nimh
 
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 11:47 am
I thought this was hilarious ... well written, and right on target on many points.

Plus, it's nice to find something on the Weekly Standard I actually agree with.

Quote:
Down with Facebook!

What nobody bothers to mention about the social-networking site is that it's really dull--mind-numbingly dull.

by Matt Labash
The Weekly Standard
03/16/2009

Look at the outer shell--the parachute pants, the piano-key tie, the fake tuxedo T-shirt--and you might mistake me for a slave to fashion. Do not be deceived. Early adoption isn't my thing. I much prefer late adoption, that moment when the trend-worshipping sheeple who have early-adopted drive the unsustainable way of life I so stubbornly cling to ever so close to the edge of obsolescence, that I've no choice but to follow. This explains why I bought cassette tapes until 1999, why I wouldn't purchase a DVD player until Blockbuster cashiered their VHS stock. Toothpaste? I use it now that it's clear it's here to stay.

So I'm not inflexible. But there is one promise I've made to myself. And that is that no matter how long I live, no matter how much pressure is exerted, no matter how socially isolated I become, I will never, ever join Facebook, the omnipresent online social-networking site that like so many things that have menaced our country (the Unabomber, Love Story, David Gergen) came to us from Harvard but has now worked its insidious hooks into every crevice of society.

For the five or six Amish shut-ins who may not yet have heard of this scourge (your tenacious ignorance is to be admired, and I'd immediately friend you if I was into Facebook and you had electricity), Facebook is an online community where colleagues, friends, long-lost acquaintances, friends of friends or long-lost acquaintances, and perfect strangers find and "friend" each other based on their
real or perceived affinity. 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. (Right about now, a Facetard is ginning up an angry letter to the editor saying this would not be the case if you know how to control your privacy settings. Save the geek speech for your Facebook friends, Facetard, I already got my eight hours sleep.)

Why the resistance? There are many factors. But mainly, it's Farhad Manjoo. He's the technology columnist at Slate, an online magazine that I regularly read and a place where I have several real friends, as opposed to the fake friends you collect on Facebook. I've not met Manjoo, who strikes me as a perfectly pleasant fellow even if his ilk is destroying America. A few weeks back, I received an email from a California lawyer friend of mine. A proud skeptic and non-joiner by temperament, he had downed a shot of Kool-Aid and was now asking me to clasp hands and join him in his journey to the new fantasy land of Facebook. Attached to his invitation, intended to shame me out of nonparticipation ("Resistance is futile, join the Borg," he wrote), was a link to a piece Manjoo had just written, tauntingly entitled "You Have No Friends--Everyone else is on Facebook. Why aren't you?"

Manjoo cited all the statistics: Facebook had just added its 150-millionth member and since last August is signing up 374,000 people each day. It has achieved absolute critical mass, thus compounding its utility and effectiveness. Not joining now is an affectation in itself, like refusing to own a cellphone or rejecting the social lubricant of antiperspirant. "Facebook is now at the same point," he wrote. "Whether or not you intend it, you're saying something by staying away."

How right you are, Mr. Manjoo. I am indeed saying something, and it is this: I hate Facebook and everyone on it, including my friends, who I like. My wife just joined it, and I dearly love her. But scratch that. I hate her too. After all, right is right. Sometimes, we courageous few must make a stand.

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." By this week, however, he'd lost all ironic distance. When I told him that he now took it all way too seriously, that I liked the old, conflicted him better, and that he should take a hard look at himself, he sloughed me off. He was now just another friend-whore: "I don't need to look at myself. I have 614 Facebook friends to do the looking for me."

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." To Gutfeld's credit, he is ashamed. He concedes that Facebook is a place that turns adults into teenage girls. "Instead of making things," he says, "We're telling people how great Gossip Girl is. Would your grandfather go on Facebook? Probably not. I think we've become a country thirsting for attention--Facebook is basically Googling yourself for people who don't have enough hits to warrant it." Being a television personality, Gutfeld will go on for the occasional ego-stroke, but admits, "It's all pointless. A Facebook friend won't shave your back."

