemed pointless, so I quit. But not before changing my account to have fake profile details, because of the rumored problems with privacy that site has.

    I do, however, use MySpace, because it is surprisingly useful for promoting a band. I have actually met fellow electronic musicians through that site.

  • posted by wastelands at 8:23 PM on January 15, 2009


    More likely, I suspect that the real reason is so that Facebook can supplement its income by selling your details to spammers or other direct marketers. Compare my e-mail inbox to my fiancee, who does have a Facebook account. My inbox is a pristine sanctuary, full of e-mails from friends and family and those MeFites helping me create the Metafilter Collaborative Novel (due out at Easter!). My partners account is full of spam, with the ocassional e-mail from a friend or work colleague peppered in-between.

    The evidence pretty much speaks for itself.


    I am tempted to say that you have mistaken an anecdote here for evidence, but I think we're considering the wrong things. I have been on Facebook for years now, registered it with my Hotmail account (thus the only one that Facebook has access to), and I have never seen a single piece of spam of any sort hit my Hotmail inbox (before Facebook or after). I suspect more likely it is something that you and I are both doing right with regard to distributing our e-mail address and your partner is doing wrong than anything to do with Facebook. (I also receive just about zero junk snail mail and maybe a half dozen telemarketing calls a year: contrary to FB alarmists' claims, not everyone on Facebook is stupid with their privacy.)

    UbuRoivas has written a near-perfect summary of what is Good and Bad about Facebook just above, and I see no point in repeating what he has said better than I could. I would mention again his penultimate point, though:

    * photos: one of the better features, especially with friends who are travelling or who have moved elsewhere in the country or world. also ok for images from the past; people & places & things you never photographed yourself, suddenly available as if in a big shared photo album.

    One of my best friends died suddenly a few years ago at a relatively young age. I realized after his death that I had exactly one picture of him. It is bittersweet to have since found a dozen more, from other friends of his, all on the dreaded site. If I had boycotted the site for any of the harebrained reasons I have read about in the thread above, I would never have done this.

    And as I mentioned earlier, Facebook was directly responsible for me renewing my acquaintance with a university classmate whom I had not seen in more than a decade. We had no means of or particular interest in contacting one another, and a chance reconnection led to us now being, as the song has it, So Happy Together.

    Do you boycotting sorts not wonder about the connections you are grimly happy to be missing out on, just out of misguided principle?
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:53 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Facebook is obviously data-mining for the worldwide facial recognition camera network.
    posted by autodidact at 9:25 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Why is someone so special that I need to sign up for an account with my real name, waive lots of privacy rights, be advertised to, and maintain an account just for them to send me a message?

    it's not just that the person individually is special, but that they can be part of a community, and interact with you in a casual way, without having to send you personal email notes apropos of nothing. It basically brings together IM, blog, twitter, flickr, and a games site all into one place, along with various random other applications, and allows you to choose the people you want to interact with. And you get to interact with real people, not SomeGuy98, but your actual friends from real life, as many of them as you want.

    I dunno, it is a little weird, and it does take away a level of privacy to be able to see into people's lives and know that they can see into yours, but the hold-outs in my social circle have been caving recently. It does change social experience, but mostly it is beneficial - it's much easier to know when things are happening, when bands are playing or shows are on, for sure, who needs a new roommate or even is just having a bad day; who's rooting for the steelers and who's having a baby. Do you need to know it all? it's up to you how much info to receive - you can have 10 friends and just IM and play games once a week if you want. And you don't have to put any status updates or posts or pictures up of yourself if you don't want to... It's just the tendency to share information in the information age -

    I don't think Facebook is like Friendster or MySpace, really. I had a friendster page, but never Myspace, and I know people who had the reverse experience, or who had some other one... but I wonder if Facebook is sort of like the Google of social networking sites. THere were plenty of search engines before Google. But for some reason, one of them broke through and had a lasting impact.
    posted by mdn at 9:29 PM on January 15, 2009


    See, I have neither, and that's why I'm cool as fuck.

    Yeah? Well I've never even seen a computer.
    posted by JHarris at 9:35 PM on January 15, 2009


    My partners account is full of spam, with the ocassional e-mail from a friend or work colleague peppered in-between.

    Red herring. I've been on Facebook for nearly two years and have used 2 different email accounts (one with maiden name, one with married name). No spam in either. The *worst* thing Facebook does, marketing-wise, is puts ads on the sidebar, which are easily ignored via Firefox + Adblock. (I am a little offended at the sexist targeting, though - it constantly recommends diet plans and Botox for me, and neither for my husband.)
    posted by desjardins at 9:45 PM on January 15, 2009


    I'm totally not looking while i type this
    posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:48 PM on January 15, 2009


    Do you boycotting sorts not wonder about the connections you are grimly happy to be missing out on, just out of misguided principle?

    Everybody uses this as the "killer argument" about facebook. But, quite frankly, I cannot imagine with whom these theoretical connections would be.

    Yes, I have a couple of close high school friends with whom I'd like to catch up. I tracked one down using mutual friends, google, and whitepages.com. Found her blog and got a brief update from a friend. Found out that she's not doing anything even close to what I imagined she'd be doing after college... lost interest. The other one has dropped off the face of the planet. And, get this, he doesn't have a Facebook account either--I KNOW, what're the odds, I thought I was the only one!

    Furthermore, I don't live anywhere near these people anymore. I can't share time or experiences with them. I may remember them fondly, but they aren't my friends anymore. Too much time has passed without reaffirming that relationship. If they suddenly showed back up in my life, they'd have a nearly certain shot at being my friend again. If they called me out of the blue and needed something, I'd be glad to do them a favor out of the remembrance of what we used to have. But, for the time being, they hold very little interest for me.

