Facebook relevancy, yay or nay?

I’m sure this has been asked and surveyed before, but how many of you are – still? – actively using Facecrack? I dropped FB mid-last-year, mostly over security/privacy concerns but also due to incredible amount political (conservative, fake) shite got filtered through to my wall, and now it seems there’s a new emerging struggle to keep violence out of posts and live feed

I’m a first gen immigrant, and found FB incredibly useful in the early days for maintaining frequent contact with friends back home, and after dropping FB, I haven’t been able to maintain the same level of communication. For some reason WhatsApp, Skype, Google+ etc etc don’t rise to the occasion, yet I refuse to go back to Facebook. So what is one to do, start writing postcards and handwritten letters via snail mail, send smoke signals?

The topic is about Facebook relevance or Facebook alternative?
FB is about giving users a false sense of connectivity. It’s business practices are questionable.
Also filter the domain, and ip of Facebook.
Have you try calling?

Can you talk about what it is that Facebook does that others aren’t doing? I’m personally not an active Facebook user, so I don’t really know what’s missing from the others :slight_smile:

Frankly, it’s probably mostly due to lack of participation on other messaging/social media platforms. WhatsApp or Skype etc. groups work fine if you have friends actively using them already, and on similar schedules/timezones. In that case, setting them up on a group chat wouldn’t be an issue. However, unlike pure messaging platforms, Facebook works well because of the bulletin board format (Google+ works, just that few(er) people – in my case no one – are really using it, and depending on the circles, with quite a bit of spam and reposts). Depending on schedules – and in my case multiple timezones – it’s quite difficult to find the occasion to have longer conversations with friends across the globe. When those conversations are ongoing on a bulletin board “everyone” uses however, it is easy to participate (or not). On messaging platforms the message threads are typically more conversation like, so if you’re not on the chat while it’s taking place in real time, you are less likely to scroll through hundreds of lines of text later just to get back on track.

I haven’t used Facebook outside of the U.S. so not sure how ads, spam, fake news etc seep into people’s feed around the world and if they are bothered by it. There are a few settings that allow you to filter some of the crap, but in my experience the filters were/are way insufficient. Of course, the best filter is not to participate on the platform at all :slight_smile:

It’s true, I can always pick up a phone and call a friend, or email, ask how they are doing. Now where did I put that mobile number? Oh that’s right, I didn’t have it in the first place because my only contact with that person was on Facebook. Damn it. So to answer my own question, yes, Facebook is relevant to me, but it’s too annoying to use.

Boy, that all came off as quite a bit of whaaaa.

edit: To sum it all up: I’m lazy.

Right. So this sort of forum-style discussion we’re having right now and one has on Facebook feels different – less immediate, less participate-in-real-time – than a group chat on skype/whatsapp/etc? (And in addition to that, everyone is on facebook and aren’t all anywhere else, of course). That makes sense.

I feel the same way, but I think I’m wrong to feel it; there’s not actually any difference between chats here on the BV forum or chats on Facebook or chats in Telegram/WhatsApp/Skype/etc, right? But I persist in thinking of one as “a forum” and the other as “IM”. The forum ones are open to the public and the IM ones not quite so much, but I don’t know what the foundation for my belief is.

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Facebook is the main means by which my community maintains contact.
Each time a party, or a notable event occurs, facebook is where to find out about it.
There has been several times where I have learnt important news about deaths and births on facebook
Each time I go away with my family, the photos make their way onto facebook, it’s hard to turn my back on fb when important news comes from it.
It is mainly the network effect, all my freinds and family and people I know use it, so I have to as well, kinda like Windows in the 90s.

I am also deeply concearned about the sheel level of profiling that facebook are able to do!
Despite me NOT telling them my UK mobile phone number they still got it.

Then there’s the “check in” feature that allows my freinds to tell facebook where I have been. Facebook also uses third party cookies so if you where logged into facebook then fb can log which sites you are using.

@sil if you don’t mind me asking, what tools do you use to keep in contact with people that arn’t super interested in technology?

