Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A brief note re Facebook and related illnesses.

Now and then I receive invites to be someone's Facebook friend. If I fail to respond, it's not because I'm rude by nature or think I'm "above it all," and it's (probably) not because I dislike you. (Wink.) It's because I don't "do Facebook," even though I am technically registeredand that, for the express purpose of getting a cursory look at someone's profile when it seems expedient. I suppose I'll have to give in eventually, as I did with Twitter. But at least Twitter is a mere 140-character commitment, whereas I've seen too many people end up surrendering their lives (certainly their online lives) to Facebook. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. For now.


Your PR Guy said...

One day you'll cave to Facebook. It will suck you in like the other 500 million and you'll be lost forever. Stay strong!

Steve Salerno said...

An interesting title suggests itself:

"Sucked by Facebook! The Steve Salerno Story."

Funny part is, it would probably sell better than what I've written to date.

Wayne S. said...

Facebook downside:
1. An incredible waste of time with all the online games that go on there.
2. The platform used by FB has been known to be very easy for destructive viruses to travel through to your computer.
3. Human to human contact diminished due to online socializing.

Facebook upside:
1. World wide communication enabling.
2. Use as a promotional tool is vast. (such as the successful FB campaign to have Betty White host Saturday Night Live recently.)
3. If used judiciously could be useful in enhancing human to human contact.

Of course these are just a few that I notice. Any more?

a/good/lysstener said...

Ohh Steve, I am soo tempted to play off your hypothetical book title, but I'm going to be a good girl today.

In a serious vein I have friends who's lives have been totally taken over by Facebook. It's all they do when they're home. And then of course you have to check from your cell and so forth so you don't dare miss anything. I suppose this is true of any computer activity and I heard my parents make the same allegations about computers in general. Somehow I think there's something particularly seductive about Facebook though. Again, if the experience of my friends counts for anything.

Dimension Skipper said...

Before I get to mindless blather—the internet's reason for existence, right?... well, besides porn—I just wanted to point out something that's been bothering me for a while...

Not to go all Grammar & Spelling Police on you or anything like that, but over in your guru watch list, Steve, you have "Chartacter Training Institute (Bill Gothard)." Just thought you might like to correct that when you get a chance. Up to you, of course.

Steve Salerno said...

DS: Done. And never feel shy about making such observations. We all need editing/proofing...and at least it shows that someone's reading.

RevRon's Rants said...

I've adopted an attitude somewhat contrarian to yours, Steve (big surprise, eh?). I find Twitter to be an absolute time-waster, and Facebook a very easily-managed resource. I've re-established contact with friends I haven't seen in almost 40 years, and find it a great tool for supplementing the "regular" communications I have with my kids.

I don't play any of the online games, subscribe to many of the pages, or do anything that could compromise my online security. Easy to do if one uses common sense.

I see other folks getting sucked into things like farm world or cafe world, and can't help but wonder how they find the time, especially when they post their "accomplishments" during working hours.

Like any tool, Facebook can be used to advantage or abused. It's not difficult to limit one's involvement unless the motivation to do so is lacking. Just my 2 cents' worth...

Dimension Skipper said...

Anyway... I signed up for MySpace several years ago to see what all the fuss was about. Didn't take me too long to tire of it. The account's still there, but I'd be overestimating to say I check it once a month. And I don't actually do anything with it anymore even if I do go there.

As a consequence I did not rush to Facebook. However, when a cousin-in-law had a recurrence of his pancreatic cancer from two years ago, I realized that folks were getting info via his fb page, so I signed up. If not for that one singular purpose I would not have bothered. Fb is at least good for that sort of thing.

I liked it at first, liked it a lot more once I realized I could hide stupid Farmville and any other useless 3rd party cutesy nonsense apps that somehow suck in so many fb users. But now that I've been on there a while and especially since my cousin-in-law died as of a little over a month ago, I find myself tiring of fb too.

I barely use it myself to display statuses or personal comments, but then I've never been that big on sharing personal details, not every little thing anyway. And looking at other folks' status updates isn't really all that thrilling either usually. Even with the hiding of the generic nonsense apps, I just find that at least 90% of what people post isn't of interest to me, often just downright silly and... I don't know, I want to say "shallow," but not in a mean way.