    While we can reminisce about the good ol' days, that bores me in about twenty minutes. And I'm certainly not going to do it fucking asynchronously whenever we get around to checking/replying to our message boxes. "Dude, remember when we [did that shit everybody does in high school]?" [two weeks pass] "Yeah, that was pretty damn sweet. What about [that shit that was kinda funny at the time, but just seems juvenile now]?" [a week passes] "Oh yeah. I'd totally forgotten about that."

    As for getting updates on their life? I just don't give a fuck. Not even a little one. I mostly don't care what my current friends do with their time. I'm happy to talk about it if they want, offer advice. But, getting updates about my genius-brilliant friend from high school whose sole desire in life was to rope a rich husband and pop out no fewer than five children? She succeeded, and is no longer even kind of interesting.

    Other than that... I have a cellphone (and a moleskine) full of the phone numbers for everybody with whom I actually care to keep in contact. And I call them at varying frequencies, based on how interesting their lives actually are--that is, how long it takes them to refill the buffer of topics necessary to fill an hour's phone conversation.

    The sole reason I would use a social networking site is if it introduced me to new people with whom I'm likely to get along and who are in my general area. Having recently moved here, I don't have anybody to drink or smoke or drive or paintball or chat with locally. But, as I mentioned before, there is no filter on Facebook.

    If I do a geosearch (does Facebook even do that?), I'm going to get the neoconservative navy lieutenant on the same list as the libertarian hacker. Yes, I can look at their profiles and determine who they claim to be. But, unlike Metafilter, NASIOC, or IAM.bme I cannot interact with these people in a public context before committing to publicly associating with them, and giving them the right to "write on my wall" whatever horseshit they want. I cannot look at their actions, analyze their writing... I cannot get any feel for who they actually are before I send out that friend request.
    posted by Netzapper at 9:50 PM on January 15, 2009


    It still boggles my mind that men shaving their bodies is a large enough demographic to be catered to. That's all I see, plus the slimey "get rich in a part time job" or "the gov't is giving away billions" ads.

    Hm. Maybe that is targeted advertising.
    posted by maxwelton at 9:53 PM on January 15, 2009


    it's not just that the person individually is special, but that they can be part of a community

    What community? Every social networking site I've ever seen has formed cliques. There is no "facebook community". There is nothing toward which all facebook members are working. There's not even anything in which all Facebook members share.

    Metafilter is a community, with FPPs and discussions and questions and projects all happening in the open, where we all can share in the process. Right now, we as a community, are discussing our views on another tool. Anybody is welcome to join in and affirm or refute anything they like. Hell, even if you're not a member, drop your five-spot and come on in. It is inclusive.

    Facebook is a superimposition of exclusive cliques. Each one of these cliques has nothing, and wants nothing, to do with the other ones. There is no Facebook front page. There is nothing in which all Facebook members may share--aside from tools produced by Facebook and third party apps. It's like saying that there's everyone who uses a screwdriver is a member of a community--maybe true, but a uselessly vague one if so.

    and interact with you in a casual way, without having to send you personal email notes apropos of nothing.

    Either the content is important enough that I need to know about it, in which case you'd better tell me regardless. Or, it's trivia, and I didn't want to hear it until the next time we're having a pint anyway.

    As for party invitations... I don't know. I guess there's nothing I can do about that anymore. People send this shit out via facebook, and don't mention it anywhere else. Which is kind of lame, because not only am I then expected to have a facebook account, but check it regularly enough to see it and RSVP before the party occurs. I have to go to facebook to be notified of an event, as opposed to an invitation sent via snail- or e- mail, which comes to me.

    Also, seriously... if I have to go looking for my invitation, I'm obviously just another body at your how-many-people-can-pack-in party. If the host doesn't care enough to respect my communicational capabilities, it's obvious that he's doesn't actually want to see me.
    posted by Netzapper at 10:07 PM on January 15, 2009


    I just discovered a new awfulness about facebook.

    Apparently there's a 'friendfinder' thing out there. Not only are people from my past whom I've completely forgotten about (or remember and would loath to be called a friend of theirs) and didn't need to remember again trying to get me on their 'friends' list, I now have completely, totally (lonely) strangers who want me to acquiesce to be on their friendslist.
    posted by porpoise at 10:14 PM on January 15, 2009


    A few days after a friend's spouse was killed by a drunk driver in a car accident, I received - amidst the usual mundane Facebook status updates - a notice that "(friend's name) is now single."

    That's the day I decided Facebook wasn't for me.
    posted by velvet winter at 10:19 PM on January 15, 2009 [26 favorites]


    Facebook is obviously data-mining for the worldwide facial recognition camera network.

    You know, that wouldn't surprise me. At very least, imagine if facebook got smart enough in the future (using data gathered now) to automatically tag photos of you. Even if it gave the option of untagging them, it would still be terrible.
    posted by dunkadunc at 10:32 PM on January 15, 2009


    ricochet biscuit said, "Do you boycotting sorts not wonder about the connections you are grimly happy to be missing out on, just out of misguided principle?"

    I hope you understand that it's defensive, silly comments like this that make people who boycott elect not to use your favorite internet application think that, maybe, just maybe, you and other vocally zealous users of said application might have an odd complex about it.

    You're just proving every point I've made in this thread. Clearly, it's not enough that we just don't care to be Facebook users... according to you, we're actively boycotting it, out of misguided principle, and are missing out on vital connections that could make our lives complete which makes us "grimly happy".

    Really? Really?

    mdn, I'm going to take a piece of your comment and respond to it -- and not because I'm picking on you personally or trying to minimize your Facebook experience. I'm just trying to make a point, so I hope you'll take it in that spirit.

    >> it's not just that the person individually is special, but that they can be part of a community

    Absolutely valuable. But I personally get this in lots of other places -- this big blue place included. For those who don't have access to other internet communities, though, I can see where FB could reign supreme.

    >> and interact with you in a casual way, without having to send you personal email notes apropos of nothing.

