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Facebook is Fading (for me)

I’m using Facebook less and less. Last year, when it was the new buzz, I was on it a lot. I have almost 400 friends there. I used to join groups, create groups, explore new apps, update my status, write on people’s walls, use Facebook messages in lieu of email, and do all of the stuff that everyone does on Facebook.

But now, I find that I only check Facebook a few times a week. And the only thing I see when I go there is a bunch of requests to add people, or invitations to add less-than-compelling applications (zombies, werewolfs, pirates, ninjas, etc).

What changed?

I think I reached a saturation point. I don’t think anything about Facebook changed. I don’t think they’re worn out, or going downhill, or any other dire thing. I just think that what I really enjoyed about Facebook – the novelty – was exhausted.

It was great fun to search around in Facebook to add people I know, to make and remake connections. It was great fun to explore and find interesting applications.

But at almost 400 friends, I think I’ve added everyone I know that’s using Facebook. Same thing for applications – I’ve added and used most of the interesting ones. I feel like I’m running into the law of diminishing returns.

Has something else stolen my affection and attention? Not really. I tend to use the whole web as my social network these days. It’s all about the feeds I read, the people I converse with on Twitter, and the actual connections and relationships I make with other human beings. I’m not infatuated with some other social network, I think my concept of a “social network” has expanded beyond a single tool like Facebook.

So what am I going to do? Close my Facebook account? Declare Facebook bankruptcy? I did that with LinkedIn. I closed my LinkedIn account, because literally the only thing I ever got out of that service was lots and lots of requests to add people to my network. Nothing else.

I’m not giving up on Facebook. I’m not going to close my account. But I’m going to pay significantly less attention to it.

Let me know if something new an exciting happens there, and I’ll go back and check it out. Here’s a link to my profile.

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11 thoughts on “Facebook is Fading (for me)

  1. mightysquid says:

    I could never really get into social networks but at least Facebook isn’t quite as annoying as MySpace. All I can really say for it really. I much prefer Twitter, RSS Feeds and message boards.

    Maybe we’re just too old?

    😉

  2. I never got into MySpace either, but that’s just because its so ugly it hurts my eyes. :-)

    I don’t know if it’s an age thing. I’m not old! Oh, and get off my grass, you darn kids! 😉

    My roots in “the social web”, that is, real, fun communities on the internet, go way back. I got heavily involved in the Ars forums in 2001, and that wasn’t even the beginning. There were Usenet groups before that…

    Ah, history!

  3. yeah, i agree. I hardly use FB any more. I added a load of apps, before finding them thoroughly useless and removing them again. Twitter and RSS keeps me in as much contact as I can handle. You won’t be able to remove your FB account even if you wanted to. Your info is theirs, forever.

  4. I think these social networking sites are what you make of it. In other words, it’s your own fault.

    For example, on LinkedIn I am VERY careful with who I connect with. It isn’t just a social network for me, it is my professional network. My rule of thumb: If I wouldnt pick up the phone and whole heartidly endorse someone, I don’t accept their request.

    Similar actions for me on Facebook. I only connect with people I actually know…in person! I read Rick Turoczy’s blog Silicon Florist. I interact with im on twitter, and sometimes even by email. But he isn’t a “friend” (sorry, Rick). So guess what, he isn’t a friend of mine on Facebook!

    Novel concept, I know. But I am not worn out by Facebook or overwhelmed with requests and invitations. It is just a very conveinent way for me to stay in contact with the people I care about.

    It is what you make of it…..

  5. MySpace irritates me beyond belief, but like you, it’s essentially because it’s an eyesore and it’s participants seem to take great joy in making it even uglier. Facebook…never became addicted as such, but I do like it for linking my family together who are spread across the globe. And it’s a really easy way to share photo’s with select groups. And of course for Scrabulous, which seems to go in fits and starts for me.

