Some time late last year, when I was on my internship in Japan, a bunch of my fellow Canadian interns started talking about “Facebook” on our PlanetCJP forum. Initially I dismissed it outright as yet another MySpace-type crud-ridden fad. However, after some convincing I decided to give it a try. My initial impressions weren’t all too bad and I ended up sticking with the site for quite some time. I reconnected with a bunch of “friends” online. This was my first experience with a “social networking” site, and it didn’t seem too bad at all.
However, after a while, I couldn’t help but notice that many of my interactions there felt quite shallow. While I could watch updates on many of my friends’ activities, a lot of it was pretty meaningless. Most message exchanges were just the quick and pointless type, and any kind of actual in-depth conversation was only with those people with whom I already had regular contact through my instant messaging applications (or in real life, when in Canada). However, since it gave me something to do on quiet evenings alone at home, I stuck with it.
A few months back, Facebook fired up their application API, and allowed access to people who are not enrolled in a university to start joining. To me this was the beginning of the end. Within a few short weeks whatever appeal the site had quickly vanished. Now instead of just being filled with obnoxious university students, it became filled with obnoxious high schoolers, university students, and all sorts of other people, each with their own crappy widget laden pages. No thank you. It wasn’t long before I stopped logging on to the site, and eventually I pulled the plug on my account because I got tired of ignoring the emails it kept sending me.
The move was also partially inspired by reading Jeff Atwood’s article ”Avoiding Walled Gardens on the Internet” on the Coding Horror blog. Most importantly, the final paragraph really rang true:
If you want to join my friends list, let’s do it in public. Post a link to one of my blog entries. Enter a comment right here. Reply to one of my tweets. (Kamil: okay, I don’t have tweets, whatever they are, but the rest is still relevant) Send me an email or an instant message…
I realized that Facebook was definitely not the way to go. I already had a far more rewarding and personal web presence. My own website, a photo gallery, this blog, numerous forum posts, instant messaging, IRC, the list goes on. If someone was really interested in contacting or collaborating with me, my contact information is not hard to find. Search Google for “Kamil Kisiel” and there I am. I didn’t need Facebook.
Today I’ve already been without my Facebook account for some time, and I have to say I don’t miss it a bit. Every now and then someone will ask me about it, or want to share photos they posted there, I just ask them to email me instead. If you want to get in touch with me now, feel free to email, the address is on my website. Read my blog, subscribe to the RSS feed, ask me for my IM addresses, phone number, whatever. I’m here.
So, if the above hasn’t been enough of an argument for you to leave Facebook how about this?: Now it appears that Microsoft has purchased a stake in Facebook. Those of you who have been on the net long enough to remember what happened to HoTMaiL can envision what will inevitably occur. I think it’s not too long now before everything goes totally south and the fad passes. Get out while you can.