I mentioned watching the 60 Minutes report on the rapes in Congo a couple of days ago. The third story that evening was one I didn't actually watch until this morning. It's about the now-23 year old wunderkind who developed Facebook. This is the guy who rejected a $5 billion offer from (was it Google?) to buy the thing.
I didn't watch it closely, but got the idea that he (and apparently many others) think that Facebook is the wave of the future and that it will soon surpass Google as a search engine because instead of retrieving a host of generic responses to your query, you can get something personalized. Want to go to the Yucatan Peninsula, for example? Ask your Facebook community and get back messages from people who actually know you who can tell you about what you would like and not like about the location.
I don't remember exactly when I joined Facebook, but it's something like six months ago. Initially, it was fun. I met a few people, added some "applications" to my page, and joined a few groups.
But I've come to hate it. Applications are a variety of things that you can do on facebook, from games to play, to quizzes to take to polls to participate in to puzzles to solve, to interests to share. In short, it's anything that anybody with imagination cares to develop for Facebook.
One of the earliest ones I added is called "Super Wall." Everybody, when they join, has a "wall" where people can leave messages for you. "Super Wall" is a place where people can not only leave typed messages, but add graphics, photographs, or even videos. It used to be fun, but too long now it's been a series of sappy sparkling little sayings that one person will leave for me and then 10 other people will also leave for me. I don't do sappy. I especially don't do sappy from people who tell me that I'm the most wonderful person in the world, or how special I am in their life...when we've never met and barely exchanged as much as "hello" on Facebook! For all they know, I'm a cereal killer (your Corn Flakes are not safe around me) but yet they have granted me "best friend" status or "most trusted person."
I think this was the one that really got me--posted by someone I've never met, and have only had very passing interaction with:
What am I supposed to think when I get something like this from a total stranger? I'm her one true friend? We've never even exchanged so much as an e-mail!
But what is bugging the heck out of me now is that you can't do ANYTHING without annoying your friends. There is a woman who posts grammar quizzes on Facebook. I've taken them in the past. They're kind of fun. There are also movie quizzes that I've both created and taken. I enjoy them. But now it's rigged so that you can take the test, but the only way you can see your results is add the application to your already cluttered profile page, and to invite 20 of your "friends" to take the test too.
If I hate being inundated with crap, I'm certainly not going to inundate other people with the crap either. So now I'm ignoring all invitations, taking no quizzes, and the only thing I do on Facebook is play Scrabulous (their version of Scrabble). They say "new features are coming," which I assume means that when they are implemented, I will have to stop playing Scrabulous too.
Facebook may be the wave of the future that is going to overtake Google, but at least Google doesn't bug me many times a day or make me bug my friends before I can go to one of its sites.