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A Fine Fritter

Last night I did something I hadn’t expected to do: I signed up for Facebook. As Terry Dullmaier almost immediate wrote on my Wall: “Apparently we all end up on Facebook eventually!”

Indeed. And I guess I signed up for Facebook for the same reason I bought an XP machine: Sooner or later, I’m going to need to know something about it, so why not now? I was a little boggled at how many people I know are on there, including both of my nephews and most of my friends, some of whom go wayyyy back. (Terry and I went to Catholic grade school together. Dominus vobiscum and all that.)

So I’ve been doing a fair bit of frittering this afternoon, trying to make sense of it all as both a technology and a phenomenon. There are games like Farmville and Mafia Wars that I have no intention of playing, but which are interesting to watch. And refreshingly little politics, though I’ve already been warned that it’s out there. I’m just not looking hard enough. Thanks; I’m looking as hard as I want to.

I’m not sure what all it’s good for yet. I already have a blog in two places and plenty of Web pages, and the amount of email that shoots through here gets scary sometimes. Do I need any more social machinery? I’m not looking for a job (there’s plenty of contractor work for me if I want it) or a girlfriend (I’m very happy with the one I’ve had for forty years now) and whatever else I might need I generally find on Amazon, ABEBooks, eBay, Craigslist, or NewEgg.

It’s always good to be findable, but I think I was pretty findable before. I need to post covers of my books in an album, especially now that a new one’s in the chute. Beyond that, I stand a little puzzled before the whole thing. If you’ve got some insights as to how Facebook is best used (beyond the obvious: “sparingly”) definitely drop them in the comments.


  1. David Stafford says:

    > I’m not sure what all it’s good for yet.

    I used to think the best use of computers was in calculating things that would be impossible for humans. I’ve changed my mind. The best use of computers is in connecting humans together.

    Facebook does one thing incredibly well: Every time I visit it feels like I just entered a comfortable coffeehouse full of my friends. I have a chance to keep in touch and engage in conversations that would otherwise would be impossible. It’s become an essential part of life.

  2. Erbo says:

    I mainly joined it to have it serve as a contact point, but I’ve reconnected with a variety of friends from various parts of my life as a result…and been surprised to see that a number of them are seeing the world the way I do these days. I’ve also connected with a couple of conservative bloggers that way.

    (Oh, I routinely block all the “game” type applications and a number of the other “frivolous” ones. It’s nothing personal. Sabrina, however, uses a couple of the farm games and Yoville, among others.)

    One of my recent highlights there was seeing a video of the son of a former coworker singing along to the Cure’s “Let’s Go To Bed.” He’s definitely following in his parents’ footsteps…:-)

  3. Darrin Chandler says:

    > I’m not sure what all it’s good for yet.

    It’s a bit of a game changer, and as such you won’t see what it’s for until you make the mental shift. I’m still having trouble saying just what it’s good for, but I can definitely see that’s it’s good for some things. Some points to ponder:

    * There are a lot of blogs out there that have too few entries spaced too far apart in time. Mine is one of them. Facebook is actually a nicer medium for non-writers.

    * It’s a way to keep very loosely in touch with a much larger group of people, and get the benefits of the serendipity that comes with that, while spending very little effort on it.

    There’s more, but that’s enough to be getting on with.

    I’m also sure that Facebook is not the final, best incarnation. But it seems to be the best of breed at this time.

  4. LeeAnn Ball says:

    I share your confusion for FB, but perhaps only because I haven’t taken the time to make sense of it. A copy of “Facebook for Dummies” sits on my desk, fresh from the library, but the Dummies book is almost as hard to follow as is FB.
    I wasn’t sure if FB was meant for people over 40, but plenty of my classmates are on there and we are having fun being in touch. My 35-year-old daughter had just said to a friend that _________ (something or other) would be as weird as if she found out her mother was on Facebook. She went home from the social gathering and found that her mother was on FB! Eeeeyuu.

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