Thursday, November 8, 2007

Social Networking Not For Me... I Prefer Email.

I started Myspace a few years ago. At first it was fun finding old friends from college, high school, even elementary school to be "Myspace friends", along with current friends and work colleagues. I was able to reconnect with a lot of people from my past that I otherwise would not have. I updated my profile with pictures, let everyone know my favorites musical artists, movies, books, and what I did for a living. There was a fun period of about six months where I would constantly be receiving email alerts that somebody new wanted to be my friend, or that somebody sent me a message to my Myspace inbox or left me a comment. At this point in time, the Myspace phenomenon was in full swing, and although I was a small part of it and by no means a fanatic user, I was definitely a part of it.

As time went by I started receiving fewer new friend invites and fewer comments. Additionally, I became disinterested in navigating my Myspace friend's pages to then look at their friends to find people I knew and wanted to invite to be my friend. I had built up about 100 or so friends at this point with no motivation to find more. Pretty soon, I started abandoning Myspace altogether, keeping my profile only so that people who wanted to look me up had the means to do so if they were resourceful enough to turn to Myspace for help.

Then, fairly recently Facebook emerged as the darling social networking site. It had been around for awhile but was only a fraction the size of Myspace. Drawing a parallel to a real life scenario everyone knows, Myspace is the famous high school quarterback that falls into obscurity after high school, while Facebook is the unpopular smart kid who grows up to win the Nobel Prize. As I had done with Myspace, I started adding friends to Facebook and looking around for people I knew. Many of my new 'Facebook friends' were people I was already friends with on Myspace who were following the trend of many social networkers (like me) and giving Facebook a whirl. Although Facebook has some cool features and user friendliness that Myspace doesn't, for my purposes they are essentially the same; glorified address books.

Now, only a few months into the adoption of Facebook as my social network of choice, I've already found that I have little to no use for it. Everyone I would want to check in with on either of these sites I have the email address of and would prefer to just email or call them. All the applications and geeky stuff the developers love Facebook for doesn't mean much to me since I'm not a programmer (I find that most of the applications are a waste of time anyway), and I'm not interested in updating my page to tell my friends what I'm currently doing or what my current state of mind is.

In conclusion, social networking just isn't for me. I feel the growth of Myspace and Facebook has been more about people signing up to try it out than about people actually becoming hardcore users. When I use the web, I want to sign in to as few places as possible. Google provides me with a one-stop-shop for email, photos, instant messaging, and news feeds, while social networking - although a neat toy - adds no value beyond Google to compel me to open up a new window and sign in. I will keep my Myspace and Facebook accounts for the reason that I gave above, but see myself checking in less and less as time goes by. And if a "cooler" social networking site emerges, I'll do everything I can to resist signing up.

My advice for Mr. Zuckerberg at Facebook would be to strike while the iron is hot and sell - which will soon become yesterday if he waits too long.

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