  6. @Jeff You’re right. It is my own fault. :-) I adopted an “accept everyone” approach on Facebook, as an experiment. And now I can see the results are “bleh”. So I’m going to ga back through with a different approach, similar to what I’ve done on Twitter. I’m only keeping friends that I’ve met in real life, or have some other real, significant connection to. Not saying one approach to Facebook friending is right or wrong, but I’m going to switch tactics and see what happens.

    Wish me luck, and please, no one take offense if I remove you as a Facebook friend! It’s nothing personal, and if we ever meet, I’ll be happy to re-add you! :-)

  7. @Jeff – Heh. My rule for Twitter is I don’t add people if I have to think for more than half a second “who is this person?” You pass Josh’s Twitter Test, so you’re safe. :-)

  8. WillPS says:

    Josh,
    When are you actually going to publish anything related to this blog’s title, “Tiny Screenfuls”. I found this place when I was looking into buying my Dell Axim, way back in 2005. Back then there would be a healthy amount of small-gadget related content, interspersed with an acceptable amount of gooey stuff and rants (which you can expect of a blog).

    Now though, whenever I turn up I mainly just see total non-news and other garbage. I understand that you are very proud of your family and yes in small doses it shows a more human side to you. But this site has kind of lost its way somewhat. Are you officially not fussed about gadgets any more? Frankly I want less human and more gadget-time robot opinions! Haven’t you got another blog thats about your family? I mean it seems a bit silly having that and then posts on what’s supposed to be a techno-blog aswell.

    Sorry if I appear to be harsh, but I did used to really enjoy perusing through your blog from time-to-time, but these days it just seems a bit too slushy and without a purpose. If I were you I’d redefine your remit and then at least your blog viewers will come knowing what to expect. If this is now your personal web home (with gadgets playing only a very minor part) then pardon me =).

    William x

  9. Just a thought, but I’ve found that a lot of people (myself included) sign up for these social networks expecting to all of a sudden be in constant contact with all of our long lost friends and hear all kinds of interesting things about what they are doing (not to mention a little time for bragging rights of our own).

    The missing link: you have to send a message to get one in return. Of course doing this seems like all kinds of fun initially but as time goes on we realize that it’s just a whole lot of work to keep in constant communication with a ton of people we don’t see every day.

    I think the big issue is that each of us has a limit to the number of things or people we can really give our attention to in any given day and I don’t know about you but 400 is way beyond my daily limit.

    Perhaps you should use twitter or some other resource to stay in daily communication with those people who are a part of your everyday life and turn to facebook as a novelty thing once a week or once a month. Then you can scroll through your list of friends and get an update from a few of them once in awhile. I don’t think you can expect much more then that from an online social network.

    Sion

  10. Mike says:

    Hmm, I started on Facebook and lost interest pretty quickly. No, let me amend that: I never really got started, I just dipped a toe in and have not been back in a couple of months.

    Maybe I’m too old. But I think it’s more about reaching a point where I focus on fewer people and deeper relationships, and there is always the off-line life. Also, I’ve got kids.

    Twitter is more immediate. RSS feeds are more thoughtful. Email is more detailed. IM or phone are more personal. Having a beer/coffee/Coke/water together is the most personal. And they are all tiers of the social network, ranging from acquainted-stranger to spouse, and they all have their place in the relationships we keep.

    As for MySpace, it’s trashy, but I’ve been running a page there for one of my child’s high school performance groups for about four months and the page is doing a pretty good job of connecting the performers and their audience. Of course, I have a personal page there that I started to check up on my kids and their friends, but I don’t show up there more than a couple of times a month to make sure it has not been hacked.

    Lastly, WillPS has a point, your blog has changed. But I think the blog has changed for the better, social networking and Internet life seem to be your new focus. The blog has changed as your interests have grown. Gadgets do not hold the same priority as they used to at tinyscreenfuls, but other aspects of a tinyscreenful are being covered on a regular basis.

    I, for one, like the shift, and I like gadgets, too.

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