Posted at 1:27 pm
This is long and ranty. I haven’t done long and ranty for a while. Take it or leave it.
It was one of those “blinding light” moments – the moment when you finally turn to acknowledge the feeling that’s been kicking around for many months and realise “oh yeah!”
I finally discovered that I really hate Facebook.
It’s not like I’m the first – the most famous incidence being Jason Calcanis’s decision to declare “Facebook Bankruptcy” back in July, an event which trickled by without actively triggering my own epiphany. My realisation was prompted by a conversation with someone who recently heard a talk by a Facebook developer. The salient point, from the horse’s mouth, was that Facebook believe that their application is compellingly relevant to its users “because everyone you add on Facebook is someone you want to hear from.”
Evidently no-one on Facebook staff is being bombarded with the constant “Zombie requests”, Quiz requests, “rate your movies” requests and other effluvia which, post-trumpeted-API-launch, have become a veritable Face-tsunami. Furthermore, no-one at Facebook seems to know anything about psychology, social networks or the interaction between the two.
There are two major problems with the “all your Facebook friends are relevant to you” hypothesis.
Firstly, social networks tend to morph under the weight of human psychology into a Pokemon-like popularity contest – “gotta catch ‘em all” – you add everyone you’ve ever so much as exchanged glances with, and anyone with less than 50 friends looks like a lonely loser.
Secondly, it’s very hard to deny friend requests since it’s obvious that you’ve done so and it’s a pretty blunt snub. Even if you don’t care much about the latest “addee” in your stream, few people want to be seen by their former schoolfriends as an unfriendly snob, and even fewer people want to upset a professional contact who may be a key ally at some point in the future…
…which is why everyone’s contact list balloons over time – for many months I had only 8 contacts on Facebook; by the time of last night’s revelation, that had grown to 125. There are only three possible answers to this -
- Bite the bullet, and reconcile yourself to the idea of coming across as an asshole.
- Add people until your “Feed” looks like a cross between Toys’R'Us and a warzone.
- Get the hell out of Dodge (my current preferred solution).