I just deactivated my Facebook account, and scheduled its MySpace counterpart for permanent destruction. It’s enormously liberating, and I highly recommend it.
Like a good number of others, I’ve found that Twitter does a very credible job of keeping me abreast of what my friends are doing, without the usual attendant toxic waste of time and resources. (Sparkling GIFs! “Virtual presents” that cost real money! Zombies! Fuck all of that. It turns out some things are so onerous that people will actually submit to a 140-character constraint on message size just to escape them.)
3 thoughts on “Anti-social”
I use greasemonkey to kill most of the annoying Facebook crap. I honestly haven’t used Facebook for anything yet… but it’s there.
My BBerry Curve has a fantastic GTalk client which is my way of choice of being connected. The cool bit is that I’m always marked as Available. Can’t tell when I’m away from my desk at work anymore (when you would normally go idle.) You can post to Twitter via GTalk which is cool… but I keep my Twitter feed private. I use it mainly for storing random thoughts.
The thing is, I can’t quite figure out what Facebook or MySpace are good for these days. As far as I can tell, they’re combination blog/photo-sharing/status-tracking sites, with non-standard e-mail, and the ability to serve as a web page for people without the skill or inclination to create a real one of their own, thrown in.
But here’s the rub: everything they do is better done elsewhere.
Web page and blog? Take your pick of Blogger or WordPress or a zillion others, hosted in whatever way works best for you.
Photo-sharing? Flickr or Picasa or any of a dozen rivals, to say nothing of Gallery or its equivalent running under your domain, are ready to serve you.
e-mail? Google and Yahoo lead the pack, with ample storage, decent-to-excellent spam filtering, support for a broad range of hand-held clients, and a conspicuous absence of moronic mechanisms like the reaper that makes any message you send via MySpace evaporate after two weeks.
That leaves tracking friends’ status. Or rather left, because Twitter just ambled into the room and, growing pains notwithstanding, ate everybody’s lunch.
So: better functionality via other means, and an absence of noisy nuisance “applications” in the bargain. I give Facebook six months (i.e., one Friedman) before it starts to crumble in earnest.
I think MySpace and Facebook (and Friendster and Orkut, et al.) are good at two things you didn’t mention here. 1. they’re very good at branding yourself. “I like this band,” or “I like these people” are important things for people (particularly young people) to be able to say by association — sort of like wearing a t-shirt with a cool logo on it for a brand you want to be identified with. 2. Social networking sites are good for reconnecting with old friends. I’m in my late 30s and a social network has to be pretty damned ubiquitous for my old-school peers to hop on board. With twitter it’s still mostly early adopters and the nerderati.