I've promissed Steve Dibb, I'd write about why I left FaceBook and here it is. It's not perfect, but as I said I could write a whole essay about it (but have neither the time nor the motive really).
First of, why I even joined in the first place. Well, as probably most FaceBook users, I just got fed up with all the invitations I got from people who had my e-mail address and joined themselves. Come to think of it it's quite that a lot of those invites were from people I barely knew! But anyway, I joined because I naively believed that I'd stop receiving those blasted invitation e-mails from FaceBook.
Now when I joined at first it looked pretty cool – people would be there with all their up-to-date contacts, it was prettier then Orkut, less bloated (initially) then Bebo or Hi5 and had a more professional feel to it.
But with time exponentially the awesomeness would fall and the lameness would rise due to:
- an enormous surplus in FaceBook applications that would do nothing useful, but would take your personal info and also annoy your "friends" with notifications.
- people adding "friends" they never met, which grew up into the extreme of the Pokémon-esque "Gotta Catch 'Em All" competition of who has the higher number of friends (Yes! There's a bloody counter on each person's page!). This doesn't degrate people to just numbers. Even worse! – it degrades them to being just a part of a number!
- FaceBook trying to be (too) many things at the same time – social networking web application, photo album host, video host, a means of communication, friend finder, event handler, instant messenger …not to even mention what different FaceBook applications do (from virtual pets, quizzes, intimate personal information gathering, to just about every rubbish imaginable) – and not being especially good at most of those things. Flickr, Zoomr (or even Picasa) are still way better for online photo albums, e-mail and IM are better handled by e-mail and IM providers and programs and there's a plethora of video hosting sites ranging from YouTube and Vimeo to less known Blip.tv et al. on FaceBook it's all in one place, but I don't want that! I want to opt in and not out of what I want to see from people I know. Ideally I'd like to have my (semantic) desktop take advantage of the semantic web and interact with different providers in a way that I tell it how to – but that's another story. :P
- people shamelessly and without thought posting not only intimate information about themselves, but also about others; submitting to public photo albums pictures of themselves and others dead drunk etc. It's like people on it still feel they're anonymous and such info can't (and won't) be found by e.g. future employers and/or clients!
- everytime anybody or their dog farted, I got a notification and in most cases an invitation to either join, attend it or add a fart myself. It's even worse than following microblogs like Tweeter or Koornk! (another thing I'll never understand …microblogging)
- and there's this small thing about CIA and FaceBook, as well.     ;)
Many (but not all) of the above apply also to other social networks – from Hi5 and Bebo to Orkut and eCadamy. I left pretty much all of them, except for LinkedIn, which seems more professional (but has flash contents as well, sadly). I'll see how that one evolves…
Interesting fact: On the very same day I left FaceBook, two friends I haven't hear from in quite a while contacted me – one by e-mail, the other over an IM protocol. I had them both as "friends" on FaceBook, but there we never communicated at all! Now one invited me to go see him perform at the Šentjakobsko gledališče [Teater of st. Jacob], while the other asked me to see her artistic photos. I'd say this proves that my social life and inter-person communication actually improved since I left FaceBook.
So, I'm old enough to not have escaped the newsgroup madness, I've outlived the golden IRC and webforum era and I think I'll survive the IM and social network abuse years as well ;)
hook out → studying Property Law and sipping (black) Yunnan tea