Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Facebook Fatigue

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to suffer from something. Call it Facebook Fatigue if you like. I'm getting really fed up with all the new applications people send me or the "send this on to at least 5 people or you will have bad luck or die" things.

My profile now takes ages to load - I'm really going to have to start getting rid of things on it.
Why can't they add a feature that will automatically ask if you want to remove an application if you haven't used it for a time?

And how many different walls do you need? I have The Wall, Fun Wall, Super Wall and Advanced Wall, and I'm really getting tired of it all.

But the chain letters are definitely the worst. I never, NEVER send these on, EVER. They're little better than spam, but with the difference that they're from your friends!

People go on about Facebook as if it's the greatest thing ever and it's going to rival Google soon. Quite honestly, I cannot see that happening. I was not an early adopter - I joined Facebook in August, but I am already losing patience with it. It's just becoming annoying.

It may well be that other people will begin using something else soon, but with Google's OpenSocial, almost all of the social networks will soon support similar applications, so no doubt they will all be full of Werewolves/Zombies/Vampires/What Fruit are You soon.

Is there an alternative? Maybe. Ning is a white-label service that allows you to build your own social network. Although it is participating in OpenSocial, the administrator of the network has control over it so presumably he/she can decide whether to allow applications or not. Maybe I should use Ning to build a social network that doesn't annoy the hell out of me. One that I can use to stay in touch with friends, and leave it at that.

I also like Orkut. If it was more popular in the UK, I'd use it over Facebook. It's integrated with Google Talk, so you can use it to chat with your friends, it's got a clean, simple interface the way Facebook used to be, all it needs is an equivalent to The Wall and it would be ideal for me. But it's part of OpenSocial, so in all likelihood it will still have all the same irritating applications in a few months time.

I've even got a book that tells you how to build your own social network using Ruby on Rails. That's tremendously appealing - I could have a built in blogging facility, IM and photosharing, and allow people to share links and things like that, but leave it simple and unobtrusive. I'd have to learn Ruby on Rails, but I want to do so anyway at some point.

Perhaps I'm just getting old, but I think we're likely to see a major backlash soon. If I'm getting irritated with it after only five months, others must be doing so as well. We've already had that business with Beacon, after which Facebook's star hasn't been burning quite so brightly as perhaps it once was. Maybe this year will see people move on to something else.

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