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Honestly – and this is probably indicative – I don’t have that many people I actually do keep in touch with who aren’t nearby or aren’t technological, which is why this doesn’t affect me much; the nearby people I keep in touch with via that famous contact app, “pub”. Those that I do chat with who aren’t near here seem to these days be mostly little private Telegram chats; they aren’t techie people, but pretty much everyone I know is fine with the idea of having twelve different chat apps these days :slight_smile:

Yeah the pub-element is completely missing in my interaction. Normally I’d catch up on with the goings-on at a random get-together, run into someone at the groceries, restaurant, the usual. Now it’s all reduced to online comms with the occasional vacay to the homeland. But as my father would tell me (in a good-hearted way) regarding all things being an immigrant: that’s what you get for leaving.


I was listening to The Lunduke Hour with Richard Stallman I just had to laugh when Richard said that there is no such thing as a “Facebook user” only “Facebook use-es”. That people don’t use Facebook, that Facebook uses people. That whole show was entertaining. The thing is, for me, the more I’ve listened to him, the less radical he seems. Oh no! :smile:

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Part of the reason why I’ve jumped off the FB train were these security/privacy issues. Otoh, as it has been discussed on the show as well, everyone has their personal tolerance for privacy & security vs convenience. It just seems that most things in tech start off innocently with a genuinely good idea, but once funding rounds and IPO’s come to play, users are forced to either eat up whatever the now corporation throws at them, or jump ship to the next thing. Rinse and repeat.

A long time Linux user once wrote a blog about this.
"Reason 2: Friendship is a cosmological constant
Just like momentum and energy, friendship is a finite quantity. According to unshakable rules of physics, the more friends you have, the less of friends they are. It is physically impossible to have many friends. By definition, the number of friends you ought to have is equal or less than the number of kidneys you are willing to donate to save someone else’s life, in this case, the above-mentioned friends - family and spouses excluded.

Having 3,422 friends on Facebook means you have approx. 3,420 would-be friends too many. This also means that you treat relationships as a mouse click, which is, well, kind of sad. Furthermore, think about the energy you invested approving friend requests from those 3,420 people. Even if you wasted as little as 10 seconds going through each one, you have still spent approx. 10 hours of your life on bureaucracy. Oh, humanity."

And conclusion:
"Social is all about society. And society is not online, despite the best efforts by media to depict the revolution of broadband into a sort of an exciting, less harsh alternative to real life. If I unplug your network cord from the wall, your e-friends are gone. No more FarmVille, no more Wall. It’s as simple as that. There you go. The real reasons why not to use Facebook. Well, that would be all. Take care. And remember the kidney rule! "

I don’t read his blogs that much, but some of his ideas are interesting.

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@badodor interesting points, I have some other thoughts, what do you think about the following?

I heard somewhere that most people maintain only about a half dozen or so “close friends”. I.e. the people that they are personally close to (including family etc).

So regardless of how many fb friends a person has they are only deeply connected to about 6 or 7 people.

It’s all down to how hunter gatherer societies work. Half a dozen people is a good number for planning a hunting ambush, so we are evolved to be close to that number of people, any more and face-to-face communication gets tricky.
That’s why IT methodologies like agile (SCRUM/Kanban) tend to suggest not having a team size larger than the number that can sit around one bank of desks.

That said in larger communities people become like neurons, in so much as what is important is not who everyone is, but all the complex social connections and bonds that accrue over time.
consider by analogy the brain. The brain is made of synapses, they are you, the neurons are just the medium, you don’t grow new neurons but you grow new synapses all the time.
This is the stuff that societies are made of too! lol

For example I moved in to a house share a few years ago and found out that my housemate went on holiday with my cousin.
Or the fact when I was at school my grandma used to be friends with a lot of my friends’ grandparents too.
Or a mate that I go swimming with and chat to about Science down the pub is the boyfriend of the sister of an old school friend, who also knows the parents of another friend of mine etc etc.

I think what I’m trying to say is not to be dismissive of those people on fb and other social platforms (both online and real world) that have ($numberOfFriends >= 1000), they are only close to the same number of people as everyone else.
Also not to be dismissive about social systems where there are complex social mutilayered (and multigenerational) social bonds, they are fun and incredibly pleasant

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These are Igor’s ideas from back in 2010. he wanted to emphasize quality over quantity. The rest of the blog entry is also interesting. I only quote ports of it to address the op.

FB is good for keeping contacts with business associates and has other useful properties.

