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Facebook impressions [Aug. 25th, 2007|08:37 am]
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[mood |cynicalcritical]

Facebook is made to be fun. That's good. I like fun. I'm so enthusiastic about life most of the time, it's not hard for me not to get excited and quickly grow to like all manner of people and things. One of the quickest ways to make me grow tired of you is to try to impress me or make me like you. And Facebook, so far, is trying too hard. It's trying to be my best friend, and I never like that. It wants to be an indispensable part of my life. And really, it's not actually that good.

It's meant to be easy to use. And it is, very easy to use. So long as you're using it the way Facebook wants you to use it. It's designed so you can easily add your friends to your networks. Unless they have a non-standard (i.e. hotmail or similar) email address.

Easy, easy, easy. That's the main thing about Facebook. It's designed to be easy, and to keep you doing things on Facebook! It doesn't want you to achieve anything else. It wants you to sit there for hours, adding more and more pointless applications, doing little that is different from everyone else on Facebook.

I joined Facebook because it looked like it would be a useful, low-level networking tool in addition to LJ, and it is to some degree. However it does little to stimulate my creative side, because it tries to do everything for me, whether I want it to or not.

Some of the applications are right up my alley. I love the movie one, for instance. And the travel map is great (have I really seen that much of Australia? Wow... What do you fucking mean I can't add Eucla?!), but most of the apps are just silly time-wasters. Again, I don't mind that, but they are specifically designed to be viral.

So, someone gets the "Annoying humourous name generator" application, picks you off their friends list, and gives you an annoying humourous name. The first you know about it is a message telling you that "John Howard has given you an Annoying Humourous Name!" You click to find out what it is... and you're told to install the application first.

Okay, that only takes a moment, literally. Then it brings up a list of your friends and suggests picking some for annoying humourous names - it wants you to spread the app - instead of just telling you what the fuck Howard's saying about you now. After having to click not to pick any of the ten random friends Facebook wants you to infect with the meme, you find out that your humourous name, Cunting Terrorist, is off a standard list. Oh there are options to put in your own humourous name, but they won't have the cute little picture of a terrorist with a gaping chest-wound that looks vaguely like a vagina.

Facebook is fun and easy, and there are definitely applications that do engage your mind, but the majority of them that I've struck so far are just silly viral time-wasters. And I really do resent that on something that makes itself so easy to use, it tries to make you jump through its hoops before you find out what your friend has sent you. You can avoid this, but I haven't found an easy way yet.

When I'm too tired to write, I can still do stuff on Facebook, and therein is lies its seductive nature - You don't have to have an active mind to feel you've accomplished something.

It is a handy tool, no doubt about it. One of the first things I did was to set up a group for Continuum, figuring it would be a handy way of networking and reaching folks. I've already been put in contact with someone I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise, so my prime reason for joining Facebook has already paid off. And no doubt people will point me towards other useful or fun applications.

And I like things like the status indicator, though given that I most enjoy Facebook when I'm tired, I'll have to avoid regularly having status lines like "laying around exhausted," "braindead," and my default state of "bloody horny," or "masturbating furiously."

I also like the "Superlatives" application, though at this point while I may vote for folks who have had stock superlatives attributed to them, I'd rather make up my own for people. I can give each person something individual, and I like that. I was too shy to use "Most likely to make me moan with desire," and "Most likely to have the hottest user picture," but who knows what the future holds. Besides, I can still sms cock to people - one word, a thousand meanings, from the subtle to the gross.

Hey... there's one. Most likely to COCK! Okay, so there is at least one superlative I'll re-use.

But overall, I feel I have to think at least a small amount when I do an LJ post. Even if no-one else expects it of me, I like to try and put a little thought into most posts.

Oh and the one thing I actually found offensive about Facebook? When filling in my profile details, I mentioned I'm married. Facebook wanted to know who I'm married to, so I filled in Sharon's name. She didn't appear in my profile because she's not on Facebook.

It seems that if someone's not on Facebook, they don't exist.

At least, that's what they want you to believe.

[User Picture]From: mortonhall
2007-08-25 01:41 am (UTC)
you have successfully discouraged me from having anything to do with facebook for the time being
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2007-08-25 01:53 am (UTC)

It is good, but it's designed to suck you in and keep you there. I'll probably do a lot on Facebook, but only because I send so much time tired and braindead. When I have the mental energy, I've dozens of things I want to write, and I'd much rather use my time that way.

That said, I've just recommended to Sharon that she may want to get on it, because of the networking angle. There will be people she's worked with on it. Shaz has been liked by most of her workmates, so for future career moves, it's potentially very handy if utilised right.

I can also see it being good for things like the MSFC and Continuum, as people look at their friends groups and discover them.

It's the timewasting aspect (the same problem I have with many memes on LJ) that I hate.
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[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2007-08-25 02:16 am (UTC)
For me, Facebook justified its existence by putting me back in touch with a friend who'd dropped out of sight, and I do look at the 'I'm Reading' page occasionally to see what I might be missing out on.

But yes, I agree with you about the timewasting aspect - and I'm also less than impressed by their 'top friends' application and other popularity contests: it seems a bit too junior high school. If you're using something for networking with other professionals, it's probably not a good idea to send them werewolf hugs or things of that ilk.

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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2007-08-25 03:47 am (UTC)
That's what I'm hoping for out of it as well, to catch some friends who've dropped through the cracks.

