Thursday, June 07, 2007

Social networking : enough already

"I've added you as a friend on Facebook". I'm getting lots of these emails lately, and I can only guess that every time someone signs up to Facebook, there's some button they click that sends these messages to their whole contacts list. Cut it out. I've got social networking fatigue. Between blogging and checking in with the MySpace (and how come the Log Lady hasn't added me yet?) do I really have time to invest in a whole new social networking platform?

Up to this point I've been a big champion of the new ways that technology has helped us collaborate, how it has juiced up creative endeavours and been generally a good thing for the way writers, artists and musicians work. But lately I feel like all this electroclutter, and these snippets of circuitry-aided pseudointeraction, are becoming a little distracting. When I'm checking who's written what on my wall, that's time I'm not accomplishing work (which also involves gazing at a computer, making me less inclined to do it in my free time) or having more meaningful direct interactions with real people.

I had a similar angst about signing up with MySpace, and delayed that until it was clear that, despite its general horridness, it was one of the most effective ways to keep up with cultural goings-on around here (in the absence of, oh, I don't know... a good listings magazine.) Because everyone else was using it by then. If the same thing happens with Facebook, and the benefits seem to be worth the trouble, I may decide to join up. But it makes me tired thinking about it.

Some of this social networking stuff totally turns me off from the get-go. Twitter seems to involve broadcasting inanities about my mood and whereabouts to a whole bunch of people and getting deluged with similar uselessly annoying updates from them. Why would I want to do that? Plus, the name is ridiculous.

Other stuff is more compelling. When I read the Tech section of the Guardian I sometimes regret not having a presence on Second Life, like I'm missing out on some virtual party. But there's something really sad about those pixelated pictures in the newspaper of busty/muscular avatars congregating on some imaginary island. And really, who needs a Second Life? I'm still quite enjoying the first one, thanks very much, and as it is I never have enough time to do all the things I want to do, read all the books I want to read, have actual conversations with actual breathing people, etc. That is not living.

(Image from Moriash Moreau's blog, which details his daily existence on Second Life)


FunkyMonkeyMan said...

Argh facebook! Yet another thing to check when i finally get time to sit in front of a computer, someone has tagged you in a photo or they want you to join a group. I must admit i am currently in ‘Bruce Campbell for official King of the World’.
Personally I think it’s just a way to spy on your friends to see what they are up to.

Tim said...

Quite so. And where's my dinner?

Rutila said...

Did you see what the New York Times has to say?

Anonymous said...

Although I reluctantly log on to Myspace (1,059 'friends' and counting) and, recently, Facebook from time to time, is the only thing I actually like using.

You're right about too much procrastination though - I wonder if there's any research into how much productivity we've lost as a nation?