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, Last.fm and so forth). However, I want them to orbit the planet that is darrenbarefoot.com, not http://www.facebook.com/p/Darren_Barefoot/570290599.
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.