    Valuable to some people, certainly. Not to me. Email and SMS are already extraordinarily casual, in my eyes. At the point where I need something even more casual than the emoticons and abbreviations that are the parlance of email and SMS, take me out back and shoot me; I value communication too much to participate in its further degradation.

    >> It basically brings together IM, blog, twitter, flickr, and a games site all into one place, along with various random other applications

    I can see where this would be of value to some, definitely. But I also have to consider the sunk costs of my investment in those other apps. I don't IM anymore, so much, but I was blogging before it was called blogging. I have 3, 4, 5 years invested in some of those media and applications. I should walk away from that because there's a shiny new toy on the internet? I should duplicate the effort that I invest to receive the professional networking benefit I get from LinkedIn... because I'd rather be able to "poke" people or "write" on their "graffiti wall"?

    And I also have distinct and positive reasons for occasionally preferring those apps decentralized: I can interact with different groups of friends, some who have my real name and some who do not but all of whom are friends nonetheless. Most of you people don't have my real name and mailing address; it doesn't make you necessarily less valuable.

    >> allows you to choose the people you want to interact with.

    Yes, and no. Not with the same level of discretion and control that I get from my current method of having the freedom to use whatever app I like on whatever site I want with whatever username or email address spins my wheels. That's truly choosing your interaction. And, to bastardize a line from Geddy Lee: refusing to "friend" someone in return or hiding from people by whom you didn't really want to be found isn't exactly "choosing the people I want to interact with." It's inertia more than anything.

    >> And you get to interact with real people, not SomeGuy98, but your actual friends from real life, as many of them as you want.

    I do this, in the outside where the oxygen is (at least with those who live nearby). I also have this tool called the phone; it allows me to interact with real people and actually receive audio data in real time, complete with life-like inflection and human laughter (you young people might think of this ancient technology as, say, a precursor to Skype).

    I can also do this inside the computer ...via all those other "annoying, time-consuming" applications like email, Flickr, LinkedIn, blogging, message boards.

    I don't like the idea of being forced to cross all the streams in one massive hub of interaction that happens to also require my real name. Just because it's a feature to one user doesn't keep it from being a bug to another. And this might be a big part of what bothers me. It feels sometimes as though the rabidly pro-Facebook crowd can't acknowledge that not everyone uses the internet in the same way. "What do you mean you don't want to see the baby pictures of the girl who sat behind you in algebra? Are you friendless? A hermit? An interminable hipster? Are you damaged?"

    It is not a de facto judgment of a person if I say, essentially, "your favorite social networking site sucks." So why do I deserve to be judged in return?

    desjardins said: We used to mail paper invitations to parties;

    Some of us still do.
    posted by pineapple at 10:43 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Everyone else is on Facebook, why aren't you?

    I have a hard enough time staying on top of my Twitter bidness.
    posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:08 PM on January 15, 2009


    I've never hassled anyone about not being on Facebook, even though I enjoy it a lot. But people who don't use it, try not to knock it based on misconceptions about what it can or can't do.

    Quite a lot of the misconceptions have been cleared up already, but just so's you know: you can get Facebook to email you when someone invites you to an event. So even if you only log in occassionally, you still won't miss out on any parties or gatherings or whatever. You'll get an email with the details of the event, and you can decide if it's worth logging in to rsvp or not.

    My circle of friends doesn't use the events feature for actual parties though, we still do proper invitations for those. But we do use it for things like art shows, public events, etc that we're going to, to see if anyone else we know will be there or encourage them to come along. Last year I went to 3 photography exhibitions, 2 indie craft markets, and an art performance on the river, that I never would have known about without FB because those events didn't have a huge marketing budget. It's nifty.
    posted by harriet vane at 12:02 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    My experience totally aligns with Pineapple's comment. I don't use Facebook but it's not like I'm walking around everyday telling people "I'm not on Facebook and I'll never sign up you can't make me rawr!". It's more that I have to defend myself about twice a month when someone else brings it up. Funny enough, people usually nag me about joining Facebook via an e-mail thread we'd been sharing.

    It's like they're annoyed that they have to tell me personally what the shit is going on in their lives when really if I just joined Facebook I could have just read their mass broadcast and saved them the trouble. Sorry, that's just not how I want my friendships to roll.

    Mind you, I'm part of Ravelry which is sort of a social networking site but has a common interest (knitting/crochet/fiber arts) which is something I think will be the Next Thing. "Friending" on there doesn't carry any baggage which is pretty damned refreshing.
    posted by like_neon at 1:57 AM on January 16, 2009


    I'm not elitist. Well, I am, but only about being better than everyone else, not about quitting Facebook. I only mention that I quit Facebook when people...

    a. Ask me why I didn't turn up to their party that they only told anyone about on Facebook.
    b. Ask me if I've added something or other to my Facebook.
    c. Suggest adding me on Facebook.
    d. Talk to me with the assumption that I spend every waking second keeping up to date with their wall.

    I maintain it is not my fault that one of the above happen EVERY FUCKING DAY.

    Full respect to the article author, but there's too much inane interconnectivity in my life already without me using a website that might as well be called Inane Interconnectivity Book. The way things are going, he'll have to write me an article about why I should turn my goddam cellphone back on again.

    Because giving people the power to SMS you and then YOU are the bad guy for not replying to their remote demand for your attention is FUCKING ME OFF too.

    Now.

    Does anyone have a fucking cigarettte.
    posted by Wataki at 3:31 AM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Real names on the internet can actually be kinda cool. I was on a BBS in the very early internet era where sysops make people use real names. It cut out a lot of trolls, help to keep things civil, and reminded people they were talking to real human beings.
    posted by Jimbob at 3:47 AM on January 16, 2009


    Your favorite social medium sucks.
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:12 AM on January 16, 2009


    I'm part of Ravelry which is sort of a social networking site but has a common interest (knitting/crochet/fiber arts) which is something I think will be the Next Thing.