The hardest to watch fall, however, has been my wife. I'll call her "Alana," since that's her name (but note to Face-tards: Don't try to friend her to heckle me, she will not receive you). A few months back, she became a hardcore Facebook addict, as our late 30s age group has become the fastest-growing Facebook segment (35-54 year-olds have increased 276.4 percent to nearly 7 million users in just the last six months). There are worse things she could become, I suppose: a Meth dealer, a UPS delivery-man groupie, a Twitterer. Still, it's unsettling.

In our house, there have always been clearly defined roles. I procrastinate, shirk responsibilities, and spend much time peppering a fairly wide circle of friends with an incessant barrage of individually tailored emails, many of them lengthy (as opposed to the abbreviated, promiscuously generic, group-blog like messages left on Facebook). I tell myself it keeps me in game-shape, writing-wise, like a baseball player taking cuts in the batting cage. Alana isn't an Internet dawdler by nature, but rather, a doer, a model of graceful efficiency. She is Felix to my Oscar.

But slowly, I noticed things taking a turn. The cosmetic stuff, like her immaculate appearance and hygiene, stayed the same. Nor did I see her do anything too creepy or severe, such as sending pictures of her feet at the request of a new Facebook friend or running out to some hot-sheets motel to get worked like a farm implement by an old high-school flame who'd renewed contact (which happens with some frequency on Facebook). But I did notice a general distractedness, a vacantness, a thousand-yard-stare. She seemed to notice it too. In the old days, she'd check her email maybe once or twice a day. Now, she was hitting her laptop like a rat hits a lever for pellets in a Skinner box.

"I hate myself," she'd say.

"Why?" I'd ask.

"Because I'm becoming you," she said.

A regular complaint around here is that I ignore her when consumed in email correspondence. But now, as I tried to relate a story to her from my day, she'd humor me, dutifully nodding as I'd only see the top of her head, since her nose was buried in her computer. She pretended to listen, but was really just acquiring more Facebook friends or picking a piece of "flair" to put on her message board as if she were a waitress at TGIF's or perhaps contemplating whether to hit someone with a "yellow snowball" (a Facebook application seemingly intended for six-year-olds, in which you can hit a friend with a snowball, leaving them with the knotty moral dilemma of whether to hit you back, though snow, of course, never actually changes hands). Or maybe she'd just be uploading pictures of herself, or worse, of me and the kids and Moses, our Bernese Mountain dog, a presumptuous act. Without our consent, she was incorporating us in her new career as a flasher. It was harmless enough for now: unauthorized photos of me fly fishing, or sitting on the porch with our sons. But with the creeping exhibitionism that takes over most Facebook users, it seemed only a matter of time before she started posting the nudes, some shots I took when I was trying to break into Washington journalism (I was young and needed the money).

Normally a crisp woman who tackles tasks with speed and aplomb, she had a new slackness to her. All the things she usually takes care of without me even being much aware (paying bills, making dinner, etc.) would slide, as she was now filling out the endless Facebook busy-work questionnaires people constantly send to each other like dippy substitute teachers who don't know what assignment to give. As she filled out the now ubiquitous "25 Random Things About Me" list shooting around Facebook circles, near perfect strangers could come to know things it took me years to find out ("I hate when people talk without clearing their throats. . . . I tend to like those with an easy smile") and things I hadn't even yet discovered ("I wish I had more opportunities to shoot a gun").

I'd earned this knowledge by taking the time to get to know her. But now, she was slutting it out for free. And not just to old high school chums who seemed to migrate to Facebook en masse almost instantaneously. Alana accepted friendship from people she knew, people she barely knew, and people who said they knew her, but she couldn't pick out of a police lineup. With some of her new friends, it might come down to that.

One recent afternoon, my sister-in-law came over, carrying the local paper and informing Alana and me that a distant acquaintance from their childhood was on the front page for getting in a barfight, and holding a knife to a guy's neck, leaving a superficial wound. "That's a crazy coincidence," said Alana. "I have a friend request sitting from him in my inbox right now!" I read the story aloud, but Alana went straight to her inbox, looked up the knife-wielder in question, and hit accept. On his Facebook page, he bragged of owning the "friggin' cemetery on Ward Road," while his profile photo featured him holding a fork at an odd angle, not unlike an angle you'd hold a knife against a guy's neck.

