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My views on online social networking

Just 'cause I've been talking about it lately, IMHO:

  • LiveJournal = meaningful substance
  • Facebook = useless fluff
  • Twitter = annoying noise

    (Feel free to substitute any blogging site for LiveJournal, and any "social networking" site like MySpace, Friendster, etc. [does anyone else remember 6degrees?] for Facebook.)

    Look, I don't hate people that use these services, exclusively or not, but I just want to clear the air for anyone who gets annoyed when I don't reply to their annoying Facebook apps that offer me the chance to give them a hug or adopt a bonsai kitten or wank their virtual pirate or whatever the fuck it is they think is cute at that particular moment and decide to send to their entire friends list, or revel in the minutiae of their lives minute-by-minute including what they passed for breakfast, the intricate mixture of smells from the bum they sat next to on the subway, an update on their co-worker's bad hair, or whatever else they can attempt to cleverly cram into a 140 character twat that I surely have neither the time nor the interest to hear about (I mean, if I don't care to hear it from Q...). I dread the Next Big Networking Thing, because anything below the level of Twitter would probably cause me to take a hostage.

    What little bit of time I have to surf the web I'd rather use constructively, which, to me, means somewhat intriguing, intelligent, meaningful, and hopefully amusing journal entries that give me an opportunity to get to know my friends a little better and understand in a bit more depth what's going on in their lives. There are quite a few people that I know both in real life and solely online that I really feel I've grown closer to by reading their LJ on a regular basis. Sure, I may not have the time to do so for every single one of my friends every day, but when I do, I feel like it's time well spent. It's kind of like the difference between going to NPR's website and reading something that I felt gave me something important to know when I was finished, as opposed to scrolling down the page of results when I Google the word "news" and getting the jist of things from gleaming the headlines.

    I mean all this in the nicest possible way. I understand everyone interacts electronically differently, and I wouldn't have it any other way, and I'll do what I can to try to keep in touch with people regardless of the medium they choose, even if I have to occasionally wade through annoying apps and tweets. Please just be kind to this ever-increasingly-grumpy old coot when he clings to his LJ, which, as one person said, "is so 5 years ago."

    (Oh, and yes, I have accounts on a lot of the services out there, but only as either placeholders or to occasionally touch base with the very few friends of mine that only use that service and none other. You'll notice, though, that they all point to my LJ and contain almost nothing of merit, or at the very least are cross-posted both there and in my LJ. No hypocrite I!)


( 28 comments — Comment )
May. 8th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
I must agree. Facebook = feh! And it pleases me to see that you are embracing you curmudgeonliness! Resistance is Futile, but we do it anyway, and we like it!
May. 8th, 2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
In MY day...

I was actually pretty shocked my friend Steven, who you met at the doll party, was twittering. He's always been rather techno-savvy without being a slave to it (he had a website long before everyone else in the world did), so I assumed he'd be blogging somewhere with substance. For him to *only* be on Twitter kind of threw me for a loop.
May. 8th, 2009 06:15 am (UTC)
Twitter is useful when at conventions; it's kind of like broadcast IM for your phone that doesn't count against your text message limit. I'm very careful how I use it, though.

Facebook? The LA Boys are using it instead of evite for party invitations rather successfully. "Pages" and "Groups" offer a lot of potential if you're promoting something. Apps? I block every damned one.
May. 8th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)
Your idea of twittering at a con is so far the first and only benefit I've seen that makes sense - it would be neat to follow someone at an event if I really wanted to be there and couldn't. And I do see the benefits of pages and groups - just like I see the benefits of LJ communities, evite.com and Yahoo! Groups. Those that would claim that Facebook cornered the market have some regrettable tunnel vision. I'm with you on apps, though - HIGHLY annoying. And what is it with people I haven't spoken to in 20 years suddenly friending me on FB when they've never found me on any other service whatsoever? If I haven't spoken to you since 1986, there's a reason. Leave me alone.
May. 8th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
There's a reason for "ignore" and "block" on friend requests. I use them occasionally.
May. 8th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, sure, I do, too. It's just weird that these people suddenly notice me and think I'd actually *want* to reconnect with them (I mean, I guess there are a few I don't mind, but generally the 3 people I liked in high school I still keep in touch with on an irregular basis, and they know I want to keep up with them. As for the rest, well... bygones!)
May. 8th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC)
While that is a useful aspect of Facebook, the rest of the inane crap still annoys me.
May. 8th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
At least the much-reviled interface update makes it easy to hide apps, leaving you only the inane chatter that's actually generated by your friends.
May. 8th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
That's what I was talking about!! (grin)
May. 8th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
I took note of your post about settings and am planning to implement them soon. :)
May. 8th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
In *my* day, we used to pick up the damn phone and call people, just for the hell of it. A couple of times when people complained to me about not being in touch, I said, "What, your phone broke?"
May. 8th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
In *your* day? Try in *our* day - I'd call Myke, he'd call you, you'd call Carl, he'd call Phil, he'd call Pam, she'd call Penni, she'd call Jen, she'd call Jim, he'd call Steve, and he'd call me and say, "Purple monkey dishwasher."

