Monday, February 18, 2008

Facebooking

Okay. I've spent a few weeks on Facebook and I think I have a good sense of its pros and cons.

First of all, it IS a wonderful way to keep casually in touch with people, usually in a cute and noncommittal way. You can find out what people are up to, remind them about upcoming events, share pictures with them, and basically take care of all the stuff that you'd never bother calling or emailing about.

The thing is, some people are VERY ACTIVE within Facebook. They're constantly posting updates, adding applications, and joining groups, and every time this happens you are notified about it. Not coincidentally, the people who do this frequently tend to be the people I am only tangentially friendly with, so I spend my Facebook sessions being bombarded by crap from people who I care little about.

And I'm automatically distrustful of these applications I'm always prompted to install. I doubt there's any security risk involved, but in my opinion they're just useless clutter that I'll never use anyway. Why do I need a special application in order to get a pleasant message from somebody? Why don't people just send me a nice email, instead of forcing me to install a "good karma" application?

I suspect the answer is because the applications are one step further removed from regular human interaction. If somebody sends me an email saying "you're hot," I am generally creeped out. But if they prompt me to install a "you're hot" application -- and I know that all of THEIR friends are being prompted to install it as well -- it stops being a REAL message and becomes something else, like a happy wave or a drunken "cheers."

Obviously there are many different ways of looking at Facebook; some people see it as a vibrant community, some as a lifestyle, some as a networking tool, and some -- like me -- as a way to maintain casual contact. And since I'm bad at keeping in contact this is a good thing, but I REALLY don't want to be reminded every time somebody I barely know is washing their hair.

18 comments:

Jenn said...

I'm guilty of continuously updating my status, but I generally don't send invites for the apps, because they are annoying. I'm mostly on Facebook for the Scrabble!

JJ said...

If somebody sends me an email saying "you're hot," I am generally creeped out.

But what about those people who just skip the boring, obvious prelims and decide in the amazingly eloquent words of Mike Tyson that, "they are going to f*** you till you love them?" I am sure you must be getting some mails like that too. :-)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I'll have to add another category to the list: people who see Facebook as a place to play Scrabulous! :)

Updating status alone is not annoying, mainly because it only takes one line in the notifications page. It's the people who go all out in EVERY area who bother me: changing status, joining groups, leaving groups, sending invites, sending notes.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I am fortunately not getting those emails, but that could be because nobody has invented the "Pitch Mike Tyson Woo" application. :)

Jenn said...

I think you can 'teach' Facebook not to leave you those notifcations. There is an 'x' beside them on your home page. Maybe try that, see if they don't stop showing up.

Morgan James said...

I too use FB for Scrabble - a lot. Ah, my inner geek is showing.

I block out the type of notifications I don't want to see, although I too am guilty of continuously updating my status

morgan james said...

it's better than MySpace which drives me mad

scott said...

I use the facebook chiefly as a networking tool, inviting folks to parties and all that. My applications are minimal, and are indeed the biggest hazard in my eyes, aside from the 'should I be friends with someone who knows me from a bar sometime or look like a big jerk' moral quandary.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Thanks Jenn, Facebook does seem to be learning when I click that "X." May I no more get daily dream journals from she who shall remain naimless...

Regading the moral quandries...yes, there are a few of those. The one I tend to face is "do I really know this person who wants to be my friend, or are they a complete stranger?"

Anonymous said...

or do I know this stranger person?

tanzi said...

FYI: I am washing my hair...AND losing at Scrabulous!

tanzi said...

This has NOTHING to do with your latest post but I had nowhere else to put it. I could have Facebooked you a message but...
Anyway, I just looked at your profile and found myself shocked to read you were 35. It just didn't seem possible. Then, I realized that I, too, am 35! I just had one of those time warp moments where you remember being with cool people when you were young and never imagined yourself beyond 20. Weird. sigh.
We're 35!!!

Muffy St. Bernard said...

After every birthday I begin to prepare myself for the next one, so I don't feel that strange "I'm 35" feeling. 40, however, will be different.

You're right, did we ever think we'd be 35? I remember my OWN parents being 35, and they were SO OLD. And the cool older people that we looked up to -- the ones who worked in stores and sold us neat stuff -- are now in their late '40s.

Creepy!

JJ said...

I remember my OWN parents being 35

Yup. I am now older than my first concrete memories of my mother. :-)

Regarding Facebook: Check out the Obama Barrack website - if you were an American, it would have you voluntering in next to no time. So no surprise to learn one of Facebook's co-founder is working for Obama. :)

Johnny Atomic said...

I found turning 40 to be quite pleasant, thank you...

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I do believe that 40 will be "different," but not necessarily "bad." :)

forty&fab said...

40 year old drag queens are almost as hard to employ as 40 year old actresses

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Heck, TWENTY year old drag queens are almost as hard to employ as forty year old actresses.