25 August 2010

Day 151: The Facebook Effect

The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick.  ISBN: 9781439102114.

I can't read about Facebook without thinking about how I use it, and similar sites.  Nor could I read about it without wanting to check on what my friends were doing, mostly because the writing made me want to bang my head against the wall, due to awkward sentences, overt butt kissing/hero worship, and updates on Zuckerberg's never-changing wardrobe.

But yes, I have a Facebook account.  I've had one since about August 2006.  I opened it around the time I was working on my senior project at Antioch College.  I had previously been on Friendster but spent less and less time because there just weren't enough people to make it useful to me.  But Antioch tends to throw people into the wind, and I couldn't see myself not continuing to connect and be involved in the lives of these amazing individuals.

So between running Antioch's philosophy club, working on my senior project, working in the library and as a nude art model, and taking other classes I was spending roughly 2 hours a day on Facebook trying to friend as many people as I could think of whom I didn't want to lose contact with.  Since Antioch was such a small school (about 200 students by the time I graduated in December 2006), I may not have known everyone there personally, but I knew everyone by reputation, name, and/or face.  This means most of my friends are Antioch alumni, and they are all doing wonderful and amazing things with their lives.

I also use Facebook now to connect with my family members.  I am friends with my mother on Facebook, which happened after I received my undergraduate degree so she couldn't very well withdraw funds for that picture of me with a beer.  I am careful about the pictures I post of myself; I do have my profile locked down to friends-only, and I do not friend just anyone on Facebook (but that's a different post).

I primarily use Facebook as a means of keeping up on people.  I like knowing when someone finds a job (even though a part of me rages that I don't have one yet and a bit of self-hate goes on).  I like seeing pictures of people as they get married or have babies or nephews, etc.  I'm able to download family photos for my own keeping if my cousin posts a picture of my grandpa or my brother's baby momma posts a picture of the Most Awesome Nephew in the World.  These are photos that were previously kept and treasured by the primary family; now people are more geared towards sharing them because they have a way of keeping them relatively private.

I occasionally use applications.  I've gone through a number of games, but I usually keep them for a month before removing them.  I just don't have the desire to spend much time on Facebook besides checking my Newsfeed, replying to comments, and occasionally making a move in Scrabble (which is the only application I have kept since the beginning).  I do use Facebook for social networking beyond people I actually know.  I have on occasion friended friends of friends (uh...wow) when I wanted to expand my network for business purposes or if we were commenting back and forth on a friend's wall.

Mostly my Facebook friends see what you see right now.  This being updates about my blog posts, Twitter feeds, and book reviews.  Occasionally I also post about job interviews or trips to visit my fiance.  For the most part I'm content to just watch what everyone else is doing for now.  I find comfort knowing that the people in my life are generally doing well.

My review can be found on Goodreads.com.


  1. I just started using Facebook two weeks ago because so many of the people who went to the summer program I attended this year were on it and were insisting that I join so we could keep in touch.

    Honestly, I'm not sure what I think. It is taking up far too much of my time already, which I knew it would do and which was the main reason why I waited so long to try it. I'm also not sure what I think about how it is changing our relationships. It used to be that many relationships had a sort of lifespan. They thrived for a while and then became a happy memory. You'd bump into someone from years ago and have a reunion, catch up on what everyone else is up to, etc. I wonder if we're going to completely lose that.

    There is a plus, of course, in that we can keep so many friends for a much longer time. But what will these electronic friends be like? It's a bit like haveing a large group of pen-pals.

    So far, I like it.

  2. I've definitely reduced the amount of time I spend on Facebook since I first joined. I have too much reading to do nowadays (which is way more rewarding than most FB activity). These are good questions and I'm debating about whether I will be addressing them in the next couple of blog posts, there are so many issues raised by the creation and future of social networking (and of course none of them were addressed in The Facebook Effect *angry face*).

    PS: I would love to be your Facebook friend if that's not creepy.

  3. I'm kinda new to Facebook and I simply refuse to Twitter. I know I'd never be able to get through this book...

  4. I'm spastic about Facebook, not touching it for weeks at a time and then turning into some sort of facebook-stalker / facebook-game-addict. It's an issue.

  5. Tink:
    I only just started a Twitter account for my blog and I use it sparingly at best. It's a neat service, but I'm not sure I really get the full benefit of it. Maybe 25 is too old?

    I can go without checking facebook for a few days. I don't know if I could let it go for weeks. My friends are all too interesting and it tends to be one of my few sources for news (besides Colbert and Daily Show). I do get somewhat restless with it and go through phases of constant checking versus more reasonable usage (once/twice a day for half an hour, etc.).


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