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Poll: Do programmers care about FaceBook?
38 points by ghenne on Mar 26, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 57 comments
The marketing companies and my wife says that my company needs to reach out to our market, programmers, using FaceBook.

I'm not so sure it's worth the effort. Do real programmers look for information/buzz on FaceBook?

No: No real programmer would show his face there.
691 points
Yes: FaceBook is how I find out about programming stuff.
18 points

Do I use Facebook? Yes. A lot. Do I use Facebook to look for programming stuff? Hell no.

Facebook's only going to be as good as the people you've added on it - in my case, friends, family, and other people I know personally. With a couple of exceptions none of my friends are programmers.

If I want to see what programmers and developers are up to then I'll go on G+, since most of the people I've seen on there are tech bloggers.

I agree with the general consensus and my usage patterns confirm it for me: Google+ is the social platform where I see all the engineers and scientists, Twitter is similar (but I have a Twitter account set up just for following/interacting with tech people). Facebook? Nope. I do see some geeks trying to leverage it, but it's mostly syndicating their blog posts or speaking engagements, I don't see very many tech people engaging there.

I'm exactly the same as you. Facebook for social things, I have a closed account to keep out prying eyes (employers/potential employers and the such). My twitter account is however my "work persona", and generally only have tech/work related people added to it. I'm also very careful not to bitch about anything or post anything which makes me come across as negative. It's a different matter on Facebook though...

Same as you, except for G+. I use twitter instead. I have a list named dev that I check once or twice a day.

I use Facebook daily, but my purpose for using it has nothing to do with programming, nor would I want it to. It's for staying in contact with relatives and certain (non-programmer) groups of people.

I think a more valuable discussion would come out of this if the poll didn't dictate the reasons for 'yes' and 'no'.

Yeah, the answers are really leading the responses. There is a wide gap between "it's where I do everything" and "I would never show my face there".

I really don't look for anything on Facebook, 99% is messages to friends.

The probability that i find a single interesting thing on Facebook relating programming is near zero. Also maybe 3% of my friends are techies and they never use the like button.

The whole like system is a joke, the only time i see something that way now is a sponsored Message. One of my 150 Friends liked an ad for McKinsey, i care.....

Edit: G+ is not much better, the Hacker Circle makes sense but only in combination with Google search. I don't visit Google+ with such a low probability to find something interesting. I find on a single day more interesting stuff on HN than i did ever on G+.

As a hint, one way would be importing your twitter, gmail programming contacts to g+.

You would be surprised how many ontopic discussions take place there, Most more prominent python programmers use g+, including ppl from pyramid, pylons, sqlalchemy, BDFL, python commitee etc.

Remember that g+ relationships are asymetric, you need to follow right people for you to find interesting stuff. Ask someone to share their "developers circle" with you.

I have over 600 people in my Hacker News Circle, i see on my 1080 screen right now 1(!) Post in the stream. On HN i see 30 Posts with a transparent voting system, that works really well. Why should i waste my time on G+?

Google+ Pages is something different, maybe i go there on purpose, but how can i explore something in the stream?

Well then, maybe your hackers circle is usless and you should reorganize your circles or something. Thats the only conclusion i can make from your statement :(

I am surprised by how many irrelevant 'hot on google' posts get in the way of me using google plus. They could put an add down the side, sure, but not in the middle of where I am reading, and not completely undistinguishable from my contacts' posts.

You can turn that entirely off (I did as it's way more likely to be some celebrity than anything of interest to me) by going in to the "What's Hot" circle (choose it from the left side list of circles) and then adjusting the slider (at the top of the main pane.


I don't recall ever, before I null routed all the Facebook domains on my machine, having come across something useful and programming related on Facebook. StackOverflow and Hacker News (and to a lesser extent proggit) are places I go.

Your comment about Stack Overflow is interesting. Do you use it for the "I have a problem I can't find a solution on" issue or something else?

I often find myself in StackOverflow when searching for a solution for something in a language I'm not very familiar with. Sometimes you end up being forced to do a little maintenance in a language you don't know well and StackOverflow often has answers to common-ish questions.

I was more contributing to Stack Overflow than asking. Frankly I used Stack Overflow just once to ask a question for a problem I though had no solution. And surprisingly I got the solution within a day. The best resource for programmers ever!

I don't use Facebook at all.

My coworkers use it a lot but only to get in touch with friends/families, organize events or find funny viral videos. They, like me, have other means to get tech information.

Maybe you will reach your audience but I'm not sure they will pay any attention.

Also I chose "No" but not at all because "No real programmer would show his face there.". Your choices are very poorly worded and too polarizing: bad form.

I don't even have an account there and don't plan on having one. Everyone in my extended family is baffled because I am supposed to be the "computer guy".

If you are evaluating "social" sites a lot better option for you would be google+ , I saw and participated there in many engineering and programming discussions.

Needs a third option that isn't so polarizing against not using Facebook.

I don't have an account and would never think of using FB as a platform for learning about programming news / information (barring if I needed to learn about their APIs, naturally), but I disagree with a statement that includes the phrase "No real programmer".

Then again, it's Monday morning and I'm tired and cranky.

I don't have a Facebook account. To me it feels creepy having what amounts to a permanent public record of your activity and interests which everyone can view and process - i'd rather keep such information between myself a select group of friends.

