Friendster, MySpace, Facebook?
While the numbers on usage continue to impress, is Facebook on the decline? Facebook used to be the cool social network. Not only did you need an .edu e-mail address to sign-up, initially, you had to wait until your school was cool enough to join the Facebook ranks. Then it opened to all universities, then eventually everyone over 13. Now, everyone has a Facebook account. My mom, my almost 93-year old grandfather, my friend’s dog.
Businesses have slowly increased their presence on Facebook. Virtually every organization has a Facebook presence. Facebook went from being cool to just being standard.
This isn’t a bad thing, but it has changed the service. How differently do you use Facebook now?
Frankly, I’ve abandoned much of my Facebook usage, rather my Facebook browsing. Except for a small group that I’m a member, I only use Facebook to promote myself, my writings or creations or to share pictures of the kids that I know my family and extended friends may enjoy.
Each Lent, many friends give up Facebook for Lent similar to how I gave up my iPod Touch. In retrospect, now that I’ve been able to use my device again, I actually miss having an “excuse” to not use it. Facebook is designed to be a total time sink that draws you into it, making it hard for you to turn it off. Everything everyone you’ve ever known shares, by default, constantly flows past your eyes (including whatever I’m self-promoting at the time).
Yes, you can take the time to fine-tune the settings to only allow certain people to appear on your news feed or do this or do that. But how many people do that? How many “have the time” to do it, only to get sucked into the void of overall useless information?
I don’t mean to paint Facebook with such a negative brush, but only to note that I’m hearing more and more people saying that either they have completely left Facebook or prouder than ever that they aren’t on the social network. For sometime, I didn’t understand, but it makes a lot of sense now, whether or not I join them.
Facebook is one of the many things in life that we can find ourselves sucked into, wasting large amounts of time that we could be using more productively. Whether it is sleeping, writing more thought-out correspondence to friends or family, spending time with our friends or family, doing school, freelance or volunteer work, or spent in prayer or other activities meant to fuel our spiritual life, there are plenty of other things to do besides the time sinks of TV, Netflix, Facebook and others.
I’m a big techy. I’m not suggesting we go Amish and cancel/throw out anything like this, but it’s all about balance. From the friends and associates that have voiced their Facebook fasting to me, keeping Facebook in check is something that more and more people are finding necessary to a balance life.
Feature image sourced from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/constantskeptic/