On the worthlessness of facebook

by Gimpei | 11:07 in |

Slate's IT dude, Farhad Manjoo just wrote this bizarre panegyric to facebook. Before going into everything that's wrong with his praise of facebook, let me just remind you, dear reader, that this computer "expert" had never heard of videolan, digsby, or mediamonkey until a month ago!

Here's an argument against using facebook: it is useless.

Everyone I know already uses email and chat. Why go through the hassle of entering one extra portal just to duplicate functionality that I already have. Also, facebook's chat technology is buggy garbage right now (but that will probably improve).

As for facebook's "social" apps, they get boring pretty quick.

Do you really care that your "friend's" status has gone from "feels like chicken tonight" to "is eating chicken and it's oh so fingerlicking good" to "got salmonella poisoning but managed to claw my way to the computer to type out this status update. Please don't blame the chicken."

How many pirates can you fight before you throw in the towel and just set up a grease monkey script to automatically level you up. And why is the pinacle in ninjadom Chuck Norris? It's ninja role models like this that turned Somalians to piracy.

Lastly, how many stupid movie quizzes can you take? It's fun for maybe a week, but then it all get's incredibly boring.

Facebook seems to me to be a lot like AOL in the early nineties: an easy way to get the computer illiterate masses on to the web. However, it doesn't really offer much apart from annoying updates from people who aren't actually your friends. I don't see why, after having found their friends and learned how to contact them, a substantial portion of facebook's users won't just move on to some other, more interesting corner of the web.


  1. Moko on 17 January 2009 at 12:31

    I couldn't agree more. But you might as well resign yourself to it, Gimpei: it's well documented that The Youth are using social networks as their first port of entry, doing all their chatting from there and favoring wall posts over email.

    The future looks pretty bleak for those of us who gave up on social networking sometime around Friendster-era.

  2. Jon on 17 January 2009 at 12:44

    I think there is something a bit more subtle going on - we used to view these social networks as parallel extensions of our offline networks, but, really, we've created oddly separate online networks with a very thin relationship to their offline counterpart. So the question is, when will this online network actually have value, what will that value be, and how will it relate to the real network.

  3. Gimpei on 17 January 2009 at 17:54

    Yes, but the youth are fickle and tire of things quickly. Mark my words, facebook is the next aol!

  4. Anonymous on 19 January 2009 at 15:12

    I can't see how Facebook can last the next 5 years: it already has an air of retro-kitsch to it -- like the pet rock or Pets.com. That said, it's not entirely useless. You can waste time on it as easily as you can on television: that's no small feat. It's a far handier way to keep track of distant, but still valued, acquaintances than email or address books. It also answers very effectively, "Dance to the Music of Time"-style, the question "What ever happened to X."

    And even if Facebook is the next AOL, what to make of someone in 1996 who says: "this AOL shit is useless and going out of style, i'm not going anywhere near the Internet until 2002."

    Personally, i think it's possible to have a useful opinion of Facebook without having heard of those nerdy nonsense apps. But since that seems to be the standard, I'll shut up now.

  5. Gimpei on 19 January 2009 at 20:36

    True I was being a bit snotty: he can have an interesting opinion of facebook even if he hasn't heard of videolan.

    That being said, he probably shouldn't be the resident Slate computer expert charged with writing articles, for example, on the top ten most useful apps.

    I still don't know why they've put him in this roll. Are the editors just clueless, like an editor I worked for who didn't know the definition of a "party animal" (I do not understand, is it an animal that goes to parties?). Or are the editors big time snobs who only commission people with "names" regardless of their qualifications for any given task?

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