    This is actually the First Thing. It's also the Right Thing.

    Social networking grew out of forums all over the place, and tended to be topical. In fact, by my reckoning, iam.bmezine.com was one of the first social networking sites. Perhaps the first or second--it came online in 2000. It's for enthusiasts of body modification, but has all of the features you'd expect from modern social networking--including a whole bunch that none of the new ones have.

    The fact that you had to show that you were a member (i.e. were modified) of the community with photographic proof meant that it was filled entirely with people with whom everybody else had at least something in common. It was easy to make new actual friends, or go to BBQs, because there was some common bond. There were certainly cliques and drama, but the whole of the site actually felt like a community instead of high school.

    It was the general purpose social networking sites that came later. And by lacking any cohesion and trying to be useful to "regular people" with nothing in common except acquaintance, have lost the thread.

    I'd still be on IAM if not for a political shit-storm that utterly ruined the site about a year or two ago.
    posted by Netzapper at 4:16 AM on January 16, 2009


    I'm with Seinfeld. I can't handle more than about three friends.

    Next.
    posted by IndigoJones at 5:17 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Man, with all this Facebook hatred, I feel the need to give it a little bit of credit. And also, to make a confession.

    90% of my FPPs come from things that my friends shared on Facebook.

    And you call it "useless!"
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:54 AM on January 16, 2009


    Between AIM, email, phonecalls, and text messages, I already hear from my friends from around the world. Adding another vector, especially one so fraught with privacy concerns, just doesn't seem efficient.

    One of these things is not like the others: ie, between [four separate interactive mediums], I already hear from my friends. Adding [a passive broadcast collation] just doesn't seem efficient.

    FaceBook doesn't demand anything of you, other than you responding to friend requests. Then you can keep up with people, with no obligation on your part and for virtually no time investment. Stop responding to AIM/email/phone/text and they'll stop sending. FB isn't like that. It's a vastly easier way to stay connected.
    posted by bonaldi at 6:15 AM on January 16, 2009


    This reminds me, I'd love to have my metafilter activity cc'd to facebook. Has someone tried to do this or should I crack open the facebook API?
    posted by butterstick at 6:22 AM on January 16, 2009


    When 80% of the people you stay in contact on a day to day basis are using medium X, and 20% aren't, you start to get a bit frustrated with the 20% who aren't because you have to switch mediums to contact them. Which isn't that hard, I guess, but when you organize social gatherings though Facebook, or post photos of your kid on Facebook, it's understandable that you want everyone who would be interested to be on there.

    Don't you find it interesting, then, that Facebook doesn't allow you to have out-of-band communication with contacts you know that don't have a Facebook account?

    That is, this is a Facebook implementation issue. If they allowed you to set up contacts that would be sent e-mails the problem would be solved. Facebook fails you in this regard (correct me if I'm wrong) because they are not interested in helping you communicate and organize with friends. That you can do that with their tool (provided you only communicate with other Facebook users) is a convenient side-effect to the fact that you're participating in a mass targeted advertising scheme.
    posted by odinsdream at 6:43 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I occasionally look at my ranch on The Facebooks.

    Seriously though, I have a Facebook account. I don't remember the username or password though, and I've never logged into it. I'm not a technophobe. I had a cell phone in '93. I had an AOL account in '94. I ditched it when I discovered Netscape 3. I can crack open an iPod in 10 seconds flat. (I still miss my first gen. 5 gig like it was a family member) I just don't have the time for that Facebook stuff. I spend it all here, and a couple of other old-skool forums, where I have IRL friends. The last thing on earth I want is to get "friended" by some jock who picked on me in middle school. I'm still in touch with just about everyone I actually want to be in touch with -- sorry "frienders."
    posted by Devils Rancher at 7:00 AM on January 16, 2009


    I don't use Facebook. I'm perfectly happy if other people want to use Facebook, but I personally don't want to and I'm not going to be peer-pressured into it.

    I find it slightly funny, to be honest. I mean, I didn't expect anyone else to use e-mail in '94, IRC in '95, ICQ in '96, AIM in '97, LiveJournal in '99, Friends Reunited in '00, MSN Messenger in '01, Friendster in '02, Skype in '03, MySpace in '04, and Wordpress.com in '05, del.icio.us in '06, and Twitter in '07, but apparently I'm the weirdo for not joining Facebook in '08.
    posted by HaloMan at 7:18 AM on January 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    There's has definitely been an uptick in peer-to-peer Facebook recruiting very recently. Among my acquaintances, I think critical mass has been building and then the holidays with their real life intersections among people who don't see each other very often caused this flurry of realization about who is on it and who is not. It's not super appealing to me, but I'm thinking it's inevitable. Took me a very long time to get a cellphone too.
    posted by yarrow at 7:26 AM on January 16, 2009


    You're just proving every point I've made in this thread.

    "Every point [you] have made in this thread" is not an unwieldy list. Mostly I notice dismissals of university students -- the original user base -- as "children," your pinpointing trends among your RL friends (which I cannot address) and scorn for Mark Zuckerberg (which, to be fair, I agree with). Oh, and to call my comments defensive and silly and to characterize me as a zealot. This is not the high road to take (in my view) with anyone who holds a contrary position, but I suppose we all do what we can with what we have.

    Again, I don't care that much that others choose not to be on it. I have wondered aloud in this thread at some of the seemingly absurd strawman reasons -- SPAM! SCRAWLING ON THE WALL! ORBITAL SURVEILLANCE SATELLITES! -- those who aren't on the site have. All I can say is that it works for me.

