On Facebook

So, Xanga is dying, like Friendster before it, and hopefully like the evil spawn of MySpace after. Facebook is the new social networking site of choice, for high school and college teens at least.

By the time you read this post, it will already be imported as a note on Facebook. Furthermore, it is pretty darn likely that you are reading this on Facebook, rather than on the real site. It’s a convenience eliminating the primary use.

Interestingly, I’ve run into this sort of “problem” before; my brother pointed out that launching items from my Dockyard program defeats its original purpose of switching Docks. But like now I’ve decided the benefit outweighs the dubious cost in purity.

There are some things about Facebook that are really quite well done. A consistent UI. Importing and exporting what they call “notes.” The “Wall” from MySpace is something I dislike but at least there’s “Wall-to-Wall” now…a nice feature though would be commenting on someone else’s conversation (a.k.a. “butting in”). And the smartest thing they put in, friend tagging. Facebook makes it quite easy to tag a friend in a photo or note, and that one feature almost makes me want to actually post photos there, no matter how unsafe that is.

Which brings me to another point. Facebook, for all its privacy settings, is really not that safe, and yet people (including me to an extent) post their full names, locations, and identifying pictures. I mean, come on. How hard is it to search for someone in any network, whether or not they allow you to see their profile? How hard would it be, really, to get into a network you don’t belong in? As one commenter said (not a real quote, since I can’t find the original) back in the early days of News Feed (before privacy controls for that) “Stalking isn’t supposed to be easy!” And now, though there’s nothing I can explicitly see to hide (it’s already only shown to “All of my networks” i.e. CHS) it’s still a release of public information. I’ve already decided to start using my full name online, at least for more professional stuff like Belkadan, but there are freshmen using Facebook who don’t really have a clue.

That said, it’s not a flaw specific to Facebook, and indeed Facebook’s idea of networks helps with that (although I sometimes wish I could check people at other schools in the district.) Privacy by default is good for those who don’t really understand the implications, including most internet users. And other good things about Facebook (I think) include the one-line status (except the forced present tense), mutual friends, searching all photos someone’s in, rather than the one’s they took, and the pointless but nifty “Social Timeline” that sadly requires me to fill in way too much info to get a full picture of everyone.

Dislikes (besides the Wall):

  • Pokes: I ignore them, so don’t bother sending them to me. It’s just one more click to say “hide poke.” But I do appreciate whimsical developers putting this in.
  • Groups: and people with about 60 of them. Seriously. The first thing I did was reduce the frequency of group changes in my news feed.
  • …I’m sure there are more but it’s after 11:00.

But, all in all, Facebook is a Good Thing. So I’m keeping my account, replying to comments/wall posts, actually adding friends on my own initiative…and keeping up imports from the true Chigaijin blog on my real site.

Blogs are a place to spread thoughts or at least give the self-satisfying illusion of spreading thoughts. Social networking keeps you at least somewhat in touch with your friends. Those are the two reasons why I’m keeping my Facebook account. Partially cause I can in theory stay more in touch with people.

And partially because the likelihood is you’re only reading this because I posted it on Facebook.