I’ve read a number of blogs posts recently in which bloggers pronounce that they are dumping Facebook. The reasons given are various:
- It’s a time hog.
- It has made me into a pathetic teenager again which became clear to me the last time I tried to think of a cool status update.
- It’s a poor excuse for a real social life aka “I don’t know who half these people are.”
- It’s internet for babies.
The complaints essentially stem from how the users choose to use Facebook rather than the app itself.
You don’t have to reply to the latest superpoke or virtual martini thrown your way. Nor do you need to scrabble or stay a member of any of those groups whose names you found so funny the first week you joined.
Likewise, nobody is forcing you to stay glued to your computer instead of going to to the local pub for some real flesh and blood interaction with the human race. You are avoiding that for reasons too numerous to discuss.
Internet for babies? Perhaps. But also for grannies, aunties, most people over 45 or under 16 and probably 90% of the people I want to stay in contact with. I can still follow Tim Ferris and Robert Scoble on Twitter but I can safely say my sister will never be tweeting me with updates.
Facebook Stripped Down
My reason for remaining on Facebook is simple: I find value in the status updates from my network and, sadly, virtually none of my friends are on Twitter. Twitter has just not caught on in Asia nor with the luddites who make up most of my network.
Nevertheless, I’ve found a few personal guidelines necessary to ensure Facebook does not become the monster everyone complains of.
In summary my formula for success is:
Facebook – Dumb Apps = Twitter + Photo Album = Useful Tool
And that’s what works for me.
We don’t always have the energy to make the proper investment in our far flung friendships – even in some of the near flung ones. There’s work, family, kids, groceries… life takes over. So I enjoy, from time to time, hearing news that prompts me to ping a friend back and touch base.
Plus I’m happy to be reunited with lost friends. It has been argued that if you didn’t maintain contact, there was a reason. But when you have lived all over the world, it is easy to loose touch with people you remain fond of. In fact there are still a few I’m trying to track down and, with luck, one day they will log in to Facebook.
If you still live in the village you were born, Facebook probably has no place. But most of us now invent our own village and maintain it online. Facebook is just an easy way for me to stay in touch with the village folk.
And yes, I have Facebooked my mom.