Don’t Be A Facebook Whore

“Keeping up with Plaxo, LinkedIn, and Facebook is bad enough, but I now sense that really ugly things are happening to those platforms making them less and less useful to me. It’s the rise of the social networking application. You know what I am talking about, those applications that are built by third-party developers to take advantage of the social network ecosystem the companies are so proud to create but we all come to hate over time. My friend Ira is a Facebook whore. He signs-up for every cause, group, or application sent to him by, well, anybody. Then what’s even worse is he expects me to sign-up too so he can send me whatever crap is the specialty of that subgroup. I love you, Ira, but I just can’t do as you ask.”

I really couldn’t have said it better myself – check out Robert Cringely’s full article. What’s going on now with social networking sites/applications is similar to what happened with email. The signal to noise ratio is rapidly becoming more noise than signal, and it’s frustrating to watch happen. Let’s take Twitter for example: like any form of communication, it has it’s uses for some people, but like most new forms of communication, it gets abused at first – kind of like when your mom first gets email and she spends the first year forwarding you jokes and urban legends. I think we’re at the high-water mark of Twitter abuse and maybe 2009 is the year when people stop twitting everything they do/see. Or maybe Twitter will just die – they have no business model after all – and this will all be moot.

Back to Facebook: I went through my “friends” list and removed about two dozen people. I thought I could be all clever and create a list and move some of my business contacts into it, but it seems with lists you don’t get much control over what they see…so it seems that putting people into the limited category is still the only option if you want to have your real friends see what’s going on in your life, and your business acquaintances see a simpler, more sanitized version. I can’t be the only one that wants to share more of my life with my friends than with people I know in a professional capacity, but Facebook sure doesn’t seem to understand that.

  • chrisgohlke

    “kind of like when your mom first gets email and she spends the first year forwarding you jokes and urban legends”

    I wish that ended after the first year.

    “Or maybe Twitter will just die”

    I hope not, I love twitter. It is LiveJournal for the lazy. My updates are only to those followers that I have approved, so not broadcast. I have a small group of friends that we use it as a group chat that has the advantage of not having to be real time. Also, the 140 character limit makes you be concise.

  • Mysekurity

    Facebook went from a cool website just for friends in-the-know service to a lame, overpopulated and constantly declining platform for stupid applications. I’m sorry to say, but once the tech pundits and business people went on, the fun instantly went out as Facebook tried to be everything to everybody. I understand they’re trying to make as much money as they can, but really, people with thousands of “friends” kill it for the rest of us.

    Burger King’s got a great campaign making fun of this phenomenon: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10136679-36.html.

  • Mysekurity,
    I know what you mean. I think Facebook would have tremendous value to me as a service to connect me with people I’m actually friends with, but once people started using it to connect with business acquaintances, and PR people started using it to connect with bloggers and tech enthusiasts, it quickly lost all relevance. In the past month I’ve deleted about 20 or so people that I’m simply not friends with, and it stuns me to see someone requesting to be re-added. I scratch my head at the way relationships can be so distorted – when one person perceives a deeper meaning to a relationship than the other person does. It’s so strange and awkward. I’m pondering trying to “re-claim Facebook” by deleting everyone except those people I truly want to be connected with. I’m not sure I’m willing to deal with the potential relational fall-out from business associates and my peers. 🙁