Last weekend, I realized that I don't care about 80% of these people. I would waste countless hours a week browsing through photos, profiles, and status updates from people who I've hardly ever known. Not in a creepy stalker way, just in an aimless zoned-out kind of way. Impulsively, I deleted 600 friends (leaving me with about 160) without even feeling the slightest bit of guilt or loss.
For me, Facebook was not a networking tool. Facebook had not provided me with social experiences that would have otherwise been lost. Facebook did not connect me with people I would have otherwise not been connected with. Facebook was wasting countless hours of my time that could have been spent on more productive and rewarding endeavors.
Facebook has transformed meaningful interactions into emotionless clicks and keystrokes. I'm really considering getting rid of my account altogether for a more wholesome social experience.
For me, Facebook was not a networking tool. Facebook had
not provided me with social experiences that would have
otherwise been lost. Facebook did not connect me with
people I would have otherwise not been connected with.
Facebook was wasting countless hours of my time that could
have been spent on more productive and rewarding endeavors.
As for your analogy - a paper is quite literally a blank canvas. You can create anything that you can imagine, assuming your talents allow. Facebook, however, is not a blank canvas. Far from it. Facebook confines its users to a predetermined set of rules for their own benefit ($).
Edit: to elaborate on my last point - when was the last time you saw something truly incredible created entirely via Facebook? Something absolutely amazing that just blew your mind. Please let me know. I'm ready to be educated.
Then you're not using it right. For me, Facebook is absolutely a creative outlet-- it is a blogging service aimed at a limited audience of readers, i.e., my friends.
Furthermore: all genres have limitations; that's what makes them genres. There are predetermined sets of rules for almost every type of creative endeavour.
As for your final question: why does created entirely via Facebook come into it? Facebook, like all good communication channels, includes citationality. You might as well say that YouTube cannot be used as a creative medium, because the videos were not created purely within Youtube.
It seems obvious to me that a service like Facebook is useful and desirable. The specific implementation has much I don’t like but the concept is great.
Have we done anything particularly creative using just Facebook? No, not really, but we have helped gather support for local artists and musicians, who do do creative things. As rimantas noted, Facebook is just a tool. It can be a waste of time , but that doesn't mean it's always a waste of time.
: A pen and paper can be a waste of time as well. Just look at all the people doodling during lectures.
Wired article summary with citation of the research paper:
Let's go with photos as an example, since they are a pretty integral part of Facebook. I love taking photos while on vacation. I take photos for two reasons: to reminisce at some point in the future, and to share my experiences with friends and family... even if those photos convey just a fraction of the real-life experience of the vacation. When I return from vacation, how do I share all of these photos with friends? Facebook, of course - it's easy, convenient, and everybody is already connected. As great as it seems, I somehow feel absolutely terrible after sending off so many emotion-packed photographs into the endless abyss that is Facebook. I feel empty and unsatisfied. I know that these photographs, displayed so carelessly upon lifeless white background, will never convey the experiences that I had. It's just not a natural form of expression.
I realized a lot of people on Facebook are there to collect friends like it's a status symbol. I really didn't like having college friends, coworkers, professors, high school buddies, employers, random celebrities/bands all lumped into one list together, there needs to be a way too separate these groups.
I was on Facebook when there were only a few schools on it, and it was very useful and very relevant. Because there were no other schools on it, I was only friends with friends from college and there were certainly no high schoolers or parents on it; you had to have a university address.
Facebook essentially got to where they were because that privacy made it awesome, and then promptly lost the very thing that made people trust them with their data to begin with, which was a limited user base.
I say this tongue in cheek of course because I'm always telling everyone that I don't use Facebook. It's kind of difficult at times, but really, the people who I want to talk to will still find ways to talk to me. Better, I find that not using Facebook frees up a lot of time that I wasn't really aware that I was using.
miss out a lot of social interaction
This has been my experience as well.
The thing I believe about Facebook is that it's usage figures are driven by an underlying fear in those that use it that they may miss out on some social event between their friends.
I have three further beliefs in this area: 1) That Facebook is becoming the new TV in terms of using cognitive surplus and 2) that it is becoming the media in which people wait for a shared social event (see below), and 3) that games within Facebook are used because of the fear of missing a shared social event.
To the latter first, if people are on Facebook and stuff is changing ever so subtly all the while, then the people feel a sense of anticipation that something may happen, and they really don't want to be the one person in their social group to miss it. They play Farmville because it passes the time and amuses them, but they only do so because it is within Facebook. They would not leave Facebook to play Farmville as Facebook is where the social event will appear and that is what they don't want to miss. So Farmville and other games within Facebook are used by those who fear missing a social event as a tool to help justify to themselves staying on Facebook waiting for the social event.
