Thirteen Things I Learned About Facebook In Thirteen Days

If you follow my Twitter feed or read enough of my musings here on the blog, you would know that I recently bit the bullet and opened up my own Facebook profile. Even though everyone has been talking about it for the better part of the last six years, I really had no idea what Facebook was or did. So I thought it would be fun to let you folks in on the 13 lessons I’ve learned in my first 13 days on Facebook.

#1 I missed a lot of stuff not being on Facebook
Friends/acquaintances swapped significant others, got engaged or married, moved, changed jobs, lost weight, gained weight, changed hairstyles, started a farm in some place called FarmVille so on and so forth. For the last six years, if someone wants to gush about their personal life, they posted a status update or a photo or changed their relationship status. Nobody text messages or MSNs people info about their life. No one talks about the telephone about their life. Hell, I learned more about my golf buddy’s life in Ottawa from looking at his Facebook page than I did from talking over nine holes.

#2 It’s called Stalkbook for a reason
Interacting with people on Twitter is very easy. Just click the reply button that comes with every tweet or just type @TheSteveMurray (or whatever username you want) and you can get a whoever you want. To just interact with a person on Facebook, you have to become their friend first. Writing on walls seems to be a delayed IM conversation at best. And how many status updates draw “likes” or other interaction from more than 10 of your followers? Not many from what I’ve seen. People just let you carry on your merry way. Maybe Charlie Sheen should have tried Facebook. He would have been dealing with fewer trolls.

#3 Everyone Facebooks in their own bubble
The one thing that makes Twitter so great is the ability to interact with damn well near anyone. I can’t remember the exact statistic but I don’t think that even 15% of accounts are protected that only approved followers can see your tweets. I would imagine only 15% of Facebook accounts are completely open to non-friends. Even then, your friends are the only ones that can interact with you. I feel better getting a message or retweet from someone I don’t know on Twitter than one from one of my usual contacts. Those things don’t happen on Facebook.

#4 Friend counts are emasculating
I have about 70 friends that I’ve accumulated over the last two weeks. One of my friends, who I would suggest isn’t exceptionally more popular than I am (he is, but that’s besides the poitn), has over 250. We’re from the same city, went to the same elementary school and went to the same university. Life experiences outside that notwithstanding, I’m not sure how he ends up with almost 4 times as many friends as I do. That’s not a knock on him, though. That’s jealousy/male competitiveness/testosterone because he has more friends than me. Facebook takes your friends, puts a number to it and makes it into a competition.

#5 You chase people more here than at the bar
In almost two weeks, do you know how many friend requests I’ve gotten? Two! I know hundreds of people but I have received all of two friend requests. Is it really that hard to look at the people you may know thing in the side column and click “add as friend?” Is it that hard to see your friends recent activity and see they’ve added someone you know as a friend? I’m the one having to do all the legwork here. There’s something else that’s emasculating. Nobody asking to be your friend is emasculating, too. I just can’t win at this Facebook thing.

[Jackie’s note: Steve’s lack of friend requests may be associated with the fact that he’s using my ‘angry face’ artwork as his profile picture.]

[Steve’s counternote: Yeah, but most people are used to seeing my ‘angry face’ so I would’ve thought they’d recognize me.]

#6 There’s no point to “chasing people” because everyone is in a relationship
I have no scientific numbers to back me up but I’d say that of the folks I know on Facebook in a relationship, about 90% feel compelled to post a picture of themselves with their significant other. There’s something else that’s emasculating as a single guy. I go on Facebook and it seems like everyone is getting laid but me. At least people on Twitter don’t gush on and on about how much they love whoever their fucking. They’re a bit more considerate there, if you ask me. (As an aside, one of the first discussions I had with my first news director at Radio Western was if “layed” had a different meaning than “laid” as opposed to just being a spelling mistake. Urban Dictionary says “layed” is a spelling mistake so I’ll run with that for now. And it’s pronounced “laid” either way so I’m not sure what the point of our discussion was in the first place.)

#7 Facebook gives away a lot of personal information
Okay, that’s not exactly news. All that information privacy stuff has been the subject of bitching and complaining for years. I’ve often used it as an excuse for not signing up for Facebook. However, since I’ve signed up, I’ve found out that Zuckerberg is planning on selling all the information I’ve input so my friends can keep in touch with me to some scumsucker (because I won’t call someone a cocksucker unless I know them) in a third-world country. That’s something I haven’t heard of Biz Stone doing.

#8 People don’t put that much basic personal information on Facebook
There’s some things I know about people who they’re unwilling to post on their Facebook info. For example, I’m used to being pretty open about personal details. If you listen to the podcast, I’m single, hopeless, atheist and a political centrist. That’s on my Facebook profile too. However, most people omit their religious views, political leaning, relationship status, bio and so on and so forth. I know that some of this information might get out but not posting your religious beliefs or political views is a hell of a lot different from not posting your phone number. Mind you, now that the Republicans are going after all Muslims and non-Tea Baggers, maybe not putting that stuff online isn’t such a bad thing.

#9 People don’t seem to be on Facebook as much any more
Remember when people said they were addicted to Facebook? Now, at any given time, I won’t have any more than four friends online (not that I have that many friends but bear with me). My friend requests are typically answered sometime within 12 hours but sometimes it’s been 48 or 72 hours to get an answer. I guess this gets back to interaction. Nobody answers a status update or a wall post because no one is online to check their news feed… Unless they all spend their Facebooking time playing FarmVille.

#10 Not having photos to put on Facebook is a benefit unlike what I used to think
It seems to me that most of the pictures on Facebook are of the drunk and/or otherwise embarrassing kind. And here’s the benefit to not carry around a digital camera with me everywhere (like Jackie): Without embarrassing photos on Facebook, I can avoid the dreaded future employer Facebook check. Remember, there’s nothing that employers love doing more than turning down quality hires because someone took a picture of you with a beer in hand.

#11 I still don’t know what to say on Facebook
The #1 thing people ask me about when it comes to Twitter is “I wouldn’t know what to say.” How is that any different from Facebook? I have no idea what to say on there as my “status update.” I haven’t updated my status for the last 13 days when I said I gave in and signed up as my status. Now what do I say? Do I update my status to “Updating my Facebook status to alive?” And you think Twitter is hard. 140 characters is easy.

#12 Nobody else really has anything to say on Facebook
Here I’m worried about what to post as my status but I should realize that I have nothing less to say than anyone else. Most status updates from my Facebook friends include trivial life updates, complaints about life, YouTube videos, song lyrics, inspirational quotes, links, photos and the always classic “Love you snookikims” or whatever fucked up pet names people have for each other. My choice of Facebook friends could be worse. They could all be posting status updates about FarmVille.

#13 I like Twitter more
I’m a bit of an information and trivia junkie. I’m obsessed with keeping up with current events. There’s really very little in the way of information or news that is dispensed on Facebook. If you want gossip or drama, then Facebook is for you. At least, that’s the way I see this whole pseudo-war between the devout Facebook users and the devout Tweeters. I’ll throw my lot in with the birds.

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