MUCH of it seems to me to fall under the SHAMmy-type positive outlook door-closes-door-opens philosophy of life. Folks post "inspirational sayings" and way too many casual "♥u!"s and "Awesome!"s—especially considering some folks have 600+ (!) "friends." Not to mention the surfeit of LOLs and OMGs too, plus all the likes such as "Jane Smith likes Rainbows and Moonbeams FOREVER!!!" or some such ephemeral faddish trivia.

I try to keep it real and by that I of course mean morose and depressing. My own personal "friends rule" is that I only agree to be fb friends if I've actually met you (even only once) in real physical life. So far I've only violated that rule once and it was under a very quirky circumstance that will likely never repeat.

I'd rather have 30 friends I actually know than 600 I wouldn't recognize if I sat among them all in an auditorium. Then again, I've never been good with names so maybe that's part of that for me.

Wayne S.: MPerhaps it's just me, but your FB upside #2 would be listed on the downside for me.

Dimension Skipper said...

Alright... I give up for now. When I try to publish a comment, instead of being told it published fine, I get a dialog box asking if I really want to navigate away from the page. If I click yes, I get a generic "can't get there from here" screer. If I click no I get back to the commenting page and I can't tell if anything was submitted or not.

Sorry for the confusion, but it's just plain weird. Assuming THIS goes through, anyone else having similar issues?

Steve Salerno said...

DS (et al): I've been having that issue sporadically for days. The other day I tried to publish a comment and kept getting error messages, and only when I went to the blog itself did I realize that my comment had been published about 19 separate times. I've heard similar complaints from others. (And for the record, DS, I received no less than seven separate identical comments from you, including three identical versions of the comment with the explanation/apology tacked on at the top.)

What I'd recommend for now is to open up two separate browser windows--one to leave the actual comment and another to refresh the blog and see if it published before you take the error message at face value and try to send the same comment through again. That might save us all a lot of trouble and duplication of effort.

Dimension Skipper said...

As for twitter... Again, despite all the hype I've never seen the attraction of it. But I kept hearing twitter this and twitter that, so recently I tried adding a few twitter feeds to one of my iGoogle pages just to try it out.

The result? Twitter was confirmed to me as one of the most inane, pointless, overhyped things ever on the web. Granted I didn't try but a few twitter feeds (one was yours, Steve—sorry, but I gotta be honest), but I went with a few I thought would be most likely to be of some personal interest.

I've really only seen one twitter use I thought was really good... One of my Steely Dan fan pages has an associated twitter feed which goes into use during tours so that fans at a show can report in (either directly themselves via some personal electronic device or by phone relay to someone else to post) on the song-by-song set list for those who like to know such things in advance. Twitter seems perfect for that sort of thing, but that's about it as far as I can tell.

I guess it's good as a general broadcast text message-type system when you don't have time to text several people individually to say things like "I'm OK, I enjoyed the sweat lodge even though others decided it was time to advance in their personal journeys to the next amazing realm of existence!"

If I didn't already follow your direct blog feed in iGoogle, then maybe the twitterized version would be of interest, but otherwise it just seems mostly superfluous for the two or three I've tried.

I've always been one that if something interests me then I want MORE info and if it doesn't then I want LESS. If what people have to say can fit in 140 characters, then it's likely not worth my attention to start with. So direct blog feeds are more efficient for me. I can scan'em quick and tell whether or not to read.

Keep in mind that I don't have a fancy shmancy personal internet access device, so I'm sure that has a bearing on all this.

...Just my nickel's worth of opinion for feedback/discussion purposes.

I agree with RevRon's FB observations.

Dimension Skipper said...

I think I just published my Twitter-centric comment, but it's hard to tell.

Short "from-scratch" commments seem to publish fine.

So I'm thinking my trouble might be coming from the fact that my original comment was too long, so I broke it up. To do so I copied it to MS Word, then copied smaller bits back to the commenting box here for publishing. I think there may be issues when going between Word and here. I also tried Notepad as a temp storage area too, but that seems to result in the same confusion. But I didn't want to have to re-type all that $#@%^# in again letter by letter!

