Social Dis-ease

I succumbed to peer pressure and got a Facebook account*.

Really, I only got it because some friends have pictures and video of their baby on it that I wanted to see. Also, you can play Scrabble with people on it, and since Becky won’t play Scrabble with me, I can get my fix that way.

I’m not crazy about social networks…the increased social networkification of the Internet bugs me. I don’t need or want to share every thing I do on my computer with friends. (I was writing up a blog entry earlier that parodied the mad rush to make everything into a social network with an ad for a site called “PottyParty” — you can see where I was going with that.) Not just because I’m anti-social, but because for the most part I don’t often see the point.

Facebook isn’t much of an exception. I’ve been adding people I know as friends, and I’ve even found some old high school and college pals, but after that…then what? We can send each other little graphics and hugs and “flair”, and we can play Scrabulous, but beyond that? I guess it’s like being at a party, which I’ve also never been very good at.

Being an introvert raises another problem for me with Facebook that I’m betting other people don’t have. You add people as friends, and for me that’s such a loaded term. I communicate with this person regularly, but do they consider me a “friend”? I don’t want to impose or presume. When finding those people you haven’t talked to in ages it’s even more worrisome. Hell, for all I know, there’s a reason I haven’t talked to this person in years. Maybe she hates my guts and the thought of me asking to be “friends” makes her want to vomit.

See, I think that sort of thing is a lot easier for other people.

Facebook is also terrible for stalking people. For most folks, you can’t see their profile unless you add them as a friend. But of course there are some people you just want to spy on without letting them know you’re looking. Since you’re notified when someone adds you as a friend, this can’t be done. It’s frustrating. It can even be frustrating for less shady reasons: if you’re looking for Joe Smith, and there are hundreds of Joe Smiths, then it’s often very difficult to figure out which of them, if any, is the guy you want, especially if you have no idea where Joe might be living now. The most you can go by is this: although you can’t see Joe’s profile without adding him as a friend, you CAN see who his friends are, so sometimes that’s a clue as to whether or not this is the person you’re looking for.

But the most important thing is, you can play Scrabble (a/k/a Scrabulous) which I’ve been doing a fair amount of. I also play Scramble (a/k/a Boggle), I’ve tried Go (and failed miserably), and I’m set up for Backgammon, but haven’t played yet. Pathwords seems to be popular, and I dig Brain Bones (which is actually an old Sid Sackson dice game called “Choice”.) someone also suggested I play a game called “Knighthood” but I couldn’t figure out what you do in it other than get other people to play it.

So I’m still poking around a bit. Despite my saying that I can’t quite figure Facebook out, I’ve wasted a lot of time on it. And it has helped me get in touch with some old friends and keep in touch with some current ones, so there’s that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, a certain Michael D. is claiming that “twinvite” isn’t really a word. Duh, it’s when you invite twins!

* — Don’t friend me; I’ll friend you.

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5 Responses to Social Dis-ease

  1. Lanf says:

    So…I’m right there with you on the “friends” issue. I have absolutely no urge to add “friends” just so I can boast about a bigger list. And yes, there have been some people that I’ve declined as friends because we never were, and I really don’t want to be thanks all the same.

    As for “twinvite,” well let’s just say it has a relatively small usable context, yes? I can’t see where it would be useful other than “issuing a bedroom twinvitation.”

  2. pronoblem says:

    I joined just after you did it seems. Bugink mentioned it so I thought I’d check it out. I planned on deleting my account after looking around a bit but lo and behold I have a friend – you added me!!! I’ll leave it up for a while I guess.

    I had an anonymous MySpace account just to add bands to get updates on tours, etc… but when someone contacted me because you can search for people via their email (why would they allow this?) I deleted my account immediately. I do plan on creating a new one for that same purpose, just without the email I had broadcast into the aether for a decade.

    I do have an Open Fluxus account. I have yet to do anything with it but I am down with it.

    Oh. For all intents and purposes, BGG is a social networking site (geekbuddies and all). I met you, Matt, Satoko, Eric, Kiri and Bob there… though, we are all in “the hood” and our paths would have crossed at some point I am sure. Regardless, the results were better than expected.

  3. Dave says:

    BGG doesn’t confuse me so much because it has a purpose behind it. All of the social aspects of it are largely geared towards gaming, reviewing, playing, etc. Facebook only seems to be qua Facbook and so I don’t really understand how I’m supposed to approach it.

  4. Ray says:

    Everyone joining Facebook says the same thing five minutes after joining, “Now what?”
    Its up to you. Take a look at your friend’s profiles, and see if they have any interesting applications. Or just use it to track the status updates.
    I find it an easy way of keeping in touch with friends I don’t see often enough in real life. Its good for keeping up to date with the little things, that nobody’s going to bother phoning or mailing to tell you, but it’s nice to know. X is going away for the weekend, Y’s dog is feeling better, Z has just read that book – maybe you ignore it, maybe you contact them to find out more, whatever.