Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Facebook Experiment Continues (still)

Ted Leonsis is the owner of the Washington Capitals. The ex-AOL executive is very tech savvy. He prides himself on being open and available and was one of the first owners to use blogs to communicate information.

He has the same issues I find myself having with Facebook. Just on a (much) larger scale. And I don't have people asking me for venture capital.

6+ months into the Great Facebook Experiment, here's what I am finding:

- Personal friends are now slowly creeping into Facebook. Part of the upswing is a result of the pending 20 year high school reunion. This is a good thing. I think.....

- Interestingly, the majority of my personal friends are still found over at LinkedIn. My professional friends are dominantly at Facebook. Hmmmm....

- I agree with Ted - Facebook is getting way too cluttered. I still enjoy throwing the occasional chicken. But this is getting ridiculous. I have a vampire bite, an easter egg, and some other miscellany waiting for me to authorize and they all require me to add yet another ap on my profile and send my information to some group of strangers. Love you all but no thanks. Just throw me a chicken.

- Have you started to find yourself dreading yet another email from Facebook announcing something that you have to log into Facebook to deal with?

- Is it just me or is Facebook tough to navigate? 6 months in and I'm still trying to remember how to see my inbox, edit my profile and find new friends. Mostly trying to cut through the clutter. LinkedIn, to me, is much easier to navigate and find friends of friends. Maybe I just don't play in the Facebook sandbox enough.

- Ultimately, Facebook, for me, is a solution looking for a problem. I am not interested in creating new problems for myself in order to use a tool (please see Twitter....). I have enough on my plate already, thanks.

My attempts to use Facebook as a personal toolkit haven't worked all that well. I think it's because I haven't found a compelling reason to really work with it the way it probably needs to be worked with.

So how has your Facebook experiment been going?


Anonymous said...

Personally, Facebook has been great for me to reconnect with personal friends. I'm going to visit with my best friend from high school this weekend after losing touch for several years because she found me on Facebook. Facebook has been especially good for helping me find people who were in the same musical groups years ago; there's alumni groups for both the youth orchestra and marching band I was in.

Status updates are fun, and they do let me get some glimpses of what people are doing without investing time in something like Twitter. I knew Cammy was sick because of her Facebook updates, for example. I'm having a blast playing Scrabulous with people, even though I keep losing.

I turned off the email notifications because they drove me nuts too. (Go to Account, then Notifications.) I actually don't have trouble navigating it, but I probably go in every day now that I'm playing Scrabulous. Maybe it's that I use it more often.

Facebook is a lot of fun, and I'm enjoying the personal networking. It hasn't been a tool for my personal learning or anything like that though. I'm OK with that though; it's OK for me to have a site that is for nothing more than personal networking and playing games. As long as I don't expect anything more out of Facebook, I'm not disappointed.

This does remind me that I haven't thrown anything at you in a while. Probably time to do that again...

Anonymous said...

I agree with you with regard to the installation of yet another app on a daily basis, but I am far more peeved by the quizzes or tests that won't show me my results unless I send 15 or 20 invitations to others. I mean, I opted to do the quiz because it interested me, I don't assume everyone else is interested in the same things! I'd far rather know BEFORE I take the quiz that this requirement is going to be imposed, rather than at the point at which I am expecting results/feedback.

The things I really enjoy, though are:

Like Christy, the opportunity to re-establish contact with people I haven't seen in yonks. The problem is that most of the girls have got married - they don't all include their maiden names and I don't know their married names.

I LOVE Scrabulous! I have usually got at least two games on the go.

I love logging in and seeing that little bracketed numbed that tells me I have some messages - not the public type that appear on my Wall, but the type that come to my Inbox.

I enjoy looking at the photos my FB friends upload - it add such a personal element to the relationship, even those who started out as professional contacts. I am in awe of Stephen Downes's bookshelves and in envy of Janet Clarey's back garden, complete with hockey rink.

What I do find is that I am not engaging as much as a I feel I should with the professional SIGs I joined.

But I have learned an interesting lesson about my priorities lately. I can't access FB from work - it's one of the things that's blocked, and I am currently without the Internet in the new house, so I borrow my husband's phone every other night to log on and play my turn at Scrabulous. Everything else, it seems, can wait!

Wendy said...

Christy and Karen - You may be right. I'm probably asking too much....or too little.

And it sounds like I ought to try that Scrabulous thing y'all are talking about. Though with as scattered as my mind has been recently, I'm afraid I would never get any working or blogging done again :)

Anonymous said...

Like you, I have experimented with Facebook to see whether the platform can be used for my work in non-formal education.

It hasn't worked that well either, and through my experiment I found many reasons, problems and issues with Facebook that made me very hesitant about promoting the platform through using it for work...

Like Ted writes, Facebook has turned into a bazaar.

The question remains: Where do we go from here?

So long Facebook.

Wendy said...

Yeah - and I think that's where I and a lot of others are having issues. It's nice if you are strictly looking at it as a fun, hang with friends sort of thing. Not so cool for other more "professional" aspirations.

Even more aggravating is that I am starting to read articles about how a company is going to start a "social networking initiative" with no real understanding or clue about what it is they are going to DO. (a recent article that I can't quite lay my hands on with the CEO from starbucks - case in point).

I get enough ads in my life as it is.

BTW Andreas - great blog post.

Anonymous said...

I sent fellow blogger Dave Ferguson ( an invite yesterday. I told him I was having some fun with FB. It's a nice aggregator of all of my online friends and their day-to-day stuff. It's making my relationships somewhat richer. Kind of feels at times like I'm working back in an office...for instance my status the other day was something about being po'd and I need chocolate...of course Christi ( came to my rescue and sent me chocolate and a link to an article about antioxidants in hot chocolate. So, it was kind of like she took a walk with me for the vending maching 2 PM pick-me-up.

As well, I'm getting in touch with some of my classmates at Syracuse University. It's "What did I miss" stuff...and "are you using the template on page 83 or what?" So I guess that's the educational value for me.

Also, from a business perspective I have some new people reading my blog directly through Facebook. And some new friends that have long time relationships with Brandon Hall.

BTW...a recent survey I ran indicated 67% of organizations were blocking at least some social networking sites...FB was one of the top 3 mentioned.

I have very few corporate friends that are not former co-workers.