Facebook 1, Blog 0

Yikes - over a month without a post.

Is it because I'm too busy?
Is it because I'm working three jobs?
Is it because blogging is SO 2005?

Yeah, probably. But I'm going to blame it on Facebook.

I didn't understand Facebook at first. I've had a page for some time, but I never checked it unless I got an email telling me that someone had sent me a message on it. Even then I was irritated by it - I just didn't understand how people could spend any time on it. It always took me about 5 minutes to become bored by it, so I'd read my messages, remind the people who sent them that I could be reached on Gmail, and leave.

What irritated me about it was the way it turned the internet into a popularity contest on several levels. First, you have the question of friend count. Who has more than you, and why? Why is that person friends with her and not with you? Should I mine her friend list to increase my own? All pitiful things to ask yourself. Shouldn't your friends be more a matter of quality than quantity?

Then you have the daily contest of status updates. Should I be honest about what is actually on my mind, or is today a day for song lyrics, movie quotes, or your "Which Twilight Character are You?" quiz results? Score is kept in "likes" and comments, but it's not a simple process of addition. You must also figure in the content of the comments, subtracting half for those who both like and comment, and then you must consider the "likes" OF the comments - do you get those points, or do you share them with the commenter? I'm not sure - I believe the scoring system is actually based on a combination of the rules for the BCS rankings and Quidditch...

There are other arenas for Facebook combat as well. Pictures, for example - you can post, caption, tag, like, comment, untag, and generally bore everyone with the photos that aren't good enough to use as wallpaper on your phone. These fall into three broad categories; 1) profile pics so heavily 'shopped that your mom wouldn't recognize you, 2) horrible pics of you tagged by someone else, and 3) a category simply titled, "dude, we were so faded that night..." Incidentally, none of those albums are going to be particularly flattering to you twenty years from now when you run for office.

Despite how ridiculous I find this all to be, Facebook now occupies far too much of my time. For all its narcissism and shallow quantifications of net friend worth, it actually does what it claims to do - help people stay connected.

Do I think it might do that at the expense of face-to-face communication? Yes.
Do I worry that it is killing internet exchanges in longer formats? Absolutely.
Do I believe that it's creating an even more dysfunctional and self-aggrandizing generation than my own? Almost certainly, and that's saying something because let's face it, we Gen X babies are pretty much the poster children of me-theism. Never the less, it expands the neurological boundaries of our ability to establish network ties, allowing us to build "friendships" in numbers unknown to humans at any previous time in our existence. The ties are weak, certainly, but it is the sheer quantity that is remarkable - it has enabled humans to maintain sociality at a level beyond our cranial capacity. For that alone, it may be one of the most important things to arise on the internet so far.

So that's my excuse. I haven't blogged for over a month because I have become far too enthralled with Facebook. Sorry, but it's true. I'm sure that's not a shock to any of you - you probably got here via a Facebook link anyway...

5 comments:

Sci Fi Heroine said...

I did get here through the Facebook link. *shame* It is a time-suck, but not nearly as big a one for me as blogs. And it gives me the illusion of being a social person. :p

becca said...

Facebook is blocked in China. So is blogger and a lot of other things that helped me keep connected to people I love over the past few years (as well as wasting a lot of my time I'm sure). I think I read like 7 books in three weeks with all that time on my hands. I was glad to come home and get back to my computer. If you are feeling the need for some personal connections take a trip down to Denver and we can hang . . .

His Sinfulness said...

Hi Becca,

We may be headed down to Denver during the holidays - I'll keep you posted. :)

Mayren said...

Whatever. I need my random Twitters from Friday. She's the star anyways. The Pontiff is just the background - handmade soap scrubbin - guy behind the curtain hanging out with the great and powerful Oz who also smells like Tibetan black Tea while they drink Yerba Matte in kilts and munch on apple butter.

Just sayin...

His Sinfulness said...

It's true. Friday is the real talent around here - at least she has something to say almost daily. :)

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