Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Comments on the Facebook Adoption Curve

I've been getting some amazing comments on Facebook. Too much food for thought!!!!

For those (like me) who hate leaving our feed readers, I'll share:

sleepycat said...
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.

christytucker said...
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. 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!!!!!!


Cammy Bean said...

Frankly, I think us eLearning blogging types went into the whole Facebook thing as weirdos -- trying to figure out how to LEARN from this social tool.

So my FB friends are mostly eLearning professional geeky types like yourself (ahem), but I've also found my past creeping into it. Which is weird. To me. This odd mixing of the personal and professional. I've found I'm keeping in great touch with some long lost friends and I like that (even friends who I would email occasionally, I now find I stay in better contact with via FB.)

As to all the widget surplus -- I've just started ignoring invitations and flower pot requests and zombies. It feels weird to ignore invitations. But also quite freeing now that I've just accepted it.

Anonymous said...

Seems "how much I REALLY want to share" online is based on how much others share (where the bar is set) and how much my 'friends' can tolerate. You all seem to be a pretty hearty group ; )

I can see this more from a distance when I get involved in blogs outside the education niche. Those Mom blogs with attitude set a new bar for how much one needs to know.

Yet I read. And write. And do status updates. And tweet. And wonder if I've said too much.

All I can hope for now is the ability to spot an 'unsubscribe' trend or the sudden exodus of online friends.

An interview I did with someone about Facebook made me realize that the service creates an increased likelihood for staying in touch with people. It decreased the effort of staying in touch. It's like living in the same neighborhood.

When my FB status was ''pissed off, in need of chocolate', Christy Tucker came to my rescue. When I was sporting shoes as a profile pic, Karyn Romeis sent me a picture of her calves. I fear Cammy's scrabble skills. Joan Vinall-Cox will give me just the type of nudge that makes me smile.

It's the new neighborhood. The girls hang with the girls but we don't talk about the guys, we talk about instructional design. Think of how much fun we'd have at a pajama (pyjama for Karyn) party.

Truth or dare? Crap, that won't work. Damn memes.

Anonymous said...

@Cammy, you're right. I signed up for Facebook with a mission of exploring it as a learning tool. But I'd had my account for less than 2 hours when I got my first friend invite--from a middle school classmate.

I still overthink some things because of the mix of professional and personal. Should I put religious-themed books on my reading list? I have, and I do wonder if that's going to come back to haunt me at some point. Until Facebook, I'd been very cautious about not doing anything related to religion under my actual name.

I don't overthink the application invites though; if I'm not interested, I ignore it. I'm also trying to not contribute to the invite spam too much by only sending things to people who have already installed the app, but I know I've screwed up sometimes.

@Janet, the neighborhood idea rings true for me too. I wouldn't have contact with many of my past friends if it weren't for Facebook. I'm lousy at keeping up with friends if mass emails are my best option, but Facebook makes it easy.

I have to share a story with you all. (Just imagine that pajama party, OK?) I got an invite from a college classmate who I haven't talked to since she graduated 10 years ago. She commented on my wall that she thought she saw me at Trader Joe's recently. We live in the same town of 30,000 people, but I was oblivious until she commented on my wall. It's a little crazy.

I have been rethinking my statement that it's all about the connections though. I think it's all about the Scrabulous. By the way Wendy, it's been your turn for ages. You're holding up the game. ;-)

Sarah Stewart said...

What I think is weird is the relationship I have with my daughter on FB. She lives just down the road from me in a flat (she's nearly 20). We communicate by text & FB. I don't like to look at her FB account because I feel like I am spying on her life.

Anonymous said...

Wait, you've done Second Life? I'd like to hear more about that; to me, it just looks like a (substantially behind the curve) game without the game.

I appreciate that virtual spaces will be coming everywhere in the near future, but Second Life is like an in-house proof-of-concept they decided to open up to the public. I don't get the point, really, unless there are a whole lot more people there for cybersex than will confess to it.