Keep FB, the platform, at a business distance.

Long distance friendships/relationships generally fizzles out quickly. YMMV

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Take comfort in knowing your friends are really your friends :slight_smile: I think a lot of people are still there (or joined in the first place) out of fear. I hate it when people (like from a work contract, etc.) ask to be my “friend” on facebook and think I’m just lying and being stuck up not wanting to friend them because gaaaaawd forbid someone not have a facebook. Gah! RMS is right though (and I guess moms everywhere too); If it’s conditional, it’s not really friendship anyhow.

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I find the ephemeral nature of Facebook fails to scratch my social itch in the way that traditional internet forums do. There are no old topics that contain an ongoing conversation - anything more than a few hours old is effectively deleted.

The platform is still useful for organising interactions, sharing more ephemeral things about hobbies (“Here’s an update on that thing I was working on!”), and getting a vague overview of what friends and acquaintances are getting up to.

I’ve yet to find a true replacement for forums.


Ironically the few true friends I have State side are not active FB users, just that our schedules prevent getting together for a pint more than twice a year, at best, it seems; so that “void” was artificially filled with convos I had with friends across the pond. The decision to close the account was an easy one though, as friends back in the old country will stay as friends whether I communicate with them on a daily, or decade basis. Surveying co-workers, and it looks like the old(er) crowd like me is using the platform less and less, and the younger folk never really got on it as their circles flocked onto some other social media platform. And for many it seems like checking their feed is a compulsive habit rather than a meaningful way to interact with anyone. In light of all this, agreed to have a Skype chat with drinks (read: more drinking, less chatting) with one my best friends. The bad thing, or good I guess, depends how you approach it, is the 10-hr time difference, so drinking, I mean chatting! for me will begin around brunch time. Maybe we’ll make it a regular occurrence.

edit: werds


Hey, I can relate to that. I’ve never skyped or anything, but as a shiftworker I knew every every after hours boozecan and where to get “cold tea” 24/7. Don’t worry about it, as the song says, it’s always 5:00 somewhere. I haven’t really been able to drink since being diagnosed with hypertension a year and a bit ago though (getting old sucks, I highly advise against it) so I’ve become the friend who has one beer and pop the rest of the night. Half the time I don’t even bother having a beer (but always make sure to tip really well). I thought it would be insanely boring being “the sober one”, but it’s really not. Good company is all you really need :slight_smile:

I finally gave in and had a facebook for a couple of months around 2009 but couldn’t stand it. Apart from doing something I knew was dishonouring myself, my privacy, and my software Freedoms…it was like having someone around constantly needing attention, yet never really doing anything interesting. I only got it because I was adopted when I was 3 days old, have since met my birth mother, and wanted to connect to the half siblings I never really knew. I still don’t really know them even though I watched and responded to their walls almost daily back then. It’s like some bizzare distopian culture where everyone fronts because the prevailing chilling effect is that one will be socially rejected if they step out of line/take a risk. I think facebook actually hijacks relationships rather than makes them. That’s not to say I’m adverse to social networking in general. I used to practically live on livejournal back in the day and even visited an lj friend in England once. BAH!!! I think that’s the true reason I hate facebook: It lured all my lj friends away! I remember amongst those who had facebook accounts and still maintained lj accounts in the begining; The creativity and thoughfulness of posts and comments had become noticably diminished :frowning: Speaking of which, hey!, this feels like an old lj comment. Good times, w00t! :smiley:

I use Facebook as a unified social interconnect, layered on top of phone, email, forums, allowing me to remain actively communicative with geographically disparate family, friends and colleagues (from current and past employment). I’m in a group for my work which acts as a virtual watercooler across our sites. I’ve joined a couple of groups for very vertical interests (my car model and retro computing). I very lightly use the SSO features on a few websites. I never use Facebook games or on-site apps unless it’s necessary for me to use something else. I regularly report or block in-feed ads which are offensive or irrelevant to me, or which are blatantly scams. I use Facebook Messenger for those friends I have who prefer it to SMS, WhatsApp or Skype for text messaging. I’m aware that I’m a product, not a user, but my light interactions into the Facebook ecosystem beyond them having my personal details probably don’t make me a very useful one.

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