Guess I should try to twitterfy my comments from now on so they'll fit and maybe I won't have such issues.

Dimension Skipper said...

That's a good idea Steve, except comments have to be approved by you and understandably that sometimes takes a while. Don't always have time to sit and monitor the page to see if you're on duty as blog moderator.

I still think my issue somehow has to do with me going between Word or Notepad and here to copy/paste my comment in pieces once it turned out to be too long. I could be wrong, but as I say these "from scratch" short posts seem to publish normally (to await your approval).

For now, I'll try to remember that if I get that situation happening again not to worry... the comment probably was submitted fine, so just wait (though perhaps save it somewhere else too, just in case I need to try to resubmit later).


Steve Salerno said...

DS: Oops. You're right. I can sit and wait for my comments to publish because the blog "knows me" and my comments are approved immediately. The rest of you don't have that luxury.

I'd love to make it possible for people to comment without my direct involvement, but I tried that in the early days of the blog and some truly weird, profane and/or defamatory stuff got through. Still does, at times.

Dimension Skipper said...

I'd love to make it possible for people to comment without my direct involvement, but I tried that in the early days of the blog and some truly weird, profane and/or defamatory stuff got through. Still does, at times.

Completely understood. Just to be clear, I was not recommending you allow unfettered commenting, just pointing out what I saw as the inherent flaw in your suggested workaround. Though it could still theoretically work if you happen to be on hand in moderating mode on the other end so maybe it's worth a try or two, but otherwise is probably not feasible.

I see my Twitter commment made it through despite the issues, so I'll just continue to rely on the assumption of proper submission even if I can't tell for sure.

Most importantly I should just work on my brevity skills to try to keep my comments from straying into too-wordy territory, forcing me to use such editing tricks as back and forth between here and Word. Thing is, I gotta remember to highlight and right-click copy my entire comment before publishing so I can save it elsewhere and try again later if necessary.

NormDPlume said...

I have ever seen a reason to put myself on FaceBook or MySpace; but I have used both for business purposes. They are great tools for weeding out potential new hires who are dumb enough to post damaging information which I legally can't ask about during the interview process. And FaceBook does allow for certain corporate branding/website integration.

But don't most FaceBook users understand that they have made themselves the inventory of FaceBook? All your personal demographic information is there, on display, in one central database, to be cataloged, dissected, and sold to the highest bidder. That is the only reason there is a FaceBook - to gather your personal information and to sell it to others.

I value my privacy. I don't want to be the inventory of another company. Obviously, I'm in the minority here. But my privacy won't go quietly into the good night of cyber marketing.

RevRon's Rants said...

Norm - In response to widespread public complaints, it is now possible to control who has access to your information. The privacy settings are still an opt-in arrangement, but at least they aren't as obscure as they had originally been.

I have to admit that I find myself shaking my head in disbelief of what some people put out there for public access. I'm sure the HR directors of the world find some of the information very useful. But it all really boils down to a competition for Social Networking Darwin Awards.

Jenny said...

DS admits: "My own personal 'friends rule' is that I only agree to be fb friends if I've actually met you (even only once) in real physical life."

OMG, LOL! ;)

I sometimes regret ever getting involved with Facebook. Like you, Dimension Skipper, I joined for similar "keeping up with family news" reasons. But now it has become something entirely different and I find the experience more like refusing to turn away from a grotesque accident scene. I also now find myself in the position of looking for work. The thought of some potential employer looking at my Facebook page and "judging" me by it makes me want to delete it right now. I might actually do this soon.

Steve, my condolences in the loss of your dear Virginia. That is my mother's name, too.

Thank you for keeping this blog going, too. I always enjoy reading what you have to say. I thought of you earlier today while reading an article at the NY Times, "Your Move: The Maze of Free Will." So, I decided to come over and see what is happening on SHAMblog.

Weighing in on the topic of web-surfing at work on a computer that doesn't belong to you, I just don't do it unless the surfing is job-related. When so many of us can access the Internet by phone (as I am now), why waste someone else's resources for personal reasons?