    Look, for a lot of people whose real-life friends and family are widely scattered, it is an excellent, low-key way to keep up with people. I travel for work and for fun quite a lot, and so do many of my colleagues, as well as not a few other friends and family. To take an example: I have a cousin three months my junior whom I was fairly close to when we were kids -- it's easy to keep in touch when you are fourteen-year-olds going to high schools ten minutes apart. These days she is an airline pilot. I have seen her more times in the last two years than in the previous ten, and almost never in a city where either of us lives. I know right now she is in Costa Rica; she knows I am at home but will shortly be in Reykjavik... I think our paths will next cross in Vancouver or possibly in California somewhere. All this, due to That Site.

    I suggest reading the comments upthread about the broadcast nature of Facebook. I fail to see the strength of the "oh, if I want to contact my friends, I will just e-mail them or phone them" argument here. Would it have been practical for me to sit down and call up two or three hundred people last spring and say, "Hey, I am going to be in the Low Countries for about ten days in mid-May. What are you doing then?" I think not -- however, I put the word out on Facebook and had a blast with a couple of friends I met up with in Amsterdam. I see little difference between this and MeFi meetups.

    You can characterize this as proselytizing this if that suits you; I cannot stop you. All I can say is that it works for me.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:43 AM on January 16, 2009


    she knows I am at home but will shortly be in Reykjavik...

    Check out Vitabar on the corner of Vitastigur and... something. Forgot. Anyhow, it's not hard to find - it's on (as mentioned) Vitastigur right in the shadow of Hallgrimskirkja.

    Get the "Forget Me Not" burger. It's the greatest thing on the planet. Blue cheese & garlic. It's exactly the kind of dive bar in which you want to get a burger. I tell you this because in no way will this ever be mentioned in any kind of travel guide, ever.

    Unless you're a vegetarian, in which case "First Vegetarian" restaurant is awesome. This is right on Laugavegur and is pretty well advertised.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:54 AM on January 16, 2009


    A few days after a friend's spouse was killed by a drunk driver in a car accident, I received - amidst the usual mundane Facebook status updates - a notice that "(friend's name) is now single."

    Similarly, a few days after I learned that an acquaintance had died in an outdoor accident, his profile suddenly popped up in my "People You May Know" list. I didn't want to X him out, but it made my stomach turn to think of his profile receiving a friend request that would never be answered. Then again, death makes us uncomfortable regardless and there will always be loose ends.
    posted by kittyprecious at 8:22 AM on January 16, 2009


    A friend of mine died this summer right after sending out dozens of friend requests. All summer and autumn, my news feed kept announcing that "Rich is now friends with so-and-so." It was very unpleasant.
    posted by CunningLinguist at 8:36 AM on January 16, 2009


    Either the content is important enough that I need to know about it, in which case you'd better tell me regardless. Or, it's trivia, and I didn't want to hear it until the next time we're having a pint anyway.

    I totally understand the logic of this, but it isn't always quite that simple in actuality. For instance: X was a friend of my uncle's, and the godfather of my cousin. But my uncle died a few years ago, and my cousin moved out of NY, so I don't have a direct connection to X anymore. However, he is a sportswriter, and my boyfriend especially enjoys hanging out with him. On facebook it is easy to reconnect casually, without awkward emails to just say "hi, we still think you're cool, maybe we can hang out sometime" - If something general one of us posts (as a blog or status update or photo) is of interest, he can comment, or vice versa, or if my cousin posts something any of us can comment there - and then it's less awkward to send a note about meeting up (whether by private email, IM, or public wall post - all forms of online communication are available thru FB). ANd just by being linked as a "friend", there is the small reminder, so that if something comes up that seems relevant it is easy enough to click over and send a note.

    I guess the question is just whether a social networking site is really something we need at all - is it too invasive, or will we ultimately adjust to the levels of privacy that having an internet self and a real-world self will leave us with? I feel like I have a sense of some people's more private lives than I would have in a different era, and they have that of me, since I post pictures of my life, and updates of my emotional states and so on. Much like reality TV, and youtube, and all the rest of it - we're not in the victorian age anymore, for sure...

    But if we can handle the basic concept, I don't see why Facebook won't be the one we stick with. All the "give it a shot" versions of things are usually because the implementation of the thing is poor, like the pre-youtube video sites, or pre-google search engines, not because we want to perpetually change the standard (myspace was annoying to look at to start with; friendster had no apps or privacy settings...). If something takes over from facebook, some people will have to maintain both for a while, so something will have to be noticeably better about the new site to make people use it.
    posted by mdn at 9:14 AM on January 16, 2009


    ...Read through this whole thing again, and it hit me that people were talking more about the love/hate relationship with Facebook rather than Facebook itself, so to that end:

    ....Facebook is just a tool. Some need it, others don't. Some appreciate the convenience, some never quite got to grips with it. Some started out loving it but it's gotten to be annoying.

    But it's just a tool. Being rabidly in love with it or rabidly opposed to it strikes me as about as sensible as being rabidly crazy about, say, a hammer.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    You can characterize this as proselytizing this if that suits you; I cannot stop you.

    Nor should you try, because comments like "Do you boycotting sorts not wonder about the connections you are grimly happy to be missing out on, just out of misguided principle?" pretty much speak for themselves.
    posted by pineapple at 10:02 AM on January 16, 2009


    Also, ricochet biscuit, I notice that you spent a lot of time patently answering the question that I specifically didn't ask. I'll reiterate for you:

    "I understand why people who want to be on Facebook, are on Facebook. What I would like to understand is why people who want to be on Facebook seem so very threatened by people who don't want to be on Facebook."


    You have basically been the poster child for this, asserting that people who aren't on FB are all misguided, in denial, secretly miserable, etc.

    No amount of advocating for your personal user experience or favorite FB features are going to change the fact that you have placed yourself squarely in the camp of those rabid FB users who seem to need to justify your own decisions by judging the decisions of others. Decisions around what EmpressCallipygos so aptly analogized as a hammer.

    If "all you can say is that it works for you," repeatedly, then maybe you ought stop saying that you don't think much of those for whom it doesn't work.
    posted by pineapple at 10:10 AM on January 16, 2009


    You have basically been the poster child for this, asserting that people who aren't on FB are all misguided, in denial, secretly miserable, etc.