"What are you doing?" I asked, incredulous.

"Oh c'mon," Alana said, shooing me off. "He's just a Facebook friend. It's not like we're having him over to the house for dinner."

Time magazine recently declared Facebook more popular than porn. But who are they kidding? Facebook is porn. With porn, you watch other people take off their clothes and abase themselves in public. On Facebook, where there's technically an anti-nudity policy (thus defeating the whole purpose of the Internet), you get to figuratively do the same.

By now, the horror stories are legion. It's a place where anorexics have been caught giving each other new ways to purge, where the Uruguayan interior minister posted pictures of herself in the shower, where a site was set up where young men could boast of hitting prostitutes with donuts and hot chocolate. It's a place where a Swedish nurse got in trouble for posting photos of the brain from a brain surgery she was assisting with, where marauding bands of teenage thugs intercepted birthday party logistics so they could crash a home, leaving it in ruins and the dog comatose, and where a husband ended up hacking his wife to death with a meat cleaver after noticing she'd changed her Facebook status to "single."

It's a place with so many superficial friend hoarders that one guy vowed to eat all 12 McDonald's value meals in one sitting (including the fries) if 100,000 people friended him. They did, and he gave it a go, but somewhere short of the Filet-O-Fish, he ended up violently hurling in the parking lot. It's a place where friendship is so devoid of honor or value that it can be shown up by a cynical burger joint advertising stunt. Burger King, in their "Whopper Sacrifice" campaign, started a Facebook application which would reward you with a free hamburger when you sacrificed ten Facebook friends. Burger King would then send alerts to the jettisoned ones, effectively notifying the newly defriended that they were only worth a tenth of a flame-broiled Whopper. Facebook ended up disabling the application, but not before 233,906 friends were sacrificed.

As if all of this isn't embarrassing enough for Facebook devotees, the most cloying writer in the world, West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, signed on, promising/threatening to write a Facebook movie.

But it isn't for all the aforementioned reasons you should join me in hating Facebook. Far from it. For after going onto my wife's account to know what I'm not missing, I'd have been happy to run into some meat-cleaving husbands, showering Uruguayan ministers, or even Aaron Sorkin (actually, I'd take the McDonald's hurler over Sorkin). That, at least, would've been interesting.

No, the reason to hate Facebook is because of the stultifying mind-numbing inanity of it all, the sheer boredom. If Facebook helps put together streakers with voyeurs, the streakers, for the most part, after shedding their trench coats, seem to be running around not with taut and tanned hard-bodies, but in stained granny panties with dark socks. They have a reality-show star's unquenchable thirst for broadcasting all the details of their lives, no matter how unexceptional those details are. They do so in the steady, Chinese-water-torture drip of status updates. The very fact that they are on the air (or rather, on Facebook) has convinced them that every facet of their life must be inherently interesting enough to alert everyone to its importance.

These are all actual status updates (with name changes): "Maria is eating Girl Scout cookies. ... Tom is glad it's the weekend. ... Jacinda is longing for some sleep, pillow come to momma! ... Dan is going to get something to eat. ... Anne is taking Tyler to daycare. ... Amber loves to dip. I can dip almost any food in blue cheese, ranch dressing, honey mustard, sour cream, mayonnaise, ketchup. Well, I think you get the point." Yes. Uncle. Please make it stop. For the love of God, we get the point.

Then, of course, there is the crushing anticlimax of people re-entering your life who might've fallen away into your past, because in each other's past is where you mutually belong. Perhaps you haven't seen them in 20 years. Perhaps she was the cheerleader whose shapely legs fired your imagination in geometry class, whose smile could heat the gymnasium, whose jojoba-enriched hair you smelled when you broke into her locker and pulled some strands from her brush, dropping it in a Ziplock baggie, taking it home to fashion an effigy for your hair-doll shrine.

