July 18th, 2007

mask, pensive, portrait

Down memory lane

Further thoughts about Facebook: there are a lot of things horribly wrong with it, mainly involving its failure to make the transition from a virtual hangout for American college students to a general social networking site. I don't trust the site, but apart from the bits where I think they have an actually malicious business model, the way they do privacy is I think actively harmful through lack of competence; it's not transparent who sees what information, and the default state is ridiculously open while it's complicated and non-intuitive to lock things down. And there's just a lot of stuff which is barely functional, muddled and with no top down vision of how things are supposed to fit together. There's also the problem of fragmentation that Gerv mentions.

By comparison with LJ, it feels a lot more like a silly time waster, than a medium for actual conversation and socializing. And yet, there are people there who not only aren't on LJ, but who aren't really online at all, except accidentally. I can see how it's useful for a kind of virtual version of social grooming, keeping vaguely in touch with people one already knows with a lot less effort than email or blogging. The thing I absolutely love about it is that it has found me a good proportion of the people I've lost over the course of my life. I've been on the site less than a week, and it already beats both Google and FriendsReunited.

Reconnecting with childhood friends has brought on a fit of nostalgia, which I shall discuss behind the cut. I've also been scanning and uploading some of the photos I have from years ago; the instant feedback that Facebook supplies is gratifying.

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