    In fairness, he's also said pretty much the same thing about a significant fraction of the people who are on Facebook, and even support it, but don't use it nearly as obsessively as he would like. I suspect he has some deep psychological need to believe that most people are less happy than him, which has nothing to do with Facebook.
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:37 AM on January 16, 2009


    (shrug) I never thought of it that way, but I guess I am pretty happy. I am not inclined to think of Facebook as being part of it, but I suppose having a delirious romance with someone I reconnected with through Facebook is at least a contributory factor to my present good cheer.

    And it's not that I don't think much of those for whom it doesn't work. I know several people who joined, used it for a bit, found it not to their taste, and moved on. In general, I just have limited patience for the OMG fact-free alarmist pieces I see about it, and sweeping declarations of its evil. It has good points and bad points, and for 150 million people or so, the former seem to outweigh the latter.

    By the way, the Globe and Mail has a piece today relevant to this discussion.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:22 AM on January 16, 2009


    I've been thinking a lot about social networks lately because I’ve been drifting away from most of them, and consequently falling out of touch with people who aren’t local – in other words, almost all my friends. It may be a failure of imagination on my part, because I can’t see past three options.

    1. Live life as a completely open book online, using your real name, details, etc. It keeps you honest, but just as important, social life gets more honest. The idea that your life has to be sterilized for professional consumption is slowly getting phased out and that's as it should be.
    2. Completely obfuscate your online identity and partition it from your offline life.
    3. Some weirdo combination of both where the rules shift so freely they can’t even be called loose guidelines. It's giddy but you're always checking your shoes to see if you've stepped in something.

    Some people I respect very much have opted for the open book but from private conversations with them I know that there is a price, often unstated, and that is: people who don't know you think they know you. There have always been boors -- people who presume intimacy that doesn't exist, who don't get the social cues that signal the party's over, or that they're being tactless or annoying -- but the open book approach means you can't escape them. There they are, following your feed and asking for the hairy details of XYZ, or looking at your Flickr page and wanting to know why you had people over but didn't invite them, and the more active you are online the more vexing the problem is.

    Some people I also respect very much obfuscate and feel liberated by it -- up until the point where their online identity becomes its own cage. All the self-editing required to keep one's identity hidden can get exhausting. If you do this on Metafilter, meetups are complicated and so are deeper friendships, for obvious reasons. There is also just being a convenient anonymous asshole, and the race you run in any online community to see how long you can preserve the signal to noise ratio before it's unbearable.

    Then there's the mixed bag, my option, and for a while it worked out well. On FB my husband and I have a combined account and use an amalgam of our names. At the start it was just a new place to keep up with our Internet pals and let local people know about shows and whatnot. But then we connected with old friends, and then goddamn find-a-friend found us, and now our nosiest damn relations, and it’s WORLDS COLLIDING. I don’t like it. Honesty is one thing, but the weird agelessness/boundary-crossing rhetoric of online communities is another. I talk differently to my grandmother than I talk to my friends than I talk to my acquaintances, and that feels right and good and natural to me. Online communication on FB is flattened to one tone, and it’s not one that works for the actual grit of life (like velvet winter’s poor widowed friend’s status change to “now single” perfectly shows). As I get older the idea of life being measured out in coffee spoons gets less poignant and more frightening. I don’t want my social life measured out in conversational coffee spoons. I miss intimacy and privacy and dignity. I don’t want other people’s lives to scroll by me like a damn tickertape. (I do want the perfect metaphor for this feeling but I just can’t find it.)

    All that combined with physical rootlessness just feels fatal to the heart for me. It’s painful, because some communities, in particular Metafilter, have genuinely meant something to me -- and as much as I resolve to stay in touch with the people I've connected to here, it's mostly just not happening. In the past I've resisted cynics who broadly claim all online interaction is fictional but I feel as if they're winning out, even though just laying it out like that invites their tiresome contempt. I have no earthly idea what to do about it. I’ve tried nothing, and I’m all out of ideas.
    posted by melissa may at 11:50 AM on January 16, 2009 [17 favorites]


    Flagged as awesome, Melissa May.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:24 PM on January 16, 2009


    I first joined Facebook about 4 years ago, when I started my PhD program and began teaching college freshmen. Being almost 10 years older than my students, I wanted to get a sense of who they were, what they were interested in, etc., so that I could communicate with them better. I also thought it'd be a good way to test their excuses; i.e., "I was sick all weekent, that's why I couldn't write the paper," vs. pictures of them doing kegstands on Saturday night at the Tri-Lam party.

    I stopped spying on my students, though, when one day as I pulled up one of my more attractive female student's profiles, and her new picture was her, in a bikini, in a hot tub, making out with another 18 yr. old sorority girl. I realized that thinking about that every time I looked at her in class was probably not a sound pedagogical strategy.
    posted by Saxon Kane at 12:34 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    What always annoys me about friends not on facebook is they still expect you to send them pictures from parties and trips and on and on. And you've got to be kidding me if you think I am also going to upload pics onto flikr or whatever random website of your choice and then send out an email announcing to everyone (who may or may not be interested in the pics from last night's party) that they are on said website. I mean you don't even have to fill out the profile, I will still accept you as my friend, but if you want my photos (the ones I have deemed for mass consumption by my friends) you are going to have to log onto facebook and copy the ones you like. It's easily accessible, it's free, and I'm not going to do extra work because you need to "not conform with the masses".
    posted by whoaali at 12:56 PM on January 16, 2009


    whoaali makes a good case for joining Facebook. I totally get annoyed at people for posting stuff inside the walled garden that is Facebook, but I can't really fault people for that since Facebook makes it so easy.
    posted by chunking express at 1:26 PM on January 16, 2009


    whoaali makes a good case for joining Facebook.

