Thursday, May 27, 2010

Facebook Not So Hot

I have to say, I'm less interested in Facebook every day. I'm generally pretty bored by what I see posted there and I rarely think of anything particularly interesting that I'd like to share. (And even when I do, I rarely get any responses from people.)

The character count limits, while not as onerous as those on Twitter (where I opened an account and then immediately lost interest), tend to make it difficult to establish a point or provide a reference.

The whole collecting "friends" aspect so dilutes the meaning of the concept of friendship that it's almost offensive to me. Acquaintances? It feels neither very social nor like a network. I've gotten more connection through the random process of discovering someone's email and sending them a message than anything else. It might be useful for establishing initial contact with people, but it sustains nothing.

In fact, the most irritating moments I've had on Facebook are when I comment on the post of someone I know and one of their "friends" who is a complete stranger to me replies to my words with something asinine or snarky. It's very jarring, as though someone interrupted a conversation at a dinner party with a rude comment. I've had this happen on forums before, but the truncated format of Facebook seems to make the intrusions more likely to be off-point or misinterpreted.

And frankly, on forums people tend to ignore what I post anyway. But I've gotten asshole know-it-all conservatives, teabagger apologists, and even an alternative music snob passing judgment on comments I made in passing. At the least the music snob was just expressing a snotty opinion; the teabaggers and their ilk are simply completely full of shit, repeating their talking points and trying to sound rational or empirical while pretending they can't hear all the rabid screaming from the right that expresses the true sentiments of the movement they're defending.

Even if there was a way to have a rational conversation on certain political subjects with these people, and these days it seems that there isn't much chance of that, Facebook is a godawful medium to try to have a meaningful discussion, with its parameters limiting input to the comfortable confines of regurgitated sound bites. Plus, these people are apparently friends of other people I know, which eliminates the fall-back option of telling them to fuck off if they get too strident. I don't know, maybe I'm too picky, or I'm isolated or I avoid confrontation or I'm more like my family than most people, but over the years I've just blown off the people who are so far on the other side of the ideological fence from me that we can barely hear each other unless we shout. It kind of amazes me who pops up as friends of friends.

I think the lesson here is that I tend to be happier when I spend limited time online in general and less involved in social networking. So I'm going to start thinking about setting some time limits. Perhaps composing some of these blog entries or my web site updates while offline would be smart.

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