Sunday, October 12, 2008

Facebook Is Probably About to Be Over

Because I finally joined.

Now, back in my youth, I was quick to jump into social networking sites. I joined I joined Friendster and spent hours of The San Francisco Chronicle's time collecting friends and writing "testimonials" about them.

However, after both those sites fizzled out once people realized there was nothing to do there once you had collected your friends, I learned my lesson. I resisted joining MySpace no matter how many people "invited" me to do so. I ignored invitations to join Facebook, too.

Until now. I finally got myself on Facebook, and I must say that I'm impressed that the people who put it together actually thought to include stuff to do once you're there. Instant message chat, posting photos, commenting on photos, etc. And that little "what I'm doing right now" thing. Cute.

But what really struck me was scrolling through the friend lists of my newly assembled "friends." Some people I know have hundreds of them, and I am wondering, who the hell are all these people? It was like finding out that my nearest and dearest were cheating on me ... with literally hundreds of strangers.

Then there were the etiquette quandaries. Is there some measure of how well you should know someone before asking them to be your "friend"? What about if there is a large status differential? For example, Facebook keeps suggesting that I might know certain people because a lot of my friends from the Chronicle have them on their lists. Yeah, I know those people, but I think they probably wouldn't remember me, or I know them only barely. Should I "friend" them? Should I use restraint?

Then there are all kinds of people I've corresponded with for work purposes, like successful bloggers I've interviewed and editors I've written for. I didn't "friend" any of them. It seemed presumptious, not to mention the longstanding journalism rule about not being friends with your sources. But these are "friends," not friends, right? I noticed a lot of other reporters have a megaton of source types on their "friend" lists, so maybe this is considered ok. And I'm not even a staff reporter anymore. I'm taking free junk from industry. So sheesh, why the sudden high horse, right?

I have a lot to learn. And yet, I'm pretty sure now that I'm on Facebook, Facebook will fizzle out just like Friendster and Six Degrees did. Or who knows? Maybe this great fizzle already happened about six months ago, which would make sense if suburban moms are now joining up. It's so early 2008, right?


Red Headed Mama said...

I just looked for you on Facebook, and couldn't find you? Is your profile private? If so, "friend me" (Lisa Kohara, formerly Lisa Montgomery from!)

Hope you're well!

Patois42 said...

I, too, figure if I start using a technology, it's time for all the hipsters to flee.

Sara said...

Hi, my name is Sara, and I'm addicted to Facebook.

Notta Wallflower said...

Heh, I'm on Facebook too. Like you, I have some questions about the etiquette. As a result, I really only have a handful of friends on there. This is just fine since I should not be spending my time on there anyway. I can barely get chores done. :-P