    Maybe. But I read that and thought, "I agree that the people who refuse to adopt the technology and then expect everyone else to cater to them are the ones being unreasonable, in that scenario."

    It didn't strike me as a good reason to join FB, though; it just sounds like those unreasonable people need to stop having unreasonable expectations.
    posted by pineapple at 3:14 PM on January 16, 2009


    I just think it's funny that people have such a strong opinion on the subject. I mean sometimes I sign up for things because I want to read one article or so many different random things. I might leave it half filled out and use it 3 times a year, but it's there when I need it. I feel like there are some people who do that with facebook, but so many more that staunchly refuse to do so.
    posted by whoaali at 3:34 PM on January 16, 2009


    But it's just a tool. Being rabidly in love with it or rabidly opposed to it strikes me as about as sensible as being rabidly crazy about, say, a hammer television.

    I think that's a better analogy. A hammer has a much more limited functionality, no?

    For what it's worth, I enjoy Facebook *moderately*. It allows me to leave many pointless quips on many people's pages, or ignore it completely for weeks, and it doesn't annoy me at all. I've had mostly success with privacy settings and turning off e-mail alerts. Also, I've found that customizing my feed (ignore moderate friends and pay more attention to close friends) works pretty well.

    In many ways, it is similar to MetaFilter. Friends often post interesting things to read, or family post videos and pictures, and they occasionally make me laugh. It's certainly not an "essential" tool, but it is mostly enjoyable for me.

    I have several close friends who are not on Facebook, and the only times it ever comes up is when they are slagging on it. I do expect to see them (like many of you) on it in the future, but I don't say a thing.

    There's has definitely been an uptick in peer-to-peer Facebook recruiting very recently.

    I think it explodes for everyone at some point. My close friends and I who were already on Facebook said the same thing a year or two ago.

    I also enjoy MySpace for deciding which music I should download. I also am a fan of Bill Withers, but not on Facebook. ;)
    posted by mrgrimm at 4:48 PM on January 16, 2009


    in the past I've resisted cynics who broadly claim all online interaction is fictional but I feel as if they're winning out, even though just laying it out like that invites their tiresome contempt.

    I feel like this sometimes too. I was really sad when email became the norm and no one sent snail mail anymore, because I used to love sending and receiving letters (and other packages in the mail, including paper zines and art projects). BUt it's pointless to try to get people not to use email. It's artificial to only write letters in the internet age - it was a different time.

    We run into the same issue with cable news and cell phones and all the rest of it in the information age. Things are different, and the ideas of privacy, dignity, multiple roles for different contexts, are somewhat at odds with current ideas of open, equal, & shameless, which have gained more and more ground as information sharing has increased... I don't know that we can go home again, basically.

    Facebook flattens but expands social networks - interactions are not as deep or nuanced as they'd be if you had a porch and neighbors passed by regularly with details about life, but few people have a porch with many neighbors to start with, and basically no one with as many neighbors as they can have on their facebook page. I think this is how the information age in general is going - we have more information, but it is more superficial. A couple centuries ago, you would read your book in your room, and then sit and think about it, or talk to someone about it. Now we can do so much more, which is great, except that sometimes we forget to do that simple part, of actually thinking about, reflecting on, what we read (or watch, or listen to, or whatever). I don't know if we can have it all.

    Maybe we can have cycles of hippie escapism from our over-saturated culture... Funnily enough, my parents were part of that movement in the 70s, and I have gotten in touch with a lot of their previously very rural (down to kerosene-lamps-and-outhouses-rural) friends through Facebook... It is good to be in touch with these people again, and to read updates about life in the country, but it is weird to think of those folks as being on Facebook. Obviously, things change.
    posted by mdn at 8:37 PM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    you've got to be kidding me if you think I am also going to upload pics onto flikr or whatever random website of your choice and then send out an email announcing to everyone (who may or may not be interested in the pics from last night's party) that they are on said website.

    This. Except I don't expect everyone in my life to get on Facebook. As a former holdout, I completely understand if they don't want to. It's just that I get reminded (ooooh, right, you didn't see that set of pics, did you?) and then have to kick myself in the ass to bother republishing on Flickr.
    posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:15 PM on January 16, 2009


    Thanks very much, EmpressCallipygos.

    Things are different, and the ideas of privacy, dignity, multiple roles for different contexts, are somewhat at odds with current ideas of open, equal, & shameless...

    That's well said, and it troubles me to be on the conservative side of that equation. I've supported MySpace in the past despite its tackiness because it's open and equal, and because a lot of people connect to arts and music and political/civic life that way (I watched the live streams of the Presidential debates there, for example) and there are still cool little pockets lurking around. It's the same with Facebook. I can't help but like broad connection in principle.

    But there's other losses that bother me more. I'm thinking about your point about information without reflection, and additionally the ascension of memoir and reality media, the gorier the better. One of the reasons David Foster Wallace's death hit me so hard was that he was that he was so good at articulating the dissonance of a life simultaneously lived and performed, the way that hyperawareness shapes one's actions -- the weirdness of living a highly branded life from birth. I seriously need a great artist to help me sort it out. It's not just my friends' and families' lives that are whizzing by, it's history itself, in bits and noise that I can't parse. Can anyone? There's this massive feeling of failure -- of information so dense and specialized that the institutions we've built to preserve yesterday and survive today have been unraveled by some rapacious motherfuckers in ways that can barely be explained, much less responded to, much less made to cohere into narrative.

    And that's what's wrong with the world, of which Facebook is a part, so this entire comment has been completely on point. Aren't you glad I sorted that all out? Status: Feeling doomed, yet looking forward to Tuesday and seeing my country finally respond to a good karma request.
    posted by melissa may at 11:54 PM on January 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


    Facebook is to the internet as a goldfish bowl is to the ocean.

