In recent days “FaceBook Fatigue” has been the topic d’jour on the blogosphere and the overwhelming complaint seems to be how poorly we FaceBookers manage our lives on the network. Om Malik in his recent post on this very topic rhetorically answers the question on FaceBook bankruptcy :
Bankruptcies often come as a result of excess and poor management. That sadly seems to be the case, for those who are getting fed up with Facebook. And the truth of the matter is that we are to blame.
We are not using the privacy settings of Facebook, and are too polite to say no to invitations from people who want to friend us. No wonder, the social environment is starting to resemble a crowded nightclub. (You go to clubs to be seen, not talk.)
While Mr Malik does make some valid points in his post, I disagree with the nightclub analogy. Perhaps if you’re an A-list blogger and a popular one to boot like Mr. Malik is, you could potentially have a problem fielding tons of unsolicited invitations (and being polite doesn’t help I guess) . Most of us, myself included however do not consider that a hassle nor are we inundated with people trying to friend us 24/7. From time to time I do get a few invitations from people I don’t really know personally but it doesn’t bother me because more often than not they are people I would like to get to know.
The notion of “dealing with random strangers” as Mr. Malik eludes to in his post, quite frankly ignores the “networking” aspect in “Social Networking”. I think the idea is to meet new people as well and not just maintain existing relationships. Keeping in touch and knowing what your current group of friends are up to is great but I think it could get a little tedious after awhile. And lets face it (no pun intended ) do you really FaceBook the contacts in your mobile phone’s address book? You might add them as your friends but if these people “matter to you” as Mr. Malik says, then most likely you’re probably finding out what they’re up to either by phone or in person before you FaceBook them. In fact I think social networking sites are great for staying in touch with people who don’t factor into your everyday life as much - like that old college roommate or your ex-colleagues from a previous job or your distant relatives.
As far as using it as a communication tool - I say yes absolutely, why not? Lets get rid of Email and IM and use one nice integrated site that handles all our social and professional communication needs. In fact I was talking to my niece the other day and I asked her to Email me something and she looked at me as if I was from another planet. Ubiquity is inevitable and it’s only a matter of time when the current generation enters the work place and start demanding social networking at the work place.
Perhaps Mr Malik should facilitate a meeting of the minds between Mark Zuckerberg and Kevin Rose on the GigaOm show - definitely would be interesting.
BTW is there a Pownce app on FaceBook yet?