Facebook no longer does what it did for me

Facebook is no longer so helpful in my real-life relationships. Should I leave?

I wish my real-life friends used Twitter, and were into blogging and Flickr and stuff more. I do my best to keep up with my school and uni friends who are around the country, but of course as you get older your priorities shift and you don’t spend quite as much time with / on your friends as you did when you were a teen.

Facebook took over our lives last year – updates were flying, photos were tagged, friends became ‘friends’ and it was all quite fun, it really was.

But now, we’re all busy again, and Facebook isn’t always accessible from our offices (grr, IT!). There are so many ‘status updates’ from younger acquaintances that it’s hard to find out how real-life friends are getting on.

It’s partially my fault of course. I’ve used Facebook for ‘networking’ with likeable clever people, and I’ve been ‘friended’ by a good many teenagers due to my charitable work. Maybe I should have been strict with my ‘friendships’ from day one, but back then I wasn’t sure what Facebook would mean to me.

It is, of course, partially the fault of Facebook too. The redesign (which looks blank and unfinished in my opinion) hides all the things I want. Sure, it’s more organised and I’m sure it’s logical to some people (I really mean that) but for me, the ‘home’ page and ‘profile’ pages are just, um, fairly dull and hard to get around. I don’t see things; nothing catches my eye, it’s all blank and bland and the content is hidden away.

I wish my real-life friends used Twitter; I’d see so much more of them and I’m sure that would remind me to tend to them in real-life a little more too. I understand that Facebook shares all your holiday and baby snaps perfectly well, and the privacy settings mean that your stag-do videos are less likely to appear on local television, but I wish people made use of Flickr more – it’s so much more shareable and accessible.

My biggest problem with Facebook is not the number of invites I get for stupid (inane, worthless, pathetic) applications, it’s the number of copy-cat groups that get created around any news story.

I’m invited to ‘show my support for justice‘ and ‘state my disgust‘ at the treatment of Baby P. I see. So, what changes will occur because of these Facebook groups? What action will members take? Ahuh, no action. But if I don’t join, does that mean that I condone the abuse of Baby P? I have, after all, actively dismissed the multiple invites to multiple groups this week, so that makes me a real scrooge surely? Somehow, I don’t care about abuse of babies, and tacitly support systematic abuse do I? Is that the implication?

Apparently, I don’t care about food for orphans, or medicine for Africa either.

This is all rot. I do a helluva lot of charitable work and I give all that I can (on a regular and monthly basis) to a variety of worthy causes, including international aid organisations and local UK organisations. Must I also join a Facebook Group to ‘prove’ that I don’t like torture in the middle east?

I’m very tempted to set a date for when I’ll leave Facebook. Can anyone give a reason why I should wait and see what happens and stick with Facebook for more than another year?

  1. I respond to no application invites, and will if pushed “block all invites” from an individual.

    You *can* group your friends (I do have 2 seperate groups for colleagues and family); I go through phases of feeding status updates from twitter, but that just confuses people that aren’t into social media minutiae, and can bury people in detail.

    I have about 6 different lifestreaming services I play with, and have started breaking some links between those.

    Of course, you can take some RSS feeds out of Facebook and play with those?

    As far as the boringness goes, I agree but for me the consistency of look is more important. MySpace usually makes my eyes bleed. I’d agree I can never find things…

  2. Facebook is fantastic for me; it allows me to pretend I care.
    I can check the latest update on someone I’m reminded of, and feel like I’m keeping up with their lives.

    Joking aside, I find it useful as a system where friends and aquantainces I have lost contact with add themselves to my address book just in case I decide that I need (or want) to send them a message to catch up.

    The other stuff is mostly guff, but the event invites and HEMA WMA networking has been awesome. The occassional random hook-up is also always nice, even if it’s just as an ego-stroke, but if it got rid of all that, got rid of the apps and games (and most of the other “social media” apps) then it would be the ideal service for me. I want a more serious version of Facebook. I can do silly stuff myself thank you very much.

  3. I’m quite strict with my Facebook and I have no qualms about refusing friend requests. I’ve got 51 friends at the moment and that’s too many. Every now and then I go through them and cull a few!

    The word ‘friend’ is inaccurate to describe most of the people on my Facebook, and ‘acquaintance’ is too cumbersome. There should be a new word invented for these people.

    For me, a ‘friend’ is someone I love and care about. Of my 51 Facebook ‘friends’, only a handful are people I consider to be friends in my real sense of the word. About 30 are people I have met in real life, either through school, work etc and the rest are ‘virtual’ people I just ‘know of’.

    Facebook isn’t that important to me because, I’m sorry to say, most of the people on there aren’t that important to me. As Nathanael aptly put it, I just ‘pretend to care’.

    It can be fun at times, if I’m in the mood; but as Wedge pointed out, the new style isn’t very user-friendly. More often than not it’s just a chore to log in and click ‘ignore’ on all the annoying requests. And no, I don’t feel in the slightest bit guilty ignoring the latest ‘jump on the band-wagon’ group. If I care about something, I care about it in my own way and do my own private thing to help or support, I don’t need some silly Facebook group to ‘prove’ my concern.

    I was gutted when Twitter removed mobile tweets from the UK and I reacted quite (probably inappropriately) dramatically. It only bothered me because it removed timely contact from ‘real’ friends (and I’m happy to say I’ve now resolved the problem). But if Facebook disappeared during the night I wouldn’t worry.

  4. Facebook is a bit of an irritant over on this computer desktop too. It’s nice to keep in touch with genuine friends and people you’ve come across who you’re genuinely interested in hearing about. But I’ve got to the point where I feel like I don’t want to see another drunken picture of someone I vaguely know.

    I’m *this* close to deleting my account.

    Twitter is a far better way to *talk* to people across the Net.

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