Thursday, January 31, 2008

 

10 reasons why I don't like Facebook

I've tried for more than a year to figure out Facebook's value in my life, and am finally ready to throw in the towel.

For many, Facebook is an obsession and a major part of their lives. It's a source of incredible entertainment and social interactivity. I take nothing away from them and their enjoyment of the service.

It's also a powerful advertising and brand-building channel, given its wide audience and deep usage patterns.

I just don't like it, and don't use it.

Here are ten reasons why.

10. It's a huge time-suck
I get dizzy just visiting my Facebook page, and I haven't even bothered adding that many friends or applications. There's so much going on, and so much to do. If I start engaging with a fraction of what I see, I've wasted long periods of time with little return. It's completely non-productive time for me.

9. It's incredibly distracting
Just as bad as email. If you want to stay active with Facebook, and have a lot of friends, you have to visit multiple times a day. It will interrupt any prolonged period of productivity or focus on something more important - either at work or elsewhere.

8. It's become non-differentiated
Everyone's doing it, exchanging the same stuff, buying each other the same $1 gifts, giving virtual high-fives and more. When everyone's doing the same things, and interacting the same way with each other, nobody's unique. Nobody's being remarkable. Facebook allows for very little individuality.

7. It's mostly irrelevant
Facebook lets me virtually "drunk dial" a friend. It lets me send them a pixel of a flower. It lets me send someone a digital sucker-punch. It's...irrelevant. Pointless. Maybe I'm too old, and apparently a curmudgeon too. But I don't get the value of these exchanges.

6. I spend enough time online for work
Time on Facebook for me is a lose-lose. I'm either wasting time at work, spending time on Facebook, or spending even more time on the computer when at home. I'm in front of the computer all day as it is, when I'm home, and not working, I want an offline experience - not more hours stuck to a screen.

5. It keeps people from getting out and talking/meeting live
I love the Web as a networking and communication tool. But as a social playground, I think it often goes too far. I'd far prefer to meet friends in the real world, which provides for a much richer, more meaningful interaction and experience. Sure, it takes more time and isn't nearly as efficient. But that misses the point.

4. It's all fake
I worry that too many of our social interactions with each other are now virtual, with very little tangible evidence or momentos. Call me old-school, but my wife and I greatly enjoy the printed photos we have of family gatherings, friends getting together, etc. Not only are they physical reminders of those good times, they're reminders of times we got together offline to enjoy each other's company.

3. It's not very meaningful
There's a quality vs. quantity exchange going on in Facebook that, in my opinion, is taking us in the wrong direction. While it's great that I can "play" with dozens of my friends at once, the quality of those interactions is greatly diminished online. The multi-faceted, rich nature of in-person interactions is completely lost. The memories and impact of those online interactions is incredibly shallow, compared to the richness of being together.

2. It's not at all inclusive
Some of my best friends are not (gasp!) obsessed with the Internet. One of my good friends doesn't even check email very often (can you imagine?!). If I'm relying on Facebook to drive my friendships and social interactions, what happens to these offline friends? Are they left out? Do they not count? Do they diminish in value or importance to me?

1. It will be over soon
I remember when we all had pages on GeoCities. Then we moved on to our blogs. Then MySpace, now Twitter and Facebook. We will move onto something else. And what will we have to show for it?

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