To the second, TV used to deliver social events. In the UK many people still recall the first time that they saw Boy George on Top Of The Pops and the chat across the country the next day. It was a shared social event that works because everyone witnesses it at the same time. The fragmentation of TV from the few terrestrial channels into hundreds of channels and the rise of the internet have both heavily diluted the ability for TV to deliver this king of shared social event. Aside from X Factor train wrecks, not much can be relied upon to have been seen by the majority of your social circle.
And to the first I was at a Facebook sales presentation only yesterday in Covent Garden and some fantastical statistic was quoted along the lines of "X billion minutes are spent on Facebook each month". In my head I heard the word "wasted" rather than "spent" and recalled Clay Shirky's rant on this http://www.shirky.com/herecomeseverybody/2008/04/looking-for... better distilled here as the key quote http://www.cybersoc.com/2008/07/clay-shirky-tal.html . Facebook now consumes the cognitive surplus that TV used to monopolise. 28 minutes on average, every Facebook user spends on Facebook every day (number taken from yesterday's presentation).
To me, not using Facebook is to say that I'm alright about, and not afraid of, missing the next shared social event in my circle of friends. It's saying that I'm OK working on other things in my spare time (projects, or doing stuff with my girl) rather than burning through my cognitive surplus with nothing to show for it. For me, not being on Facebook is a statement about being proactive in my life, to make the most of it.
So when people ask why I'm not on Facebook, I tell them how I see it is a fear-driven thing that would consume my time and give me little in return.
I share some of the same concerns as per the article, but more than that I want to use my life as best I can. For the same kind of reasons that I don't watch TV (not being afraid of missing the next shared social event) I don't use Facebook.
Strangely, I don't feel that about Twitter. Twitter isn't a tool that appears to be driven by fear of missing something, the very temporary nature of it's updates passing by in a stream mean that it's inevitable that you miss things. Instead Twitter feels to me more about sharing and inspiring others, it's information dissemination rather than a magnet for shared social events. I'm on Twitter, and I use it as a creative tool to feed ideas about things to try and do.
Now I wonder whether the author of the article is on Twitter, as most of his arguments could be used there too... in which case are they really the reason he's not on Facebook?
The rule for success on Facebook given all of this: Allow whatever you provide as a service (shopping, gambling, games, etc) to be interruptible.
Your service isn't why people are there, but they'll do it whilst they're waiting. But if that shared social event emerges in the midst of grocery shopping or game play, then your service must allow them to instantly stop things.
I know it isn't a popular sentiment among hacker circles but if you stop to think, there are a lot of reasons to be cautious. Information about people has always been a precious commodity and now we're giving it away.
Another subtlety I noticed is this generation's concept of Self is becoming contorted into your number of 'Friends' and quantity of 'Likes'. Not really this intelligent HN crowd but, more so the other 99% of society that unconsciously uses fb.
Yes, us intelligent folk here on HN would never stoop to accumulate arbitrary, meaningless "likes" (or "points" if you will) based on some groupthink valuation of our opinions. And us hackers would never consider shaping our published opinions to match the group's thinking so that we could accumulate more of these..."likes".
For each online presence, I decide if it will be professional or personal, and then try to make sure they don't overlap.
Some things are fairly easy to separate: Linkedin professionally, Flickr for personal photos. Nobody at work knows who I am on Flickr, so I'm free to post whatever I want w/o affecting me professionally. If I'm job hunting, the prospective employer will not associate my weird photography style with my professional qualifications.
FB pretty much assures that I'll end up with friends, family and work mixed together.
You can can create simple work/family/etc lists of friends and when you post something you choose who gets it. In some ways, you do pick a recipient whenever you send an email, so it's not like you're not used to having to pick a recipient when posting something on the web. Facebook makes it pretty easy every time you post a status to choose the list of people, or a black list, or white list or even pick the people one by one that will be able to read your post, same as with emails.
So does that mean you never use email either?
> Plus, what happens if someone else tags you in the college picture of you doing a keg stand? That's not something you have any control over and yet something that you may not want potential employers to see.
Actually, you can prevent people from tagging you. Also, if someone has a picture of you doing a keg stand and puts it on the internet, you're pretty much screwed, facebook or not.
No, But it does mean that I use separate e-mail accounts on separate systems for each social realm. My professional, personal and 'internet' presences are divided up between my ISP, GMail, Yahoo & Microsoft, as are my on line photos, blog comments, blogs, address books, etc.