I don't get Facebook. I have a hundred or so 'friends' on Facebook. I keep in contact with about 10 of them.. of those ten I phone or speak to them in person. I never contact them on Facebook.

The other 90% of friends are people I have lost contact with / old school friends. Neither of which interest me in the slightest.

Facebook status updates from friends and non-friends for the most part are worthless. "Today I am going to London", "I just saw an albino cat [photo of cat]" etc. I needed to know / see that!

The only thing Facebook succeeds at is managing an event. Everyone is on Facebook, invites are easy, its easy to keep track of who is coming. Everything else is fluff.

Facebook is where I discuss stuff with Friends. Twitter is where I discuss programming stuff. HN is where I waste most of my time, and is the place to reach out!

PS Facebook is not spelt with a capital B. You make yourself look rather out of touch.

I think the questioner's capital B shows his bias against Facebook embedded in his question.

If I would see a programming related ad on facebook, I would not take it serious. There are more appropriate places to reach out to programmers. Facebook is for my bingedrinking related activities ;-)

This. Although I do have a decent number of friends who are programmers, it's pretty rare we chat about coding on there. It does happen occasionally, but the drunk photos far outweigh the links to techie stuff.

I am there once a week as I have a big family, if I want to know wassup[sic] with 14 to 28 year old members I use facebook, if under 14 or over 28 it tends to be an email or text message then a mobile call, personally, 28, nothing beats a fixed phone line for best audio quality and lowest latency conversations with no duplex issues and a zero boot time :)

Would I read an Ad that was pitched at the right note selling the right product, sure, I might get called a programmer, but I am human too :)

Companies must be having success targeting ads to programmers and mathematicians on Facebook, because for the last several years, all 4 of my Facebook ads have always been filled with IT, programming, and math.

Here's a screenshot of my Facebook ads right now: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/58785/FBAds-20120326.PNG

Mine are similar but the ads prompting me to become a brogrammer really aren't that enticing.

This is the most ridiculous thing I've seen on HN. I'm curious, how much karma does one need to downvote threads?

edit: For clarification purposes, the question might itself be interesting: How does the facebook usage of hackers compare to that of the general populous. However, "FaceBook is how I find out about programming stuff" detracts from the objectiveness, and makes the whole thing pointless.

Frankly: I use facebook to make money (facebook games). The medium is totally nonconductive to anything development or research-oriented

Facebook is one of few online services where programmers are not programmers. Alas, probably not worth it.

It's hard to take the ads seriously or to discover things that I don't already know from somewhere else. Having said that, I do follow a couple of products and it's a bit more convenient to see what they're doing in my stream than look for that info elsewhere.

FaceBook is for friends and family - almost all of whom aren't developers. I use Twitter for geek-related stuff (the term 'geek' encompassing more than just development). Haven't looked at Google+. Based off comments, maybe I should.

The only programming I've ever come across on Facebook is Facebook's own programming puzzles, and I haven't posted my solutions. I'd be more apt to go to G+; that's where I share all my tech stuff.

I actually discuss programming quite a lot on Facebook, but I suspect that I am the odd one out here. In any case, I would not generally characterise it as an ecosystem that meets that need, no.

Yes for social stuffs. I use FB to communicate with my friends or to keep me updated on where they are or what they're doing. I don't use it in work-related things.

Never for programming related stuff. The only Facebook product I use is the messenger app on android which sort of doubles as chat. Everything else is a timesink.

What about a fan page for your company? Most of the big names in .Net components have fan pages that advertise their latest stuff, contests, etc.

Well, I don't have a Facebook account, but I don't presume to call people who do not "real programmers" ;)

I noticed a bug: 'his face there' should be 'their face there' or 'ones face there'

I noticed this was down voted. I would argue that this might actually be the worst kind of sexism: the subliminal kind. Even though you know that it is not meant to be sexist, every time you read something like this you start to associate programming with men a little bit more. I can't find any references right now, but there are studies which show this.

I think it's sexism bikeshedding. Instead of going and fixing actual sexism (can well be hard and/or painful), you can always smugly point out that someone didn't de-genderfy his[1] writing.

1: I did that on purpose

Would anyone complain if it was "her face there"? (Short answer: No). What about "its face there"? (We are after all human beings). When people don't care, that's when sexism no longer matters. Just like the way the word "black" is used in most places outside the US

Not everywhere outside the US: here in Portugal, the word "black" is a terrible faux pas. Of course, the fact that "we" were one of the biggest slave traders has probably much to do with this ;) The word "negro" came from here, after all.

(This is just a remark, not a correction - I know "outside the US" doesn't mean literally anywhere)

It's also "grammatically correct" English, technically, for gender-unknown subjects.

I much prefer "they", "them", and "their", though, as in your first suggestion. Another alternative is the verbose "his or her face".

Are there any links to Hitler going off on Living Social on Facebook? No. Facebook is useless.

Excuse me for my lack of knowledge, but How do you even relate Programming and Facebook?

Sorry to go offtopic, but how does one post a poll? Is there a minimum karma requirement?

You can create a poll here: http://news.ycombinator.com/newpoll


I look for updates in twitter by following open source core developers.

this is a push poll designed to support a "no" conclusion.

Github and Twitter is where it's at.

Is this a trick question :-)

Wat ? No way....

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