    Some people like to watch orange fish swimming around for a bit before they go immobile. Some goldfish bowls have stones and dust and no fish. Some are really cool and a lot effort is spent on keeping the inhabitants healthy and pleasant to look at. None of them are the real thing.
    posted by w.fugawe at 8:57 AM on January 17, 2009


    Facebook finally hit a large section of my friend circle at the end of last year and I joined--not because I felt incredible peer pressure but because a good college friend of my husband's with whom we'd lost touch sent him an invitation. I found out last year that the friend's wife had had cancer and we hadn't known to send our love and support because we were off the mailing list that our set was using ten years ago.

    I was concerned about Facebook's privacy (eg, the Beacon stuff), but they seem to have learned part of their lesson about that. Thanks to whoever linked that Sophos thing; it made me check my privacy settings and make sure if I do something on Yelp, it won't show up on Facebook. But I concluded that even if it was a big marketing scheme, the value of being in touch with people I actually do care about--even if it is superficial touch--is more valuable than the amount of marketing data I generate for Facebook.

    All the people saying it's a tool are right. Are there things that annoy me about it? Sure. If I never get another request to play in an rpg application or to exchange green presents, it'll be too soon. And I don't particularly feel the need to get in contact with most of the people I went to high school with; they're nice people but I don't have much in common with them now that I'm 40 and well out of high school. But I do like being able to keep in loose contact with people I already know. Facebook seems pretty good at that.
    posted by immlass at 9:25 AM on January 17, 2009


    I really do know where you're coming from, melissa may, and I feel it often myself. But as I'm sure you're aware, it's a little ironic we're having this conversation online.

    It seems like you're talking about the foundation of nostalgia, the yearning for simpler times when people were more patient, deeper, more reflective - and as technology hurdles forward, multiplying connections, it turns out it doesn't do anything for how we actually use those connections, for the meaning behind them. Sometimes we're better at noticing meaning when there is less going on, the way we appreciate what we have more when times are tough.
    posted by mdn at 3:13 PM on January 17, 2009


    MetaFilter: to the internet as a goldfish bowl is to the ocean.
    posted by UbuRoivas at 3:35 PM on January 17, 2009


    Facebook: More Popular Than Porn

    (via Facebook)
    posted by CunningLinguist at 4:01 PM on January 17, 2009


    Wow. As someone who just isn't interested in Facebook, I just saved so much time not even thinking about all the stuff in this post. Amazing so many people actually tend to this thing.
    posted by trii at 6:56 PM on January 17, 2009


    best you avoid metatalk altogether, then.
    posted by UbuRoivas at 8:50 PM on January 17, 2009


    The fact that Facebook became a platform six months ago

    It's been a little longer.

    I'll see you on January 15, 2014, right here. No cash needed; my smug grin of satisfaction will be my reward. I'll bring links to all the mainstream business articles that look back on Facebook as the Pets.com of this decade.

    On the basis of sheer probability, Pets.com seems at first glance to be the likely kind of comparison, given that the 90s had many stories more like Pets.com and Webvan than it had Amazons and Ebays.

    But Facebook has been the premiere social media platform for nearly as long as Pets.com's entire lifetime, and is closing in on an age arguably longer than the length of the dotcom boom...
    posted by weston at 1:58 PM on January 18, 2009


    Re Pets.com, I'm not talking about length of viability, but rather valuations that are astronomically over-inflated. I feel strongly that with the benefit of hindsight, we are going to see that Facebook seemed at its heyday like All That Is Right With Social Networking, but ended up not actually being the Second Coming after all. Only time will tell.

    But, since I can't count months correctly, I'm not sure I should be allowed to weigh in anyway.
    posted by pineapple at 3:38 PM on January 18, 2009


    I was nagged into joining facebook last year, and did a tepid entry ... until I read this news:

    Facebook hires Alberto Gonzales' former chief of staff (as General Counsel).

    Yes, indeed, the owner is scum.



    ... no, I am not there anymore ...
    posted by Surfurrus at 5:00 PM on January 19, 2009


    valuations that are astronomically over-inflated. I feel strongly that with the benefit of hindsight, we are going to see that Facebook seemed at its heyday like All That Is Right With Social Networking, but ended up not actually being the Second Coming after all. Only time will tell.

    it doesn't have to be a second coming. I think the idea is that it becomes like google or youtube, a standard application rather than a fleeting trend. And I guess the reasoning is that it has multiple uses. Some people join it to use IM, some to find friends, some to play Scrabble, some to watch videos or share photos, some to blog, some to send invites, etc. All of these things can be done through other applications, but this way, all of them can be done through one place, and you don't have to remember screen names etc, but just connect to your friends, near and far, and most useful of all, you can control levels of privacy, so that if you want to put up photos but only show them to certain people, etc, you can do that.

    Myspace and friendster were simpler applications, for hanging out and "meeting people", which made them more popular with teenagers or single people looking for dates (respectively), whereas Facebook is being joined by ordinary folks with families and jobs and stuff, to see pictures of their nephews or know when their friend has a reading, or check in once a week with mom or play a game with their old college roommate once the kids are in bed.

    i think the critical thing will be handling the awkwardness of real life through internet life, as I said above. Death was mentioned, and I think the other major hurdle is divorce or break-ups. It's hard enough in real life when friends go through a break-up, but especially weird seeing that on their facebook pages [a sudden switch from "in a relationship" to "single", eg], and dealing with potential defriending of mutual friends etc in such an abstract way. If we'd been connected like this during my last breakup, I could imagine some stupidly high schoolish bullshit after the fact... Maybe not, maybe we'd both have just stayed off facebook for a while, & then quietly defriend, but the internet does provide the possibility for more immaturity rather than less... I think the key is just remembering that it is just a tool, and not a way of life.

    (not saying facebook = internet, but whatever standardized social network there is, if we choose to have one, which i think is the interesting question here.)
    posted by mdn at 12:16 PM on January 20, 2009


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