My line has, is and always will be, "You've got a finger and a phone - put them together."
May. 8th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
*tweet tweet*
DonIago is amused by this post. And agrees.

*tweet tweet*

If I actually thought I was an interesting enough person to merit it I might get Twitter. I can't be bothered to pay attention to my Facebook on a regular basis, and my status message, i'm pretty sure, suggests people come here anyway. At least here I feel like I have a chance in hell of getting a real idea of what someone's about. That's especially important to me given the difficulties I tend to have getting to know people.
May. 8th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
Re: *tweet tweet*
It's shocking the sheer VOLUME of information available to you, and I, for one, barely have enough time for me, Q, and a select few that I'm actually close to, let alone tweets from someone I haven't spoken to since high school.
May. 8th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
just took a quiz, turns out the color that most represents me is "red," also I am a red panda

check out my candy haul for halloween, what an awesome meme

here is a survey I took in which I set my favorite music application to "shuffle" and then proceeded to apply each title track to these zany questions
May. 10th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
Wait, do you know this other person who is friends with me and therefore might be friends with you? How about poking them? Or inviting them to adopt a cute virtual animal? Maybe you'd like to find out which Lord of the Rings character they are by taking this quiz? OMG DO IT NOW!
May. 10th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
oh, so then you agree with me that the problem is not the medium, but the people? ;D
May. 10th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
I think it's both. Facebook will let anyone throw anything into their site, and some of these idiots will take advantage of each and every one. I'm not saying there shouldn't be options, nor should people be discouraged from coming up with new ideas, but there is a point where discrimination is the better part of valor. I don't do MySpace anymore because of these idiots who put every single fucking flashing graphic and sound file in their profiles that would literally cause my computer to freeze, and I see Facebook going that way sooner rather than later. I prefer the simplicity of communication that most blogging sites offer.
May. 10th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
well then I hope you realize my initial criticism was against the notion that LJ was the One True Meaningful Service, because LJ is just as susceptible to the stupid noise-- it's just had a lot more time to mature from it.
May. 10th, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm not saying LJ is perfect, nor the end-all-be-all of online socializing, but I think "maturity" is a misnomer - any memes or quizzes on LJ required thoughtful work on the part of the poster, whereas Facebook makes them so ridiculously easy to access (and in turn send notification e-mails to your entire friends list that OMG YOU SHOULD DO IT TOO 'CAUSE THEN I GET MORE POINTS FOR MY DIGIMON'S SHOPPING SPREE whatever fuck-all it is) that everyone and anyone does it, repeatedly, ad nauseum, and it's fucking useless and patently annoying, IMHO. I'd rather read a "25 things" post in LJ than on Facebook because it seems to me the person who took the time to fill it out and re-post it in LJ likely put more thought into it than someone on Facebook.
May. 8th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
also a relevant comic from The New Yorker:

May. 10th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
That's a riot! :)
May. 8th, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
May. 10th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Great minds, baby!
May. 9th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
I do like that I can keep in touch with FaceBook, and get in contact with many, many lost friends. And activists have been finding Twitter really useful. During the Australian wildfires this year, Twitter was used extensively in the rescue and evacuation efforts.

Can't imagine using Twitter for social stuff, though. That stuff just makes me bug-eyed after awhile.

As for Blogs, does that include ones on Wordpress? I've got one on queer history. There are also some good columns that appear in blog form around there.
May. 10th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
I agree - for some things, Twitter does sound like an interesting innovation, but they seem, to me, to revolve around some kind of group activity, as opposed to the last time you flossed. And yes, Facebook is good for finding long lost friends, but most of my friends haven't gotten lost, thankfully, and the ones that *think* they're my long lost friends are pathetically mistaken.
May. 10th, 2009 05:35 am (UTC)
hehe, can't we all just get along? :)
May. 10th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
Sure - must blog in LJ more often. :P
( 28 comments — Comment )

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