Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Thrill is Gone

Today marks my one-month anniversary on Facebook. Connecting with people from different periods of my life has been very cool. I'm glad to be part of the social networking phenomena, but I have to say that for me, the thrill is gone.

At first, Facebook is overwhelming. There is new lingo to learn, different ways of communicating with friends and rules about playing well with others. There are also countless ways to piss away tons and tons and tons of time. It can be all consuming.

I ignored the role-playing games from the start. I'm sure they are fun--I just don't need anything else that eats up that kind of time. Besides, I know how I can be...

After the first few days I started ignoring all the silly little quizzes, too. Having to "allow access" to my info and pics for unknown purposes increasingly made me uncomfortable. Most of the quizzes aren't very well done anyway. The questions don't make any sense, or only include choices that you'd never pick, ever. Too often the relationship between your answers and the Startrek/Sesame Street/Peanuts cartoon character you would be makes no sense.

And the results dominate Facebook "action". All you need are three or four Facebook friends that take every quiz they see and publish the results. Soon that's all you ever see. You can block the quizzes (or the friends) individually. But blocking friends isn't cool, and blocking quizzes becomes a never-ending task because there are so many of them.

That leaves you with your Facebook friends, and the search for old friends to become your new Facebook friends. I'm up to about 130 friends now. I've raised the bar a bit--I have to know who you are and have some kind of history with you in order to confirm you as a friend. I've stopped actively looking for friends because I've searched for every name I can think of, and have pretty thoroughly investigated the friends and friends of friends in my profile.

I've had at least a brief communication with most of my Facebook friends. In many instances this has been an e-mail exchange over several days. Some have just been comments on each others' walls or photos. The best involve a combination of comments, e-mail messages, and private chats that feel almost as real as face-to-face visits. But mostly it's one brief exchange and then back to the silence that defined the relationship before the connection on Facebook.

In the end, that's the way it works. You end up with the relationship you had before. I suppose there are cases where new links are established. No doubt there are also cases when the old connection no longer exists. But mostly, you just pick up where you left off before, no matter how long ago it may have been.


MadeMark said...

I think the thrill is gone for a lot of people. For some reason most of the ones I connected with on FB seem to have discovered it around the same time I did - very recently. At first there were updates, now pretty much nothing. It's kind of like an appendix at this point, it just hangs there. I've rediscovered that I was never very social to begin with, and I'm perplexed at people who are FB addicts. I don't see much to get addicted to! But I did have a couple old, old friends from childhood/teenage years I was happy to hear from. I get the feeling a lot of us who signed up are yawning at this point.

Anonymous said...

I still enjoy FB, but I am very selective about who I "friend". Kinda like in real life! Most of the people on my list are too busy to keep updating their posts as often as I'd like, but it's been fun just to get in touch again. Maybe I just don't feel so alone as I get older...I remember who I was and, thus, who I am.

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