The Top Friends thing irritated the hell out of me the moment I saw it.
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From: haircaspian
2007-08-28 01:35 pm (UTC)
Addictive things when I'm tired is a problem for me. It makes it hard when I need to pull myself away and sleep.

Also it feels like it wants me to put my entire life online for all to see.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2007-08-28 01:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'd never want to do that! Brrrr!

Hey... wait a minute...
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2007-08-25 05:45 am (UTC)
The thing about Facebook is its the online networky thing that your non-geeky friends, the ones who would never have an LJ account (and who aren't teenagers who use myspace) are most likely to have. As far as connecting with my geeky friends, I think facebook will be a passing phase - LJ lets me communicate with them with actual conversation. But I have managed to connect with lots of other people that I wouldn't have otherwise, and in many cases that I had lost track of. IN particular, all my old politics friends seem to have facebooked - I have two MPs on my facebook flist - and re-establishing contact with them has been enough to justify the account for me easily.
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From: ex_benpayne119
2007-08-25 02:21 am (UTC)
I just joined a couple of days ago. At the moment I can see it being useful for getting in touch with old friends, etc. But it doesn't seem as interesting as lj, in terms of conversation. I suspect that yeah a lot of it is marketed at a younger crow.
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[User Picture]From: mondyboy
2007-08-25 03:01 am (UTC)
Facebook is brilliant. Love it to pieces and use it mostly so I can play Scrabble which I have found strangely addictive. It's also got old Nintendo games on it. Which is just cool.

As for the apps. Well I ignore 90% of them. I mean they're annoying, but things like the virtual booksheld and scrabble and the nintendo emulator are worth it.
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[User Picture]From: mondyboy
2007-08-25 03:04 am (UTC)
I should add that through facebook I've been able to connect with old workmates and friends. And just for that it's worth it.

As with most things popular, there's always going to be a negative reaction from those who hate the idea of being one of the herd. But there is great benefit in Facebook. Yes, it's a huge timewaster. But once you figure out what it's about - and that takes a month - it can be very beneficial.

Jules and I love it. It's been an easy way to share our wedding photos to a wide audience.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2007-08-25 03:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, catching up with lost mates is always nice.

I've avoided Scrabble only because I know I'll then keep playing it over and over again.

Sharing the photos is ok, I guess... it's sharing the film likes that's important! NIce to know I can visit and if we were to watch something it's likely to be something we'd all enjoy :)
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[User Picture]From: buoy_wonder
2007-08-25 03:43 am (UTC)
Oddly enough the only reason I joined up facebook is to play Scrabble with my co-workers.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2007-08-25 03:53 am (UTC)
You and so many others, it seems!
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From: gutter_monkey
2007-08-25 04:19 am (UTC)
I'm getting my ass kicked in about 6 Scrabble games atm. I suck at Scrabble.

And I press the 'ignore' button on at least 3 or 4 application invitations ever day. I've got more than enough applications at the moment.

But I do enjoy building up a few day's worth of credits in the 'My Garden' application and filling up someone else's garden with a ridiculous number of silly things.
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[User Picture]From: goth_kittie
2007-08-25 07:22 am (UTC)
Ok even though I'm a facebook offender....

... I have not laughed as hard as I did when I read the honesty in this post. You've made a day where I wasn't feeling the best into something I have had a brilliant laugh about. :)

Now back to facebook's endless movie quiz..... :P ;)
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2007-08-25 10:11 am (UTC)
Glad I'm given you a smile :)
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2007-08-25 10:10 am (UTC)

Re: facebook

You're not missing much at all, guys. Its most useful aspect is the networking, the bells and whistles I find somewhat annoying, as I mentioned.
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From: gutter_monkey
2007-08-26 07:59 am (UTC)
The other WONDERFUL use of facebook is that if you can't bring yourself to tell your SO that you're breaking up with them to their face you can change your facebook status to 'single' and let them (and all their friends & family) find out that way.

There's a discussion on one of my forums about breakups and people have actually done this.
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[User Picture]From: vegetus
2007-08-26 09:34 pm (UTC)
Well said. I recently joined facebook as a few people suggested/recommended it and then kindly pointed out I didn't have to put my picture up. Alot of other volunteers have them to picture share which is useful I guess.

However it's disturbingly easy to find people. I have managed to track down heaps of people I went to school with, used to work with and various family members. Now I assume it would be just as easy for them to find me. And it wouldn't let me use a handle or nickname.

Now I have a problem. I like my lj, my blog etc because I can control to a certain extent who knows about it and what they see. I write a particularly ranty piece that I am happy to share with a select few people and on lj I can filter it, on facebook it seems everything is public to everyone. Which basically means my facebook is going to be incredibly empty. I keep people separate in my life for a reason.

If someone sends me a message I find that I get a email with a link forcing me to log on to facebook, how much harder is it to actually send the damn message? It's a terrible time waster and not particularly interesting.

I'm still not sold on this, though it has ment a couple of friends I haven't seen in awhile and I have bounced messages which is nice I suppose.
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[User Picture]From: dig0ry
2007-08-30 04:01 am (UTC)
I agree with you about the annoying viral aspect of some of the apps on Facebook. Almost every day I get invitations to add some application or other. Most of them I just ignore.

I have spent many hours having fun on there and I've renewed some old friendships from my past lives. Its even led to a hookup with an old girlfriend!!

You can add me if you want:

William Andrews, Whitby, Ontario, Canada.

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