> if someone has a picture of you doing a keg stand
I think that depends on the context. If they post the picture along with my name and enough of my address/phone number to identify me and associate the photo with the resume that my prospective employer had, then yes, I'm screwed. That's why I make deals with my friends -- you don't post pictures of me & I won't post pictures of your wife. ;-)
My thinking (right or wrong) is that Facebook's social network makes it much easier to unambiguously associate my professional identity with my personal identity, especially when combined with another social network like LinkedIn. If I have overlapping relationships in two systems like that, it's not hard to figure out that the personal/Facebook 'me' is the same 'me' as the LinkIn/professional 'me'. And that has a high probability of affecting me professionally at some time in the future.
Now I don't even worry about it I just don't put stuff out on facebook that reveals much. I mostly just lurk and post something I think is funny but not too racy. So I'm on facebook but I'm not worried about anything "getting out" because I don't have anything to hide in that zoo.
I've been more tempted to say things that are revealing in this forum but since I use my real name it makes me keep things pretty tight - I'm not going to post anything too offensive. Again - I'm okay with that.
In a way I've sacrificed being able to say some things I might later regret. But then again I'm not saying things on teh interwebs that I might regret.
This is a usability problem with facebook. It should be easy as pie to control the information you present to different GROUPS of people. Instead functionality is scattered across by CONTENT TYPE. Makes no sense and is completely illogical, social networking is about people, differing content-types are just small variations on the sharing theme and not the main conceptual focus.
The 100 different content types are the entity sets with privacy attributes, rather than having privacy be an attribute on a manually created (small) number of groups of people. We put people in groups (ie. professional, family, friends) in real life, I can't understand how Facebook can possibly get this so wrong.
The root of these problems is piss poor User Interface decisions. Facebook expanded without a plan. It's just like Urban Sprawl: let's add a bunch of widgets everywhere just like a suburb with zero urban planning adds strips malls.
Similar reasons; I usually try to have my not-directly-related presences separate from eachother to the extent that, for example, I use a different image hosting service for Twitter and the various discussion boards so that the latter cannot discover the former. Sometimes I let people know where to look, sometimes they find me by accident. The internet being what it is, it is possible to link the various presences but it is generally not feasible for a non-government entity.
The downside of this is that I lack and will lack an "established online presence" with its transient and overlapping benefits. Sometimes it would be nice to be known.
Facebook is IBM's grandson. I have nothing against Mark, as I do not know him personally. However, his vision and his history reveal a depraved worldview where we are just users dependent on his social approval drug called FB.
Has anyone who's left Facebook felt that they've actually missed anything?
I would say that 95% of communication (excluding face to face) between people I know is conducted over Facebook. In addition to that all events are organised through Facebook, if I didn't have an account I would be missing out.
When I meet someone new I don't exchange phone numbers anymore I exchange Facebook details.
For me at least Facebook is my phone number and email address all rolled into one. If I didn't have it I would be unreachable for a good percentage of people I know.
This might not be typical I'm a younger person with a good percentage of my friends still in college or just leaving to start work.
I like this.
2) It's a waste of time.
If people are going to judge you on a random message you wrote five years ago, that's their fault, not yours. I think Randall Monroe explains it best: http://xkcd.com/137/ .
 (FTA "A vindictive ex-partner, or a workplace rival, or a health insurer, or a political opponent, may selectively expose information to your detriment – powerfully re-framing your identity in a way you would consider dishonest.")
Matching up name+date+e-mail domain wasn't hard, so I knew I had the right person. The search taught me that the person was thoughtful, articulate, analytical; had a very good grasp of the complexity of the domain and the technology underlying the domain, did not rush to judgment, etc.
Had her posts been filled with OMG-WTF snarky crap, or if her posts had lots of dumb questions that could have been answered with a bit of self-directed study, she would not have been hired.
Social sites? I don't think so! The only thing you socialize with in FB are the buttons and the random add friends of friends who you don't know and don't care and will never actually socialize with. And then you show off to other people your 1,284 friends list, 95% of whom you most probably will never, ever socialize with.
And then you cry yourself to sleep at night because Zuckerberg sold your info to some data mining company.
Facebook forces feature adoption by ignoring ethical privacy practices.
Granted, you can make the valid argument that information can be mined without you explicitly providing it (e.g. friend graphs). That's an iffy ethical argument that is up for debate: is deriving information about someone from public information an invasion of that person's privacy? For example, if you walk out your front door and drive your car away, it's obvious that a neighbor witnessing that has not invaded your privacy. However, if the neighbor noticing you leaving and returning on a regular schedule, and learns that a local strip club has a weekly special event that corresponds to your outings, has the acquisition of that information (whether or not you're actually going to the club) constituted an invasion of your privacy?
DMCA comes to mind here - a law which explicitly (i think first, yet definitely not last, time in human history) made analysis of information, ie. an act of thinking, a crime.