Now you're left on Facebook, desperately trying to recapture the magic by paging through photos of her freckly kids at Busch Gardens, stalking her like some kind of weirdo. She's 15 pounds heavier now. But that's okay, next to her husband, a red-faced orb who used to be a hale three-sport athlete, whose only physical exertion now appears to be curling gin-and-tonics and power carb-loading. But her words are still a caress, as even pixels carry the melodious lilt of a voice that perfumes the air like April birdsong, when she status-updates you and 738 of her closest friends, with: "Madison ate bad clams last night. Boy, does her tummy hurt!!! :-("

Last week, my wife logged onto Facebook, took it in for about three minutes, shook her head, snapped her laptop shut, and sighed.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I don't know, it's not the same," Alana said. "I was into it at first. But then I realized, there's no longer any wonder, any intrigue. Everything's out there, on display. For years, you wondered, 'Whatever happened to so-and-so?' And now you know. All questions get answered. There's no more mystery."

She reminded me of a line from F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Crack-Up": "It is sadder to find the past again and find it inadequate to the present than it is to have it elude you and remain forever a harmonious conception of memory."

Alana put on a winter coat, leashed up Moses, and walked out into the February cold, returning to the land of the living. I was glad to have her back. Maybe I could even learn to love her again, after her torrid Facebook affair. I could stop worrying about her now, and get back to more important things, like my personal email, where I could service my own circle in earnest, devoid of faux interlopers. Where I could experience human complexity: rivalry, and thinly veiled insults, and petty jealousies and imagined slights. Who needs Facebook friends? That's what real friends are for.

Matt Labash is a senior writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 22 • Views: 24,530 • Replies: 93

 
dagmaraka
 
  3  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 11:55 am
Oy. The gentleman certainly likes to listen to himself and has a thang for metaphors.... there might be something to it, but it would have been wittier if it was one third the length.

i have a nagging headache... so wasn't able to finish reading the whole thing (plus he lost my interest after 2-3 paragraphs), more of a bookmark.back later.
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 12:27 pm
Facebook offers an opportunity to have a few feelgood moments with friends, relatives, acquaintances. On groups, it is possible to have something a bit more meaningful. I don't think too much of the layout, format, whatever, but I don't feel robbed of the time I spend on there.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 12:31 pm
There was a hype for "myspace" when it first came out and now there is for
"facebook". I have joined neither for the simple reason that I am in regular
contact with my friends - we have a private forum where some of us
exchange news, pictures etc. and it's just for us - the URL is probably known only to us, yet it is password protected and all. With less internet addictive friends, we keep in touch via email or phone, so I am set. I have a small close-knit group of friends, that's all I need and can handle.

I've been there with long lost classmates, exes and the likes - once you open
Pandora's Box it's awfully hard to close it again.

My 2 cents of course! For others it is a great tool to keep up with friends
and look for old/new ones. I don't discredit them the least.


0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  3  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 12:37 pm
@dagmaraka,
patiodog is in agreement, but thinks that it only differs from a2k in degree, not in quality.





but it sure does open up couch-crashing options in cities where I didn't know anybody before...
eoe
 
  3  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 12:39 pm
I never got to why Mr. Labash hates Facebook so. I got tired of reading what soon became the equivalent of "listening to himself talk".

I resisted Facebook until September of last year. Since then, I've hooked up with old friends from ten-twenty-plus years ago. It's been great.
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 12:44 pm
@patiodog,
patiodog wrote:

patiodog is in agreement, but thinks that it only differs from a2k in degree, not in quality.





but it sure does open up couch-crashing options in cities where I didn't know anybody before...


do you know couchsurfers? it's a website devoted to couchsurfing in cities where you don't know anyone. check it out.
kickycan
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 12:54 pm
I knew I was resisting this craze for some reason, and now I see why. It's this whole thing about keeping connected with old friends and keeping them updated on your daily life. Why the hell would anyone want to do that? If I want to look up an old friend, I'll google the sonofabitch.

patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 01:02 pm
@dagmaraka,
I know of the couchsurfers website. Much easier to look up old friends, tho, and not get surprised by, you know, Missionary Girl or Ed Gein...
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 01:16 pm
@patiodog,
haha, yes. i haven't done the couchsurfer thing myself... can't bring myself to sleep on some stranger's couch. others swear by it though.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 01:30 pm
@kickycan,
kickycan wrote:

I knew I was resisting this craze for some reason, and now I see why. It's this whole thing about keeping connected with old friends and keeping them updated on your daily life. Why the hell would anyone want to do that? If I want to look up an old friend, I'll google the sonofabitch.

