Tuesday, November 27, 2007

About Time

Poker out of the way quickly: MATH sucked ($80 in, shit all night, Fuel was the table's luckbox, but I still liked that it was a rebuy), and a couple turbo SnGs went poorly. There, poker content over.

I despise Facebook. This is no secret to anybody who sees me on a regular basis. I will trumpet my dislike of it and most social networking/web 2.0 sites without provocation. Exceptions are Blogger and Flickr, because they're little more than a convenient method of posting content, and I can control who can and can't participate without forcing them to join up. Some days I'm not so sure about them either.

And no, I'm not a Luddite. I'm also not a first-adopter. I'm too smart for that. Bring forth your new technology. I'll let others test it and find all the terrible faults that you can fix before I consider picking it up. And if my bullshit detector goes off, I stay far away.

Here's the thing. I live in Toronto. Until recently, it was the #1 Facebook city in the world. Us Canucks are big on tech. This leads to the problem of 95% of the people I know being on Facebook. The funny thing is, the few friends who aren't on it totally get me. Those that are will endlessly defend the service despite what arguements I bring forth. I only half-jokingly suggest they've all been brainwashed by the site and one day I'll be a little red dot on the giant map at Facebook HQ as "that guy". Then all the people on the street will turn as one and swarm me, forcing my eyes open as they sign me up and indoctrinate me into their cult.

It keeps me up at night.

Okay, not really. Only my cats can keep me up at night.

Seriously, I've turned down sex for sleep.

Yah, I regret that NOW.

Sorry, tangent over.

Anyway, the rest of the world is slowly coming around.

Microsoft bought a chunk a few weeks ago. That can never lead to good. But that's likely beside the point.

First there were the Beacon ads. In short - you buy a book, or rent a movie from a partner site, and your "friends" get to see what you've bought. The theory behind this is that then your "friends" get to know you better, and you can talk about common interests like specific movies or Harry Potter or some shit. Of course, if you rent something a bit more... questionable, then what happens? Brokeback Mountain and you're friends are fundamentalist Christians? Mein Kampf? Britney Spears? Some books or movies on specific fetishes? Or less damaging perhaps, you buy all your Christmas gifts and your friends get to see what they're getting. Yah, brilliant plan. Oh, and the opt-out is, as usual, tricky.

Then it turns out that it used to be better. But Facebook decided to lose the opt-in and easy opt-out options. Likely because more money could be made that way.

But these are just the latest, and more active and "evil" problems with the site.

Cory Doctorow has a great article that sums up some of my issues, and why Facebook will likely collapse under its own weight.

What gets people on a site like this is generally two things: peer pressure or curiosity. Facebook is a stalker's dream. You can look up anybody and see who they know. That information alone could be enough to track someone down (ie.- friends wearing a company logo, or in a recognizable location). All I heard from friends originally was how cool it was to look up people from grade school or high school. My first thought? That means they can look you up. The 2 or 3 people I might actually want to get in touch with is not worth the dozens I want nothing to do with.

Then it became a regular part of their lives. Half-hearted complaints about how it ate up all their time were common. Fine, I have poker and this damned blog for that, so I'm a black pot. Then came the entreaties that I should join. I steadfastly refuse. Then I started hearing about parties and gatherings that I wasn't invited to. Why? Oh, I'm not on Facebook, so they didn't think to send me a fucking e-mail, text message, or bother picking up a phone. Nice.

Then the, "oh, I put up the pictures from the party." Where? "On Facebook". Great, so I can't see them, but lots of people can see my drunken face.

Then the e-mail Facebook invites. "So-and-so has sent you a Facebook e-mail! Click on this link to find out what it is." Okay.. oh look! I'm on their facebook page and can choose to go to their party. That's a step up. Except I can't see who else is going because I'M NOT A MEMBER. Please sign up. Fuck off.

Or my favourites were the early ones, "Your friend has invited you to join Facebook!" My former friend you mean? Because no friend of mine would supply my personal e-mail address to ANY online service. Especially when a followup comes later with "You never joined, why not?" Go fuck yourself. I've told my mother not to use my address if she finds a cute something or interesting article, is it so hard for my friends with DEGREES IN COMPUTER ENGINEERING to figure it out? I taught her how to copy-and-paste a link to e-mail so she can send it without risking me getting spammed, surely they can learn.

Then there are the joys of actually joining. If you want to search, you can either (a) sign up or (b) provide them with an e-mail address AND ITS PASSWORD. Like hell I'm doing that.

Once signed up, anybody who knows you or your friends, or even just randomly find you, can ask to be your friend. If you actually know them and DON'T add them? What happens at the next party? Or when you go to work on Monday and that freak in the mailroom is mad you didn't acknowledge his poke? Plus the entreaties from Facebook to the less-intelligent out there about unifying your profiles... you know, so they can share the information with your friends.

I hate Facebook, and I hate what it does to exclude people. I've been told I couldn't participate in things specifically because I wasn't on Facebook. I told those friends where to shove that idea. I've been told some people didn't reply to my birthday invite (sent via e-mail) because it was too difficult compared to Facebook. WHAT THE FUCK? Click "reply", type "yes" or "no", click "send." Give me a break. I hate how it puts on a friendly face but slowly lets the evil creep in. I hate how everybody seems so short-sighted that they don't realize that if they can stalk, they can be stalked. And I hate the secondary environment of tiered and ranked friendship it sets up.

I almost lost it when one woman asked me how she could talk to me if I wasn't on Facebook. Anything that becomes this prevalent scares me. iPods, Windows, Lost, Google, poker, etc., don't exclude people. They are tools and pastimes, not social control mechanisms. Even Myspace didn't create this level of exclusivity. Facebook though? Evil.

Yet I want to set up a fake account to stalk everyone.


Buddy Dank said...

Oh come now, why don't you tell us how you really feel?

Alyce said...

Here, here!

"Facebook is a cult!"
"It's no different than a cell phone."
"You're insane. It's a cult, and you're a member."
-time passes-
"You should come out for Dim Sum."
"That sounds cool!"
"Oh, nevermind. You're not on Facebook."

RaisingCayne said...

Love the post, as I share in your spurn of the funked up phenomenon known as facebook. Only my loathing of the popular technologies extends to MySpace too. Specifically, I just don't understand people's ambition to catch up with people from their past.? I don't get it! If I wanted to catch up with "old friends" they wouldn't be OLD FRIENDS! They would still be my friends! I believe there's a reason people stop being in touch. And oh my, why oh why would I give my scorned ex-girlfriends a means to track me down?!

Anyway, I'll stop ranting. Enjoyed the post, and share in your opinions. Facebook blows!

Julius_Goat said...

Yeehaw, man. Science and Facebook, an unholy combination. I couldn't agree with you mo


Everything is fine. Order is restored. I am Julius Goat. Facebook is good. Join me in Facebook for all your good times.

End transmission.

TenMile said...

There is a problem with this post.

It makes too much sense.

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I have a facebook acct and I'm ashamed of it. Facebook sucks.

Chad C said...

I am thinking of starting a website called "AssBook". Surely this will be a hit, I just need some investors................

bayne_s said...

"Seriously, I've turned down sex for sleep."

I read your whole facebook rant and the above quote is what registers.

I tried to turn down sex for sleep once. Damn wife would not take no for an answer.

lightning36 said...

He he - I guess I am too old to care about Facebook and My Space. I did create a fake My Space, though, just in case I want to stir some shit somewhere.

Come to think of it, I did create a real Facebook account (I work in education) that I haven't checked for a year.

lj said...

um, so does this mean you're not gonna be my facebook friend?