Facebook violated their privacy promise to me, and I will never forgive them for it. I'm only keeping my account around until I can complete deleting every piece of information I've put into it.
I have 45 friends on facebook. This number still seems too high to me, but I realize is very low compared to many of my friends. I share things only with those that I am closest to. I decline the large majority of friends requests sent to me. I am comfortable using Facebook for only my closest friends and family, however others have criticized my use of Facebook in this way.
There are many ways to use Facebook. If you are prepared to accept some criticism for "not going with the group", I think Facebook can be a very enjoyable social tool.
I put pictures of adventures and creations on facebook as viewable by anyone with a facebook account. People who vaguely run into me can go there and find out more of who I am...sort of like a resume for friendship (tactless). We also find common interests, conversation starters, etc. I naturally make friends in person; to me facebook is just one more neat tool in the toolbox for forging and maintaining social connections and fun in general.
1) I'm not relevant.
2) I don't want to understand the most popular site on the internet, which my publication writes about regularly.
3) Despite my position at a publication that relies on technology and social media as both a promotion tool and main subject, I want to annoy my PR contacts and writers by forcing them to use other techniques to contact me.
4) It's the hip thing to do for the ahead-of-the-ahead-of-the-curve trendsetting techies like Jason Calacanis and I want to show that I have something in common with that guy.
5) I use privacy as a crutch to shield my real reason for not using Facebook (below).
6) I want to be contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. And as a side effect of that, I'm choosing to no longer be relevant in my field of technology.
I do not understand how someone in his position can do his job and recuse himself of Facebook. You don't have privacy: You're the editor of a major publication that covers technology.
Got a problem with that? Don't overshare. Make a fan page so people can worship at your altar, and turn on your privacy settings so nobody else can see your data. Use your head.
But you edit the U.K. edition of Wired, one of the most popular technology publications in the world. And you don't use Facebook. It's like wearing a giant sign around the office that says "I don't deserve my job."
You then go on to explain how relevant he is with Wired.
Is FB the primary way to contact people professionally? Apparently it must be as potential contacts would be 'forced' to use another method. If it essentially was the only way of contact, wouldn't that prove his points about privacy and running everything through a questionably motivated company?
Got a problem with that (privacy)? Don't overshare. Make a fan page so people can worship at your altar, and turn on your privacy settings so nobody else can see your data. Use your head.
Then what's the point? If he's not using it as a way to communicate anything of significance (your point #3), then why bother? How would a fan page make him understand and be connected (wired, if you will) to the world?
Or, perhaps he believes that there is nothing technically amazing about FB other then it gained critical mass to build a huge user base. Are the uses of ajax and some clean UIs really bleeding edge? In my mind FB is similar to what YouTube was before it was bought by Google for 1.6B. A nicely implemented site (nothing technologically jaw-dropping) with a massive user base. Essentially: decent app, excellent domain name, and superior name recognition.
My problem is the gap he's creating for his magazine's journalism by doing this. It's the equivalent of covering the Washington Redskins when you have no real interest in football. It's like being a food columnist when all you eat is Taco Bell. It's like being a TV critic when you don't own a TV. It's like covering a city hall beat but deciding that you hate meetings. As an editor of Wired, he better get on Facebook, fast, because it's his job. That article isn't going to convince people to stop using it.
I'd imagine being an editor of Wired means you don't need to go trawling Facebook for the latest breaking tech stories either.
The idea isn't that he's using Facebook for the latest tech stories. It doesn't have anything to do with WHAT he reads on it. The idea is that he's intentionally making it harder to "get" the piece of culture that he's chosen to cover in his career.
It has nothing to do with HOW he uses the service; it has everything to do with blocking oneself off a key piece of popular culture on the Web. It's one thing if it's an up-and-coming service. It's another when 90+ percent of your readership uses it and turns to you for information about it.
I do not understand why my original point got downvoted because he's not doing his job as a journalist by not using one of the key pieces of technology people expect him to know about. And as readers, that should be of huge concern.
My point was that THIS PARTICULAR GUY shouldn't be trying it out.
Guess it's better than "Facebook Is Dead", though.
Disclaimer: I use facebook in a very controlled manner, promoting my blog in my college students, viewing picture which have me or my best friends and commenting on them and once in a while commenting on somebody's status. My facebook friends list is 82 people long, that includes 50 people I meet almost daily (my bus pool, best friends, class mates, we have fun together) and other 25 or so relatives. Rest are just very old friends which I feel guilty "defriending". So maybe I don't know what it is like having 300+ friends. Maybe its kinda fun. I am commenting on something which I have never experienced. So take my comment with a grain of salt.