For those (like me) who hate leaving our feed readers, I'll share:
For me (as a 35+ person), the generalness (for lack of a better term) of Facebook that really holds no appeal. I blog and read blogs that appeal to me. I'm active in subject-focused social networks. That's enough. I think you're right in that it does come down to priorities. If I'm getting sucked into another network that eats up my time and takes me away from other things and people then there needs to be a payoff greater than the cost. I learn from the blogs I choose to read and the networks in which I participate. Despite what others have written, I don't see a lot of learning in the purely social nature of Facebook
On a certain level, I agree. Facebook has an overwhelming number of gadgets and widgets. And I am also going to go on record stating that I HATE HATE HATE that I always have to install yet another widget on my facebook page when people contact me (usually by zombifying, sending cards, etc).
I'm starting to think it is best approached much like Second Life. Know what you want to get out of it before you go in. Otherwise, you won't get much out of it.
My dad, who is 58, joined Facebook not too long ago. He got a friend invite from someone whose name he didn't recognize. That's because she changed it when she got married and doesn't have the same name as when they were in junior high together.
Although when I started playing with Facebook I expected it to be more about connecting with other bloggers like you, I've gotten much more from it connecting with people from college, high school, and music groups. It's been much more about those connections than anything else.
Even I, as an only 31-year-old, didn't "get" that part of it. It's about those connections--it isn't about something else. It's about having a way of maintaining those connections from different places in your life, knowing what's happening in their lives and sharing what's happening in yours. And yes, it's the little things in our lives as much as the big ones. I found out that a lifelong friend is expecting kid #2 through Facebook--there is that big news. But all the little daily things matter: Cammy was sick for ages this winter, Janet has awesome shoes in her new picture, my friend Julie is craving s'mores right now.
But when you think about your friend MZ, how much of that relationship was built around the small little experiences your freshman year? Yes, there are clearly big things that keep you together too. But the little experiences in the cafeteria or the quad or the dorms--the stuff of ordinary life--that's part of your relationship too.
You know, I guess my thinking has been moving this direction for a while, but it hadn't crystallized yet. I think Facebook is really about the connections and relationships--everything else is just a side effect or an environment built to support relationships.
Thanks for giving me a space to think out loud and process this all.
So what do you think? Is there some deep purpose that I'm missing? Am I oversimplifying it?
Christy - as always, your space is my space. Oh yeah, and I took the liberty to highlight the most important point (in my mind).
And, like you, I went in with 2 purposes. First, to keep in touch with my blog buddies (As Dr. Bob put it - I turned it into a Blog tool). Second, to see whether I can create a one-stop shop for all of my online activities. Not so successful with the second.
The fact that folks from my past have started making an appearance is both thrilling and a wee bit disconcerting. I suspect that reaction has more to do with my naturally antisocial nature and more than a little shock that someone from that long ago actually wanted to get in touch with me.
And there is still the issue of "how much do you REALLY want to share"? Unlike the day to day minutia that bonds us in face-to-face life, stuff dumped online isn't particularly fleeting. It's all historical record which can be used for good or ill.
Then there is Clark Quinn's take on the issue.
Uh...my inclination is to run and hide. I don't know about you but I am starting to get panic attacks when I see the facebook junk in my inbox. Especially the "Compare People" stuff. Ack!!!!!
The genie is now out of the bottle!!!!!!