Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Reason to Dislike Facebook

Okay, to start off, I'm not simply out to tell you that Facebook is horrible and we shouldn't be using it. The truth is I use it myself and may be guilty of some of the things I'm about to point out. The site has become a remarkably huge interconnected community of friends and family, and has become the sole means of communication for a lot of people new to the Internet. I'm sure we all have a least one older relative who uses Facebook to stay in touch.

But what I'd like to point out are the lame, weird, or stupid aspects that really have gotten out of control during the growth of the site.

5. Poking
This "action" has such an abstract purpose, that I dare you to try and explain it to someone who isn't familiar with the Internet. Go ahead, and explain it to your grandma. I promise in an hour one of you will be crying. Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating, but with all the other means of communicating on the site (commenting, notes, chatting, sending messages, etc) this one is the most pointless by far and really only creates busywork. If you truly want to get someone's attention, then just write to them. Otherwise it's like receiving a blank piece of paper in the mail.

4. The Person with the Most Friends Wins!
Somewhere along the line adding people to your friends list became a contest. And not even a contest where someone is keeping score, but just a way of numbering your popularity to improve your sense of self-worth. I'm tired of seeing people with lists of friends in the hundreds. Are you honestly saying that all these people are individuals that you like and trust and have formed some bond with? Or is it someone you sat next to in Grade 4 and haven't spoken to since Grade 5? Or someone you saw at a party once? Not everyone you've encountered in life is a friend. If you've never interacted with a person on Facebook, yet they are in your friends list, then they don't really belong there, do they? Quality over quantity, people.

3. Staying Busy
So now that you've established several hundred people you barely know, it's time to keep up with the never-ending flood of requests, invites, and messages. Join this group, play this game, add this application, watch this video, read this thing, do this survey, attend this event, try this quiz, and don't forget to invite your remaining friends to join Facebook! You can waste so much time just sifting your way through all this stuff.

Oh and don't forget to update your status! What are you doing right now!? Your friends, nay, the world needs to know! That was fun for the first several months...but the truth's just more pointless busy work, and it paved the way for the likes of Twitter. We talk more, and communicate with greater ease thanks to technology, but we're definitely saying less. God help us.

2. Application Hell
When I first joined Facebook I found it to be a much more pleasing social network than the likes of MySpace, which as you may or may not know, looks like ass. But now, it's come to the point where Facebook has gone batshit out of control with these stupid, stupid, STUPID applications. They got ten a piece for everything you can imagine, and billion and a half more that do nothing at all!

"Oh Susie, I remember her from high school. Let's check out her profile page ... oh my lord, it's a clusterf**k of idiocy!!"

Is there something fun about collecting all these meaningless, ugly, tacky little things. It's like a Goddamn circus broke out on your profile and was attacked by a "cute" parade. Is it necessary to display a fart joke randomizer, or a hug of the day, or a TV show quiz, or what kind of flower you are, or a mood meter, or sexy friend countdown, or send someone a virtual cupcake? Stop it! This has gotten out of hand.

1. The Creepiness Factor
You know how people joke about how Facebook is like a paradise for stalkers? Well, I'm no stalker, but it's worrisome to see the sheer volume of personal information you can gain access to; information people willingly release into the Internet like a flock of doves.

Besides the obvious status updates that give you current info on all the people you "know", you are also given front row seats to every picture they take. You haven't spoken to some person in years, and now here's dozens of photos of their baby. Or if all those personal family photos didn't explain enough, here's some notes they wrote listing stuff you don't know about them. Why do I need to know that? I don't need to know that he is addicted to watching Spongebob Squarepants, or that she does origami on the toilet. Why do we need to know that? And why are you all so trusting enough to share?

Okay, so there are settings you can toy around with so you don't have to see all this crap. Change some privacy settings, alter your news feed, and be done with it. I know. But the point is, it's a huge part of what Facebook is. It's one thing to tell people your hobbies or what books you like, but it's another thing altogether to share personal secrets, or pictures of your children taking a bath to people who are essentially strangers. Then next thing you know you're being tagged in a photo from a party you can't remember, someone has sketched a wang in your graffiti application, and your uncle wont stop poking you.

Tell me that's not creepy.


Cole D'Arc said...

well said. i could probably write a series of essays on why i despise facebook but you've saved me the trouble (not that there aren't a million other things i could point out). as i completely severed myself from it almost two years ago, i was unaware of how stupid the applications have gotten.
the internet has helped cultivate a generation of narcissists who all believe every microscopic facet of their lives is important and must be shared, if not forced, on others. i can already feel the rage building...

Shane said...

I'll admit that it's the internet, and not just Facebook that has created this culture. I mean, even blogging is an effort to be noticed and to share a part of yourself.

I'm guilty of writing about microscopic facets of my life and hoping people will read it. But I always try to give it an entertainment or comedic value, which I hope makes it better somehow.

With Facebook, it just feels like a never ending flea market of personal information.

RyHo said...

I won't try to deny that I've been on Facebook since the beginning, and I'm probably guilty of everything on this list, but I've seen the folly in it as well. I essentially use it as a means of keeping contact with a few people that pretty much only seem to interact with the outside world through this social networking site, and because it's an easy way to speak with my parents sometimes.

I've come within inches of deleting the account, but in the end I made my page fully secure and I've been culling my friends list substantially. I removed myself from other sites (MySpace, High5), but I keep this one around, vestigially, really.

You're completely right about Twitter, and the general public's need to think of themselves as some kind of public icon, because they post information on their Facebook. FB/Google have even been having a hard time keeping up with server space, due to the amount of PICTURES that have been uploaded on there. I myself, without a joke (and I have not uploaded even a fraction of these myself) have something like 550 pictures of myself tagged on Facebook. That's mostly pictures other people have posted of me. That's sort of scary.

Also, I've had a poke war going on with two friends of mine for several years, and I have no grand clue as to what it even means.

Cole D'Arc said...

well, there are talented and creative individuals like us and then there are morons who endlessly spew about their various lame interests and obsessions, all while posting inane pictures of themselves stumbling in a drunken fog or engaging in mundane shit like camping or "just hanging out" as if these are the great events of our era. we have nothing to apologize for.

Shane said...

Is list-making an obsession? It's certainly an interest.

At any rate, Facebook is a useful tool in moderation. I think we can all agree that it got out of hand. But I guess that happens with anything that's popular.

Cole D'Arc said...

i agree to nothing! i LOATHE facebook.