And why would you want to keep long-lost friends updated on your daily life anyway? If there's one you'd really like to be back in touch with, wouldn't it be classier to write a nice email? And then, if desired, chat a bit, person to person? All you need for that is a kind of directory site - like in Hungary everyone is on something called iWiW, where you can look up anyone and message them, share some photos perhaps, and that's basically the extent of it.

I can think of one or two old friends I'm curious about -- but I'd be curious to, you know, catch up some time. Look back at some old times, and generally know how they're doing. I don't want to step into their living room window and follow their day-to-day activities henceforth ...

Seems an odd way to communicate, somehow. Like, here -- I dont really have the time or inclination to actually write you an email, so lemme just include you on my broadcast-to-all about every little thing I'm doing. I mean, it's a great way to feed an attention whore's narcissistic needs to share - not with one or the other person individually, but to a hopefully fascinated and impressed audience - and I do have a bit of that in myself too, but it's hardly something I'd want to be encouraged in.

It seems like, I dunno. It's like how people sent these group e-mails from wherever they were, to keep all their friends at once up-to-date with what they're doing. Which was always kind of tasteless. But then writ large. I don't like it. With hardcore Facebook users, you know - the ones who update their status at least once every day - it smacks more of .. of .. I dunno. Lazy exhibitionism taking the place of actual, personalised communication.

Yeah. There. End of rant. And yeah, I still mourn the death of letter writing too.

Then there's Twittering ... <groan>
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 02:22 pm
@nimh,
Twittering? It's for twits.

Dlowan farted.

Why would anyone think anyone else wants to read about whatever mind-numbingly boring thing I am doing?

Dlowan is posting on A2k.


Dlowan must get off A2k and get ready for work.




Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 02:45 pm
I never get why people go nuts about a tool, instead of how it's being used.

I've spent a grand total of less than an hour of my life on Facebook. But it put me in contact with someone I'd been looking for for years. That was useful to me and wouldn't have happened without such a tool. I don't see the allure of spending much time there, but it has something very valuable in its network effect. It's value is that in some areas (e.g. Canada has gone absolutely nuts for it) it's the best way to find someone. If I wanted to find someone I knew in Brazil I'd use Orkut, if I want to find an adult in the US or Canada I'd use Facebook, and if I had any reason to find a teenager I'd use myspace. You ask why not just use email, well when I do get Facebook messages I usually do ask for them to email me as I don't log in to Facebook every month, but I'm on there because it's a good way to find out email addresses for people I've lost contact with.

And twitter gets a lot of hate from people who think it's absurd to be telling your friends every little thing you do. Look, it's a means of communication. If you were using a phone to tell your friends every time you pooped would you blame the phone? I've been told very useful things on twitter, about tools that I didn't know about from the people who made them (the CSS framework I'm going to use on a2k I learned about on twitter, and I found a bug in it that I told the author about on twitter). It's useful to me for breaking news and for access to certain tech people who I want to ask questions (e.g. I asked the founder of craigslist if they have plans for an API, he said he was interested but it was not in the immediate plans). For things like earthquakes and breaking news like the plane that landed on the Hudson it's a very useful tool. Just this week it was used to help find a suicidal person and prevent a suicide. It's a useful combination of text-messaging, IM and group email.

It's so damned silly to be taking issue with the tools for the ways people use them when there are so many perfectly useful ways for the tools to be used. It's like mocking phones because some teenyboppers spend all their time exchanging "OMG!!!" on the phone, or mocking email because some grandmothers only use it for those "FW: FW: FW: FW: FW: ..." chain mails.

These are all just means of communication. If it's that dull then you and the people you communicate with are just not very interesting.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 02:45 pm
@dlowan,
Is that how you use a phone? If not, why would you suddenly become that person if you used twitter?
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 03:00 pm
@nimh,
nimh wrote:
And why would you want to keep long-lost friends updated on your daily life anyway? If there's one you'd really like to be back in touch with, wouldn't it be classier to write a nice email?


What if you don't have their current email address anymore? A couple of years ago, in this spot you could pay private detectives and people search for a low chance of finding them again. Now it's much easier.

