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Is Facebook distorting our priorities?

8 Apr

42-20917352In the first hour of On Point this morning, Tom Ashbrook’s guests made some provocative comments about Facebook that echo my earlier thoughts.  With hundreds or thousands of friends, how do we maintain our close inner circle?  We all have circles — mine goes family, close friends, colleagues, past classmates, random acquaintances and people I’ve never met.  My priorities tend to stick in that order as well, although there are a few overlaps and jumpers from category to category.  But somehow I end up communicating more with people in the middle-netherworld than with the people I really care about – people I could call in a pinch.  Obviously I can still pick up the phone and call all my close friends and family, but the time I spend networking online does impact my ability to nurture more important connections.

I’m still a lover of connection and am happy to be in the generation of social media.  I just have to remind myself that the people I love do not live in my computer screen.

One of the guests makes some hilarious comments in his latest, “Down with Facebook.”  Definitely worth reading, although here are my favorite parts.

They then have access to each other’s web pages, and consequently to each other’s lives, quirks, photos, jottings, oversharings, and mental disorders, as well as to those of the ever-expanding universe of their friends’ circles, thus increasing the likelihood that you will either embarrass yourself or be embarrassed by someone whose life would never otherwise intersect with yours.

One by one, my non-joiner friends have succumbed. As one reluctantly joined the world of “poking” and getting “poked” by people he already talked to, people he had no interest in talking to, or people he didn’t know at all–all conducted under the suspect rubric of “friendship” so that they can look at each other’s photos and write dreary “status updates” on their “walls” (brief squibs about what you are doing at that exact moment, usually with emoticons and inappropriate quotation marks: “Matt Labash is wondering how long to marinate human flesh to get out that ‘gamey taste’ :-)”)–he was almost apologetic about it. Within two days of his birth on Facebook, he said, “I have 198 friends. I have never heard of most of them. This is so dorky, I hate myself for doing it.” Being a true friend, I didn’t allay his guilt. I told him he was a very sad man, that collecting Facebook friends is the equivalent of being a catlady, collecting numerous Himalayans, which you have neither the time nor the inclination to feed. “You have obviously never been on Facebook,” he said. “It’s so much worse than collecting cats.”

Another longtime friend, the host of Fox’s Red Eye, Greg Gutfeld, tells me he has 3,200 Facebook friends: “I know maybe 50 of them.”


I don’t know any of my friends.

2 Apr

facebookFacebook is no longer enjoyable for me.  At its present, it’s just another calendar of events, another contact list, another photo album — another set of social responsibilities.  I honestly wish I wasn’t an early adopter of Facebook.  My college was one of the first few added and now I feel like I don’t even know half my friends — or more like 95% of them.  I hate status updates and even new pics because I’m unaware of my audience.  At least on I know that I don’t know who’s reading this.  On Facebook I should feel like I have some control over my friends but I don’t really know who they are anymore and it really irks me.

I think everyone will come to this point.  There needs to be some way that friends drop off into the netherworld.  Just like they do in real life.  The recent article in the NYT hits many of my feelings about the current Facebook.  I like separation between my groups.  It isn’t about hiding anything, it is about directing communication effectively.

Uniting disparate groups on a single Internet service runs counter to 50 years of research by sociologists into what is known as “homophily” — the tendency of individuals to associate only with like-minded people of similar age and ethnicity.

Mark my words, this is going to happen to everyone.  Connectivity is like a big circle.  Being connected to no one is the same as being connected to everyone.  There is a happy medium and once you exceed that, Facebook is more like ‘random people I met once’ book or ‘person I used to be friends with’ book.  Not really a group I want to keep in contact with.

Facebook thinks privacy factors are the solve all, well they are not.  I don’t want any of my ‘friends’ to know I’m censoring them.  So I don’t censor any one, I censor everyone.  To be a professional, it is a necessity.

Facebook is trying to teach members to use privacy settings to manage their network so they can speak discreetly only to certain friends, like co-workers or family members, as opposed to other “friends” like bosses or professional colleagues. But most Facebook users haven’t taken advantage of the privacy settings; the company estimates that only 20 percent of its members use them.

Is Twitter this, is Twitter that?

1 Apr

twitterificTwitter is (insert other social media site here).  

Everyone and their mom are trying to fit Twitter into a box because they don’t know what it is.  I have seen articles that Twitter is the new Facebook, Twitter is the new MySpace, Twitter is the new LinkedIn…you get the point.  I think the media should stop trying to define.  When they focus on a singular definition for something that can be used in such unique ways, they end up missing the point.  Twitter is something different to everyone.  Twitter for me is about keeping up with my friends, meeting new ones, seeing how crazy people are and learning more about my interests (politics, social media etc).  For friends it is purely a networking tool to meet people in the industry, others do it like texting – as if their life is validated if it is broadcast, other people use it purely to broadcast their blogs or articles. Bottom Line:  there are infinite other ways to use Twitter so if you want to know what it is, you’re going to have to use it.

Facebook feeling the twueeze.

12 Mar

Facebook recently changed their homepage.  Hmm…some features coincidentally resemble Twitter.  For instance, instead of asking for your ‘status message’ I am… they are asking “What’s on your mind?”

You can also direct a “What’s on your mind?” message to anyone…kind of like @.

If I was Facebook I’d be scared too.  They had a lock on the market for a while.  MySpace was lame, and LinkedIn was professional.  Plus no one really respected friendster or any of the other borderline sites.  But now we are being inundated with online social networking.  Too much if you ask me.  Even if you don’t ever play Second Life, you might as well be.

How to delete yourself

10 Mar

Some day we are all going to regret something we said or did that showed up on the internet, some of us already and some of us might be typing the very thing they will regret right now.

I go through phases where I try to clean up my ‘Google page.’ And it has not been easy.  No one wants to give up content.

Here are some pointers though, if you want to get out of your relationship with Facebook, MySpace etc.

Fun social networking stats

9 Mar

Thanks Adam Ostrow, interesting stuff.

In 2008, users spent 63% more time on member communities than they did in the previous year. However, within member communities, Facebook saw growth of 566% in time spent on it by users worldwide. As has been reported elsewhere, Facebook’s fastest growth demographic is older users – the social network tacked on 12.4 million people between ages 35-49 in 2008 according to Nielsen.

Some other key findings from the report:

– Globally, Facebook reaches 29.9% of global Internet users, versus 22.4% for MySpace.

– MySpace remains the most profitable social network, generating an estimated $1 billion in revenue versus $300 million for Facebook in 2008.

– Facebook is the top social network in all countries except Germany, Brazil, and Japan (Nielsen still has MySpace as tops in US in the report, but as of January ’09, that had changed).

– On Twitter, CNN, The New York Times, and BBC have the greatest reach among mainstream media companies as of late February.

Tin Yurl?

5 Mar

No, no, no it is Tiny URL…oh, now I get it.


These tinyurl links kept popping up in my twitter feed, my facebook status updates and my gchat away messages.  I finally figured out that their use, as you can read above, is to shorten a link (duh) so that you don’t exceed your character limit on sites like Twitter and so you don’t send around to your friends this clunky URL that is 5 lines long.  That can be annoying at times, I liked seeing the full link, but they are definitely a new phenomenon that enables a lot more content to be floating around the web.  So, hopefully next time you see one — you won’t have to wonder what it is.