Facebook Pariah

A friend sent me a link to a post on Gizmodo written by someone named Sam Biddle. The title of the post is: “If You’re Not On Facebook,It’s Time to Get Over Yourself.” Here’s an excerpt:

“Everyone knows one of those self righteous Facebook abstainers. Social media luddites. Pushing aside modern society in favor of a purer lifestyle, devoid of pokes, tags, and feeds. Except really, these people aren’t defending anything except antisocial, extremely annoying behavior. And if you’re one of them—you need to stop.”

Sam goes on in this vein for several paragraphs. As one of those people that just can’t get the hang of Facebook, I hear this sentiment frequently. If you read the post, be sure to read some of the comments, too.

I’m guessing that most people reading this post are on Facebook. I mean, most people I know are on Facebook. So I’ll take this opportunity to take a little survey.

  1. If half of your fiends left Facebook and moved to a new service, would you follow them?
  2. If your ten most interesting friends left, would you follow them?
  3. If everybody EXCEPT your ten most interesting friends left, would you stay with them on Facebook?
  4. If ALL of your friends left for a competing social space, would you go too?

Most people I know who are hard-core Facebook’ers might have trouble answering these questions because they can’t imagine a future without Facebook.

But if it really is about engaging with your friends, the platform would be secondary, right?

Please don’t give me a lecture. You won’t be able to top Mr. Biddle. But you can answer those 4 questions.

9 thoughts on “Facebook Pariah

  1. Of all the “fun wheezes” on the interweb, I am afraid Facebook is the one which infuriates me the most. You only have to look at the pitch of the advertising on the site, to see the whole thing is aimed at morons belonging to a big club.

  2. This is the sort of thoughtful, information-rich response I was hoping for. Very insightful. Thanks.

  3. 1. If half of your fiends left Facebook and moved to a new service, would you follow them? Depends on which friends.

    2. If your ten most interesting friends left, would you follow them? Yep.

    3. If everybody EXCEPT your ten most interesting friends left, would you stay with them on Facebook? Yep.

    4. If ALL of your friends left for a competing social space, would you go too? Probably.

    I joined Facebook a little over four years ago as a way to stay in touch without over-involvement. I’m not a very social person and with Facebook I’m able to know what’s going on without having to keep up a back and forth through email. The posts are on the feed, I see them and if I want to comment I can; if not, no reply is necessary. And can post a quick “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations” without crafting accompanying paragraphs about asking or telling how life is going, etc.

    I don’t think of Facebook as a “close” friend tool. I pick up the phone when I want to call close friends, I use email/blog posts for those who I find interesting. Facebook to me is for people I like well enough to “friend” and a few artists whose work I collect so that I can keep up with their work and shows. Which brings us to the other use for Facebook: marketing. You can “follow” just about any product on Facebook and find the latest, greatest product/output/whatever in your feed.

    One great thing about Facebook: I was able to find a friend I’d “lost” in Australia. Now that I have the one stationary piece of information — an email address — it doesn’t matter if we move, leave Facebook, etc. we can stay in touch.

    If Facebook were to fold tomorrow, I wouldn’t skip a beat (and if there was no mention of it in the press, I might not notice for a few days).

  4. 1. You leaving FB left me with 1 friend.
    2. Who has 10 interesting friends? WTH!?!?!
    3. See #2
    4. I’ll ‘poke’ that last friend and see if they’re gonna leave FB soon

    All kidding aside, I find the way people treat you when they find out you’ve left (or not on) to be more entertaining than the posts from my attention whore ‘friends’ when I was on.

    It’s really fun when you find someone railing on iPhone/iPad owners as sheeple and you ask them why they joined FB.

    Good times.

  5. “Facebook eventually declining” and “Facebook membership being necessary to understand the online social space” are not mutually exclusive.

    If you’re not on Facebook now, you’re not necessarily a tool. But you also forfeit a lot of social credibility. Like the kids whose parents didn’t let them watch TV in the 60s and 70s.

    Facebook is clearly far ahead of where Myspace ever was. Hell, I think it’s ahead of where Myspace even dreamed of going. It has reached a point where its inevitable decline will look a lot more like IBM’s than Friendster’s. It may lose steam, but it’s not going away for a long, long time.

    And while I’m on the topic, the big difference between Facebook and Myspace/Friendster and every other social network is Mark Zuckerberg. The man is not only a genius, he’s also confident enough to do what he thinks is right, even if it temporarily ticks off 60% of his users. Because of that Facebook evolves and improves faster than any other major Web service.

  6. Thanks for the feedback. But, how do you get “fallen off the charts” with FB membership at all time high. Are you saying that number is declining… or that you expect it to?

  7. Facebook is on the same bell curve that MySpace was on and has now fallen off the charts. There will be something that captures the attention of the masses and we’ll all move to it.

    Nothing in the tech world is set in stone.

    People who talk about Facebook like it’s a “must be on or you’re a tool” are in fact the tools. Some of the most social people I know are not on Facebook.

    Here are some examples:

    Microsoft > IBM — 1990’s
    Apple > Microsoft — 2000’s
    Blackberry > any other phone — early 2000’s
    iPhone > Blackberry — late 2000’s
    MySpace > Friendster — Early 2000’s
    Facebook > MySpace — Late 2000’s
    ???? > Facebook — ??? 2010’s

    It’s time for someone to steal some code from another set of twins and start a new social networking empire.

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