Quote:
I can think of one or two old friends I'm curious about -- but I'd be curious to, you know, catch up some time. Look back at some old times, and generally know how they're doing. I don't want to step into their living room window and follow their day-to-day activities henceforth ...


Then don't. I don't want to get a bunch of forwarded jokes in email too, but I don't knock email. I don't want to spend my life on the phone chatting either, so I don't.

Quote:
Seems an odd way to communicate, somehow. Like, here -- I dont really have the time or inclination to actually write you an email, so lemme just include you on my broadcast-to-all about every little thing I'm doing.


What makes you think this is the only way to use the tool? You can do that with email as well, so I suppose you'll be ditching email?

Quote:
I mean, it's a great way to feed an attention whore's narcissistic needs to share - not with one or the other person individually, but to a hopefully fascinated and impressed audience - and I do have a bit of that in myself too, but it's hardly something I'd want to be encouraged in.


If you are an attention whore it's not the fault of any communication tool or medium. But this very scenario is actually very useful, despite your negative characterization of it. It's a one-to-many relationship. You blog, and you go around trying to get strangers to read it. Why don't you just email your blog posts to a handful of friends? Because an audience is sometimes useful and sometimes talking about something in public with strangers is more useful than emailing your friends.

Barack Obama has a twitter account, Google has a twitter account. These folk have legitimate use for a one-to-many communication medium. They don't want me in their email inbox but they use twitter very successfully as a means to communicate with many.

Note: I am not a fan of Facebook. The founder was paid to make the site for someone else, and stole the idea and code for it. I've never liked the social networks that much and would love to see Facebook specifically fail. But I'm tired of people attacking new technologies and tools just because they haven't figured out a personally useful use for them.

It reminds me of the people who used to not get email, or IM. I hate chatting, for example, and my friends are always mad that I won't chat on MSN Messenger et all but the chatting tools are very useful to me in as a semi-asynchronous communication medium that's between email and phone conversations and I use it for work daily.

I don't get the endless chat thing many young people do, but if I were to take this kind of point of view, I'd throw the baby out with the bathwater, and not use the tool just because of some of the tools who use it.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 05:09 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Eh. If a specific medium or tool is used overwhelmingly to exchange inanities, then you'll come to associate that tool with inanities. It's only human. Sure, if you tune in to, I dunno, what's the equivalent of NPR on television?, then you can probably find some beautiful documentaries, and they have some really cool comedy on Showtime. But if 95% of what's on TV is garbage, then you're still regularly gonna mutter to yourself, "Down with Television!"

E.g. I long used MySpace to source music, and I still do occasionally, cause there isn't a band so obscure, it seems, or they have a number of tracks on MySpace. So sure, that's a worthy use of the medium. But since MySpace pages are overwhelmingly teenage riots of loud or kitschy colour and sound, when I think "MySpace" I still think "yuck". Is that fair to the creators of the medium or the tool? Hell, I dunno. Probably not. But there you are.

Same with Facebook.

Edit: Oh, and to whoever tagged this thread with "Nimh Whines, Nimh Whine", **** you too! Laughing
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 05:39 pm
@nimh,
nimh wrote:
Eh. If a specific medium or tool is used overwhelmingly to exchange inanities, then you'll come to associate that tool with inanities.


I don't even think you are right that it's primarily used for inanities though.

For example, when I first came across twitter, I didn't think it would be useful to me. It sold itself as being a way to tell others what you are doing, and I didn't think that would be useful.

When others mocked twitter for being a place where people inform others that they are taking a dump I agreed, and had your same opinion.

But since I created my own account and used it a bit I've found that it really isn't about that for me or for anyone I know using it. It's just a communications tool that has a couple of neat technical aspects (asynchronous, one-to-many, cross platform) that can facilitate certain kinds of communication.

And any tool has a signal to noise ratio with noise that you may find not useful. These tools happen to have a lot of ways to filter the noise for yourself and are improvements in that regard to me.

Quote:
It's only human. Sure, if you tune in to, I dunno, what's the equivalent of NPR on television?, then you can probably find some beautiful documentaries, and they have some really cool comedy on Showtime. But if 95% of what's on TV is garbage, then you're still regularly gonna mutter to yourself, "Down with Television!"


