Planet Facebook

For the past couple of months, everybody’s been remarking on the crazy adoption of Facebook. It’s like all those MySpace kids graduated from high school, went off to college, and out-grew the social network that looks like their bedroom.

Out of a growing sense of obligation, I joined Facebook a couple of weeks ago (my meagre profile). Since then, I’ve received about 30 friend requests from people who found me. What surprised me about these was that a decent portion of them weren’t necessarily Web 2.0, alpha Web users, drinking-the-Koolaid folks. Some of them are just regular people using a tool they apparently like.

I’d deferred those requests until tonight, which was a mistake. There’s no apparent way to approve friends in bulk (what an odd phrase). You have to affirm each request one at a time.

Here’s the difficulty I have with all these generic social networks. I don’t want them to be my central point of presence–that’s what I’ve got this site for. I’m happy to have a network of loosely-joined small pieces (Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, and so forth). However, I want them to orbit the planet that is, not

Essentially, I want sites like Facebook to be big detour signs pointing to this site. That’s obviously not what the makers of Facebook intended, so it’s a bit tricky.

Regardless, mine is an outlying use case. Most Facebook users probably want it to be their central node of web presence or (an awkward but apt phrase) ‘digital lifestyle aggregator’.

Alex has some more extensive and insightful things to say about the social networking tool du jour.


  1. I’m in the same boat as you. I signed up for Facebook about a month ago and ended up finding a bunch of people that I went to high school with. I try to redirect them to my blog ( by mentioning it in my profile and/or when they write on “my wall”.

  2. It’s tricky for sure. I have a lot of different online presences as well (flickr, youtube, my blog, etc), and like you I’d like to keep my blog the central point. But the reality is, the world seems to be moving slowly away from that. I know alot of my readers view most of my entries in RSS readers, skipping the site entirely. Facebook and other websites just add to this problem.

  3. I made a profile for myself a couple of months ago to join a group for an indie magazine and forgot about it until a couple of days ago and I started getting invites. Interest in it certainly has seemed to spike.

    I actually like it in terms of the interface which is decent. I like this as a repository of ‘what’s up’, photos, updates. I like the feed that comes in from your friends’ accounts on the front page, which is useful for my interests. I work at a post-secondary institution where we employ a number of students every year and while I haven’t in the past kept in touch (so many of them!) I always wonder what has happened to so & so after graduation? So I’ve started setting up contacts with them. My co-worker is also using it for organizing his baseball team events and he says it works quite well.

    (B.T.W. for those using facebook you can put a feed from your blog to your facebook account just to get everything in one spot).

  4. I agree with you, it would be cooler if all these sites just worked nicely with my own website. On the other hand, there’s no reason you can use them as an entry point to your site. Almost all of them (facebook included) let you include links on your profile.

  5. Facebook does allow you to import your blog’s RSS feed, into their “notes” section. I like that feature. I wish they would add a way to import photos through a flickr feed too.

  6. I know what you mean about wanting your web presence to surround my webpage/blog rather than most people knowing of it through Facebook. At least you can show your feed on your Facebook but it seems to be “Facebook-ifying” my blog and a lot of general Facebook users might be introduced to RSS in the context of Facebook. Conceptually, it saddens me. I wish an application like Redhat’s Mugshot would include more sites (that I use)… and that more people would use it!

  7. I did the same: signed up for Facebook mostly out of curiosity. I found some people, blah blah blah. I import my blog posts (via RSS), which show up as “Notes” in my Facebook.

    That’s cool. You could argue that it brings my blog posts to a whole other readership (many of my Facebook contacts are not people with blogs, and they are not, generally speaking, blog readers).

    Interestingly, Facebook lets people comment on notes. Unfortunately, comments posted on the blog do not appear in Facebook, and comments posted in Facebook do not appear on the blog.

    So now I have the situation where commenting is breaking out in two locations. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad — I’d prefer to keep the conversation in one place (the blog) but I’m happy to open up to a new audience.

  8. I’ve also just gotten into the Facebook thing, mostly because I just graduated from a program and it’s a good way to keep up with my classmates.

    I really like the notes feature that allows me to import my blog into the facebook profile, which makes it easy for my friends to find. Like others, I wish Facebook would allow you to import more than one feed… like a blog, Flickr, 30Boxes etc.

    It’s an interesting way to keep in touch, quite different from blogging.

  9. I’m sitting out for now, until either everyone moves to next year or Facebook shows real staying power. I’ve been bitten too often by these things. (It took me more than a year to get on Flickr, and I still don’t use or Twitter or LinkedIn.)

  10. I am with you on wanting everything to point to your domain. I would love to have everything point to but it’s hard when everyone I know is using Facebook. You have to use it, or you’ll be disconnected.


  11. With these Web 2.0 sites, it’s a huge competition on who can stay in the lead and live on the edge. Facebook should already be thinking about how people can share information on Facebook elsewhere, rather than what they can share on Facebook. My pet peeve with Facebook is that people use it like they use email or instant messaging.

  12. I’ll put this here hoping you find it: an essay suggesting that the Facebook vs. MySpace crowds are becoming class-based (acknowledging the difficulty of defining socio-economic classes in the US).

    I haven’t been on either “network,” but it makes sense to me that socio-economic divides will continue in the digital world. Or rather, I don’t expect them to go away just because of the techno.

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