mrvelocipede: (Default)
[personal profile] mrvelocipede
For a couple of days I've been thinking about Facebook, and wondering whether I might want to try spending some time there again. There are some people on there who I'd like to have a small amount of contact with, maybe, and some of them aren't on any of the other social-networking places that I like better.

It took less than half an hour for me to decide it was a terrible idea. No matter how much I might like to check in with my brother, or some of the people I used to hang out with in Pittsburgh, Facebook is such an unpleasant way to interact with the world that I can't make myself do it.

There is, of course, all the ongoing flap about how Facebook only exists so that what's-his-name can sell your eyeballs to advertisers for billions of dollars, laughing and sneering all the way to the bank. Blah blah privacy invasion marketing blah. But actually, that one doesn't trouble me as much as it probably should. I figure, my eyeballs already belong to advertisers, purely because that's the culture I live in. By deciding to look at the internet at all, I've given up my eyeball-rights, and the best I can do is try not to give up too much brain-space as well.

No, the problem with Facebook is twofold: there's the user interface, and there are the users.

The site is (I think intentionally) designed to be confusing, and to waste time. If I upload a picture and then want to find it again later, to send somebody a link, maybe I try clicking a thing on my profile page that says "pictures." But it takes me to other people's pictures that are tagged with my name. To get to my own pictures takes three or four more clicks. With every wrong page I have to slog through to get there, Facebook is showing me advertisements. I end up spending much more time on their site than I had planned, looking at dozens of ads instead of just one or two.

And then there are the friend requests. Look! All these people are waiting for me to acknowledge that I'm their friend! Doesn't it make me feel all warm and fuzzy and loved?

Well, no. Most of these people aren't my friends. I don't like them much at all. I can probably divide them up into tidy little categories.

Why I Won't Be Your Friend
  1. You're creepy.
    Something about your behavior reminds me of people I knew in the past, who seemed really nice, but who turned out to be abusive jerks. When I see you on my Friends Feed, all sorts of red flashing lights and loud warning sirens go off in my head.
  2. You're boring.
    You seem pleasant enough, but nothing you post is ever worth reading.
  3. You're from a time in my life I don't want to remember.
    I knew you in a peripheral way while some other huge thing was going wrong. Maybe it was in high school. Maybe it was in one of my wretched failed attempts to go to college. Maybe you were friends with one of my vile ex-boyfriends. I don't have anything against you, really, but the only thing we have to talk about is all those good times, back in the day, that I wish to god had never happened.
  4. I don't actually know anything at all about you.
    I've only met you once or twice in my life, your posts are full of inside jokes and conversations between people I've never heard of, and none of it makes any sense to me. (Reason #2 may also apply here.)
  5. Your presence fills me with guilt.
    This one is mostly for relatives. I still don't actually know much about you, my only real-life interaction with you consists of polite, awkward conversation at holidays ("So, how's school going?"), and I don't have a damn thing to say to you. Also, my life is complicated in ways that I don't ever want to have to explain, and I feel weird posting about myself if I know you're likely to read it.
  6. Your life is so awesome that it fills me with despair.
    Applies mostly to former classmates from my various schools. You're traveling the world, or having a big gallery show, or you just got a fantastic high-paying job. I am an impoverished nobody. My world is without hope. Sniffle. Go away and stop making me feel inadequate.
  7. Actually I like you a lot.
    You do interesting things. You say weird random stuff that I find entertaining. You post cool pictures. I really wish I was your friend, but I'm assuming that you don't like me, probably for reasons similar to the ones I've listed above.
So I'm giving up on Facebook again. It exists, in my mind, as something that's kind of like Chuck E. Cheese: a place full of blinky lights and annoying noises and games I don't find fun and people I'm trying to avoid. I can understand why somebody might want to hang out there, even though it's not my kind of place. But dammit, I still would like to have a bit more online social contact of some kind. Is anybody out there on Twitter? Tumblr? Flickr? Any of the ten thousand LiveJournal clones? Any of the other webloggy places? Does anybody know of any good message boards, forums, that sort of thing? Am I going to have to start using instant messengers again? (Nobody uses IM anymore, right?)

ETA: Oh man, I can't believe I forgot reason #1a, which is You're crazy. It's okay with me if you think President Obama is really a giant mutant pineapple, but my life is a whole lot nicer if I don't have to hear about it.

Date: 2010-09-25 03:52 am (UTC)
chronographia: Avon talks to rocks (talks to rocks)
From: [personal profile] chronographia
That list seems to be full of sense and reasonable. I think I would have to add on 8. You are my father. for myself, which causes its own distinct recoil of horror. It is easier to just say that I am allergic to social networking, when anyone asks.

I am still where I was (which I suspect you know), just with little brain power to spare since I've got a local show coming up on Sunday and OH GOD I DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH HATS. It's like the world scheduled everything for this weekend without consulting me first.


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