Friday, September 18, 2009

If This Is It...

Please let me know.

It's been roughly 100 hours since this Facebook experiment began. And so far, I'm not all that impressed.

Regular readers of my blog (which consists of me, and that's about it) know I had some concerns about using these social networking websites. I'm starting to think I was right...

Of course, you're probably sitting there and thinking "You've been on Facebook for 4 days, Paul. What did you think was gonna happen?" Let me walk you through it.

I sign up on Monday night. Using nothing but my first and last name, it found 8 friends for me right off the bat. I'm thinking, "How did it know who my friends would be? Something doesn't seem right about that. Something doesn't FEEL right about that..."

And they came from a few different "generations" of friends (a generation of friends is defined as the circle I was a part of during a significant historical period of my life; e.g. my NDSU friends, my Service Center friends, my high school friends, etc.). One appeared to be someone I knew from my last summer in the Marshall Islands 6 years ago and haven't seen or even spoken to since (I did not confirm this by sending that person a friend request, but I never felt like we were friends, even though we had a few mutual friends). A couple were names I didn't even recognize (I didn't even bother with friending them, because I would expect they'd have same reaction). But there were a couple of real, actual friends from my NDSU and Service Center generations, too.

Then I filled out some information about myself and saw names of people who disappeared from my life after I moved onto the next social circle. From all generations of friends, going back to high school. This concerned me as well. Not because they were on Facebook, but I felt like I'd be falling into a trap of spending numerous hours tracking them all down (I've been resisting the urge to whip out my high school yearbooks and Googling them for months now).

I've been posting a little something every day since Monday. My dear friend Sandy (Sandy, if you're out there, I mean that) made a typical Sandy-esque comment about my Facebook concerns, then we fired a couple shots back at each other. Since then? No comments on anything. I posted a link to a funny video, a couple of my recent blog posts, and some status updates. No comments. Do I need to make a first move here? I thought I did that already with some of my comments to my friends. It could be the "lack" of friends so far (as of this moment, I'm only up to 24).

Slightly more concerning, I'm not seeing regular updates from nearly any of them either. A majority of what I'm seeing is updates from a few friends on the progress they're making in their Facebook games. Is that all you're gonna post? I know when I was playing World of Warcraft, anyone who wasn't playing it with me didn't care how I was working my way through Azeroth. What else are you up to? Pics? Stories? Blog posts? Links? Anything?

Maybe I need to go find more friends. There are a number of suggestions from Facebook as to who could be my friends (for the most part, the list was quasi-accurate; a better term for those people would be acquientences). Some of them, I'm waiting for them to make the first move (lame, I know, trying to judge how much I really mean to these people by seeing if they friend me on Facebook).

Then again, one person came out of DEEP left field to be my friend. Someone I wasn't ever expecting to hear from ever again in my entire life. Someone I just wrote off 4-5 years ago. Someone I had a huge crush on as I was wrapping up my education at NDSU. Someone that gave me a very disturbing dream a few years back because of that. I wasn't sure how to respond. I've moved on from my issues with her, and she's married now (it appears). I accepted the friend request, but... I don't know... The initial shock of seeing her and her request has since worn off, so I guess it's a moot point now.

Not all of Facebook has been bad so far. I was able to find a way to import my blog posts. Pretty happy about that. One of the big reasons I signed up; I wanted more readers. I was able to lock down my profile, which is kinda ironic, since for the most part, I don't care the personal information about myself on the Internet. But I've got this small concern that someone on Facebook will see me say something that makes me a dick, and respond as such. I also don't want my co-workers to find me (sorry, almost all of them are customers, even the ones I am on very friendly terms with). I'm not spending every waking moment on it either. I don't check Facebook at work, and when I get home, I open it in my web browser and leave it open. Kind of like leaving the TV on in the background.

I think we can all agree it's probably too early to pass judgement on Facebook. We'll see what happens. Hopefully, there's more to it than this. But if this is it... what was the point to begin with?

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