July 23, 2007
Giving FaceBook a GO (for now)
After MUCH peer pressure in the Valley (yes, that means Silicon Valley -- the land where I currently play), I finally surrendered and joined FaceBook. Frankly, I still don't get it. That said, I felt the pressure following far too many trusted sources egging me on at every industry event. They were either shocked I was NOT on this ever-growing and wildly popular social network OR bugged me more than once to accept them as friends.
When they ask me 'why' I haven't gone to the light side, I can't help but think: are they kidding? In the last two years alone, after already handsomely exceeding 1,500+ contacts on LinkedIn, I've been asked to join MySpace, FaceBook, Ning, eSnips, Xing, NetVibes, PageFlakes, eLerts programs, Beebo, BuzzNet, Dodgeball, Pounce, Twitter, Hi5, Classmates.com, flickr, Friendster, iMeem, Meetup.com, Multiply, Orkut, Piczo, Vox, StumbleUpon, TagWorld, Zanga, Yahoo360, Zooomr and Zaadz.
You think I'm joking but I'm not and these are just the ones I can easily think of off the top of my head, so there's probably another dozen obscure sites I'm missing. It seems illogical to people who spend more time on social networks than hiking in the woods or swimming in the ocean. "Why wouldn't I want to join YET another online network?" Hmmm, do you want the short list or the long one?
This typically means:
1. Giving social network X access to my Outlook or other database to import or send emails to my contacts.
2. Setting up a whole new set of profiles yet again, including likes, dislikes and photos you wish to share
3. Alert them to your privacy settings to ensure the whole world doesn't have access to your new profile
4. Making it look pretty, i.e., blog, social network where you have a profile or something like NetVibes where you can manage the color, the design, layout, etc.
BUT......I cave and go through the process. While the set-up isn't complicated, the user interface doesn't shout simplicity nor great design sense. Do Apple lovers really like the look-and-feel?
I discover that I can create albums. (Hmmm, I can do that everywhere).
I discover that I can join groups and networks. (Hmmm, I can also do that in other networks)
I discover that I can invite friends. (Hmmm)
I discover that I can see what everyone is doing at any given time. (I wish I had time to monitor the minute by minute or daily progress of everyone in my personal and professional networks).
Yet people keep reminding me that its growing, popular and now at 40+ million users. And I keep wondering why, even after playing around with it for hours and inviting a few hundred people. After my friend network is substantial, I'll keep tabs for awhile and give it a chance.
At the end of the day, I'll likely ask myself: what am I learning that's new? Will I grow intellectually or spiritually from this? Will it improve my communications and more importantly, shorten the amount of time communicating online rather than offline? Is the user experience SOOO much better than anything else out there, that I'd choose this social network over anything else? OR do people seriously want to spend time managing 5-10 different networks at any given time? I could be alone in this view, but is that really where we're heading as a society?
For now, I'm on the system and giving it a go. Those who are accepting the friend invites are people I do want to stay in touch with, so we'll see.
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I too have recently caved in and I find the UI very off putting to say the least. No feeling of individuality in the pages at all which makes it all feel a little bland for me. Given that, it doesn't really surprise me that it seems to be the geek network of choice....
Posted by: Stewart | Jul 23, 2007 3:49:40 AM
facebook is getting huge, but honestly peekamo is nutsss
Posted by: kory | Jul 23, 2007 9:44:19 AM
I never liked LinkedIn, but signed up for it and nearly a dozen other ones, too. MySpace was indeed simply because everyone was signing up; I never was too thrilled with it.
I didn't like Facebook much at first, either, and have had virtually no success, so far, in finding folks my age that I do know. I guess that outside Silicon Valley, there still really aren't many past-college-age people on it.
On the other hand, I have used it to make contact with a few folks that would be hard to reach otherwise, that I didn't know. Every time that's happened, I've started to like Facebook more.
I'm not crazy about the interface, either, but with Facebook (and likewise Twitter), I'm actually making quality connections - rather than just getting spammed or whatever - and that's where the real value is anyway.
Posted by: Gordon R. Vaughan | Jul 23, 2007 6:27:55 PM
Hi Renee - Love your posts. You're way ahead of me in using social networks. I'm a LinkedIn gal and was having a hard time figuring out why I should be on Facebook - the network of choice for my teenage son. Like you, I finally succumbed a couple of weeks ago so we'll see how it goes. Thanks for saying many of the things I've thought.
Now my son is having to deal with the trauma of having his Mom in his online 'hood. Perish the thought.
Posted by: Barb Heffner | Jul 24, 2007 10:23:40 AM
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