This month marks the fifth birthday of largest social network on the planet, Facebook. What started as a social experiment in Mark Zuckerberg's dorm room at Harvard has grown to capture over 150 million users. And they come from all walks. Time Magazine's tech writer, Lev Grossman makes a (humorous) argument as to why Facebook is for Old Fogies. Give it a look. It's pretty clever.
But I felt the burning desire to offer an- as pithy as I get- response. And so, here are my
10 Reasons Why Facebook Is Not For Old Fogies, Yet:
1) The premise that Facebook is about finding people that you've lost track of is wrong. Facebook offers the most robust experience when used to mimic your real-life social networks. It enables users to plan and discuss events before and after they occur. Rekindling old flames and friendships is only a peripheral benefit (using that term quite loosely). If you want to augment an online yearbook, you have better options.
2) Facebook hardly forces it's users to confront "petty slights" from the past. I may accept the friend request from someone from high school, regardless of my previous impression of them. If it's a welcome surprise, I'll follow up- engage and share with them. If not, I'll probably just accept the request and leave them be. I'm not passing by their locker everyday. I'm simply filing away one method of contact. You never know who might be in a position to assist you one day.
3) Facebook's granular permission system means I can drink all the beer I want- in front of the local equivalent of the paparazzi if I see fit- and only those I choose to share it with will see. So if fear of public embarrassment is all that's holding you back, then drink up, "Pa". But I would hope your professional and familial responsibilities are the real reason you don't find yourself binging on the Jungle Juice.
4) Wow. You don't want to work with people "our age". It's that fear of technological and cultural shifts- and those who know how to leverage them- that put our generation in the best possible position to excel as this recession lifts. Now, if you could pair your vast experience with a demonstrated willingness to learn and adapt...
5) We can agree on that one. The news feed is the best "People Watching" since the food court at the mall circa 1990. Or your malt shop, some thirty years earlier. So I hear...
8) Remembering email addresses? Thanks to auto-complete, I don't believe I've typed a full email address in over two years. Sure, it's nice have all your contacts in one place. But until open-source formats allow us to tie all of our networks together, you're going to have to take a little responsibility.
9) We don't actually understand Twitter either. Really. We think we do, and then someone sends us a post that uses our account for click-jacking. But at least we continue to experiment.
10) You can't take credit for ruining Twilight. Unless you're a screenwriter, producer, or actor in Hollywood. (I never read the book or saw the movie. And thanks to the trailers- and the bumper stickers- I never will.) Facebook is our lawn. And your limited vision means that while you're not really in the way, you'll never get to enjoy the full extent of it's possibilities. We have a word for that: FAIL.