Sure, some people do, but I think it's daft. Email traffic is mostly spam, but instead of giving up on email I filter the noise. I suspect phones are mostly used for inanities as well, so I use technology to filter the noise (e.g. grandcentral, which Google bought and turned into Google Voice).

And even TV is a good example, I don't watch TV. But the reason isn't because of bad shows it's because of I don't like having to watch it when it's on. I do, however, watch some TV shows through time-shifting and I don't have to wade through all the noise for the signal.

It may well be human nature to throw out the baby with the bath water, but that doesn't make it intelligent.

Quote:
E.g. I long used MySpace to source music, and I still do occasionally, cause there isn't a band so obscure, it seems, or they have a number of tracks on MySpace. So sure, that's a worthy use of the medium. But since MySpace pages are overwhelmingly teenage riots of loud or kitschy colour and sound, when I think "MySpace" I still think "yuck". Is that fair to the creators of the medium or the tool? Hell, I dunno. Probably not. But there you are.


I happen to think the sound and layouts is a fair criticism of them, and they are spending a lot of money trying to reverse it and make it more usable and less gaudy.

But they are too late, and Facebook's growth can largely be attributed to them getting fundamental things right that MySpace didn't. Facebook isn't as gaudy for a reason, and I think MySpace is because of inherent reasons.

Quote:
Edit: Oh, and to whoever tagged this thread with "Nimh Whines, Nimh Whine", **** you too! Laughing


Well, that wasn't me. If I want to say something about a thread I'll post it under my name instead of that passive-aggressive bullshit.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 06:04 pm
Robert already made this point but to reinforce it, Facebook has become the place where Americans my age are most likely to be registered/ the easiest way to find them. (Especially women who have gotten married and have changed their names.) Basically the equivalent of iWiW that nimh mentioned.

I came to Facebook from Classmates.com, mostly. I was invited to Facebook by a friend a bit more than a year ago, joined, and proceeded to do nothing. It was really boring. Then plans for my 20-yr HS reunion started percolating through Classmates.com, but there were lots of blocks and annoyances and stuff you had to pay for. I suggested that we move the stuff we were doing on Classmates.com over to Facebook and it became way more efficient and free too. This led to reconnecting with a bunch of high school friends.

I'm also still getting to know people in my area and Facebook has been fun for that -- I've made two new friends basically through FB (we nodded and smiled before that as one of those general female "hi, you seem like an interesting person" things, but none of their kids are in the same grade as sozlet and we didn't have much occasion to interact socially), just went to a party at the house of one of 'em and got to know both of them a lot better.

There's all the same hearing-related stuff there as here (A2K) -- what I LOVE is the incidental contact aspect, especially with certain kinds of riffy friends who don't live here. I have guy friends who if I send them an email saying "How's life?" they'll say "Fine, you?" and that'll pretty much be that. In person, we'd comment on someone walking by and then be off on a half-hour riff about this and that but nothing in particular. On Facebook, we do the riff thing -- I comment on a mutual friend's status, say, and the other person also comments, and we're off.

Which is basically agreeing with patiodog re: it being quite similar to here just with different players (for me, anyway, but I know that many A2K'ers interact with each other on FB too).
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  4  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 06:26 pm
Ditto it being a useful place to look up people you wouldn't have otherwise.

One ex and one-time close friend friended me on facebook and said she'd been trying to look me up for years, but since I've got an exceedingly common name (and my last name is an exceedingly common noun) and are no longer in touch with any common friends (she moved to another continent several years ago), this is virtually impossible. I know -- I've tried to look myself up, and couldn't find myself, either. But on facebook my name matched with my alma mater, et voila.

Same goes for a couple of people who weren't so close years ago but can serve as very valuable contacts in that grey area between friends and professional acquaintances, so there it goes.

I agree there's a lot of noise, and a lot of annoying bullshit. So it goes. People generally annoy me on the highway, too, but I use it when I need to.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 01:27 pm
OK.

So ... as irony would have it, I joined Twitter just now, just so as to follow Christopher Walken, who's craftily hilarious.

Hey, I never said I was consistent.
 

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