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facebook, eh?

So it seems that the recent kookooery around Facebook in my digital network is not a totally isolated blip of the Montreal geek world. Says Facebook Blog:

If you were to check out the Toronto, ON network page, you’d notice that the Toronto network has over half a million members—a huge chunk of the explosive growth Facebook has recently seen in Canada (2 million Canadian users—or 10% of the Facebook population—and counting).

I understand Facebook now (it’s about the groups) but I don’t particularly like it. I mean, I don’t dislike it, but … anyway.

For those looking for me … I am listed under: Hugh McGuire (of Montreal, QC).


  1. Alexandre Alexandre 2007-06-02

    What’s funny is that I recently became something of a Fb apologist. Not that I find the system to be ideal but I’ve been pretty active on it in the last couple of months, after giving a lecture on social networks.
    I personally wouldn’t say that it’s about groups. Groups are an important component of the Fb experience for many people and Fb groups are in some ways neater than other online groups. But it’s possible to get something out of Fb without joining any group. Especially now, with third party applications and Canadian support for the Mobile application.

    Yet, there are several things which are annoying on Fb. Lack of language support is a big one for me.

  2. Shawna Nelles Shawna Nelles 2007-06-02

    I agree it’s not about groups.. it’s another “it is what you make it” I think… but with restrictions that bug me, and of all the social network things I have tried out, it seems the most annoyingly invasive in my life for some reason – haven’t quite figured out why. Maybe it’s everyone poking me. ;) hehe (yet I am determined to win those wars) Anyway.. I’m liking / not liking it as well… but liking it more than I did at first, and just going with it.

  3. Alexandre Alexandre 2007-06-02

    It can be pretty invasive, especially if you let it. Dunno if there’s a way to prevent pokes (there’s a way to customise the action with the “X me” application) because I’m not often poked. The difference might be gendered or it might be based on notoriety.
    Fb is clearly not for everyone.
    That’s why it’s interesting to talk about it.
    The “what you make it” is, I think, what technology should be about and I find Fb fairly successful at this. Not “the next big thing.” Just, a nice tool that makes for fascinating observation of human behaviour.

    Still, it really is the MySpace killer… ;-)

  4. jer jer 2007-06-02

    +1 for not about groups. if anything, it just offers a better group experience because unlike The Rest of The Interweb, Facebook links every activity with a real person, vouched for by and responsible to people they know, which is the best anti-troll voodoo available. The trick was in convincing people to come online and irrevocably sign up as themselves, which is a trick because people like Shawna end up uncomfortable. Luckily there’s enough social pressure to conform that people will join anyway.

    @alexandre, i think that part of the idea IS that it be for everyone. So far my experience has been that everyone I know has already joined and i’m realizing that i’m wrong only insofar as new poeople are joining all the time (largely among my adult-friends, who have surged recently). The only people I know who consciously don’t use it are people without internet connections (coincidentally, they also dont’ use email consistently, go figure). This of course isn’t the point as much as the effect of the system, but it seems to me that at this point Facebook is by leaps and bounds the best candidate for a unified social networking platform. Hopefully all the ridiculous new “apps” won’t get in the way (is it just me or does “uber music player” smell like MySpace to you?)

    p.s. props out to Hugh for the subscription thing. The kids love when they get what they want.

  5. Hugh Hugh 2007-06-03

    “if anything, it just offers a better group experience because unlike The Rest of The Interweb, Facebook links every activity with a real person”

    that’s actually what i “meant” when I said groups … i didn’t really mean groups. what i mean was that it publishes everything you do and your friends do in the system. so you can watch as other people add friends etc …

    and the reason i don’t really like it is that it is a very good tool for what it is; a publisher of your personal/private interactions (which is of course fascinating).

  6. Alexandre Alexandre 2007-06-04

    Interesting discussion.
    We seem to agree that Fb is pretty much what a Social Networking System should be. As one of the few people to really miss, Fb is the first SNS which brings me the kind of satisfaction from that early era in SNS.
    Where Fb seems more limited is in the sense that not everyone is into SNS. Many of my real life friends, even those who are quite active online, shy away from online SNS. Part of it is a perception that it’s time-consuming, but part of it is that people already network very efficiently offline or through other means (including email).
    There’s also the buzz factor. To me, the current buzz about Fb hides some of the real strengths of the system. The little things. Including the fact that you can spend a few minutes a week on the system and reap some of the benefits. Or the fact that it’s still pretty much U.S.-centric. Or the fact that there’s currently no obvious way to transfer your contacts to another service. Or even the way people manage their own level of general privacy (because they can’t manage different levels for different people).
    Feels a bit like “the thing of the day.” But there’s potential for Fb to start up something bigger, IMHO.

  7. Hugh Hugh 2007-06-04

    among the things i don’t like are:

    1. it puts my social interactions into the control of a private corporation on which I have no influence

    2. i don’t like all the data that facebook requires, wants, and generates (ie who are my friends, what do we like, etc) and what that might mean in the long run.

    3. in general fb doesn’t improve my life in any significant way

    still i can see the attraction – it’s an uber social network site – linking calendars, chat, networks, photos, email etc etc … and will become more so as they have opened the platform up to developers. it’s a great tool, and a great “product” … but i’m not really comfortable with it, mainly because it is excellent at doing what it’s doing.

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