Yesterday the Toronto Star published a story about Facebook Fatigue.
Apparently, the web’s a buzz after a web report showed a declining number of people logging on to the site in the UK. The site seems to be losing traction with older users, and it’s growth is slowing as most people between 18-34 already have an account. It’s no secret that among Gen Y Facebook is considered an important if not essential communication tool. So what’s going on?
I think the issue lies in the fact that people are using the site in a way that it was never meant to be used. Facebook is an address book. No more, no less. It’s an easy way to keep in touch with an extended network of contacts, acquaintances and old school mates. It’s the lazy person’s networking tool and it’s meant to be quick and done at-a-glance.
It’s the onslaught of third party applications that really throw a wrench in things. They pull you to spend hours upon hours on the site. They can become quite addictive and once you start sliding down that slippery slope there’s really no end to the amount of time you can waste.
I, for one, despise third party applications. I find they clutter up the once simple and elegant profile page and make it look like, well…a mySpace page. That’s to say…tacky and visually unappetizing. And boy are they time consuming. So and So just bit you. So and so wants to know if you’re alike. And on and on.
I still check the site on a daily basis just to read the newsfeed see what’s new in my network and maybe shoot a message to a few friends. I’ve disabled my wall since I’ve added business contacts and colleagues and prefer have a bit more control over who sees what. (I know you can choose “limited profile” but to be honest, once you put something on your wall, you never really know who’s going to end up reading it.)
Anyway, I guess my point is of course you’re going to get overwhelmed if you’ve spent the last 8 days straight “biting” people on your list and filling out quiz after quiz. I don’t think Facebook is going anywhere soon. At least not until Google releases it’s social networking site alternative that complies with OpenSocial standards and everyone jumps ship. (Just a theory)
So if you’re Facebook fatigued, odds are you’re using it the wrong way. Here are some tips on using Facebook:
4 TIPS FOR USING FACEBOOK
1) Don’t post on your own wall. When someone posts a message on your wall, respond on THEIR wall. Don’t write me arguing, I didn’t make this particular rule.
2) Don’t send people endless application invites. Trust me, if we see you using a cool application we’ll find it and install it. No need to be an Application Evangelist. It’s annoying.
3) Poke with moderation. I know “poke wars” were all the rage, but I’m pretty sure everyone’s over it. A poke every now and then is fine. Poking your entire contact list every single day is a step on the path to getting blocked.
4) Don’t upload embarrassing pictures of your friends (or yourself). It might seem funny now, but employers are using Facebook as a reference and that picture (especially if it’s tagged) could potentially cost your friend a job. Don’t believe me? Just ask Kevin Colvin.
You See, Kevin up there? Yeah, last November, Valleywag reported that he wrote his boss at Anglo Irish Bank, an email claiming he had a family emergency. Turns out he wanted to go to Halloween party. Someone he worked with spotted a picture on Facebook and sent it along to Kevin’s boss who was not amused. He replied to Kevin and BCC’d the entire office. Needless to say, he doesn’t work there anymore.
Just follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to having a pleasant Facebook experience.