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Re: <nettime> Facebook's perfec spam laboratory.
¡ gonzo ! on Thu, 17 Jan 2013 19:58:11 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Facebook's perfec spam laboratory.

> I'm not on Facebook in any real or active form, so I can't tell you
> my impression. Perhaps Keith or Ted, those who do use it, can.

I am, many of us are I am sure, though I've been on since it was
college-only. Back then the rule was, more or less, that if you
hadn't met face-to-face, you weren't going to get friended. It was
a college/professional network, and quickly replaced the clunky +
increasingly disfunctional Friendster.

This policy changed over the years, and soon I was collecting friends
like lint.

But then the baby pics kept coming in, I lost track of who really
mattered, and the Newsfeed became an overwhelming glut of Farmville,
cat photos, more baby pics, baby diaper pics (WTF!?), and inane
utterings. So, over the past year I have been axing "friends," cutting
it down from what was 1700 to 700. My goal is 500.

There are some rules to this too --- if you replace your profile shot
with that of your baby, you're GONE.

When you remove a friend, they still say subscribed to your public
posts, kind of like Twitter. This is handy, as people can subscribe to
you, rather than befriend you. So it's a bit of a platform if you want
it, while keeping something of the core conversation private (well,
private lite, given that FB reads it all).

As a semi-disfunctional media artist / writer, I receive "friend"
requests from what are undoubtedly interesting artist + writer +
creative types, but I don't know them and they don't know me, and I no
longer think FB is the place for that. If someone messages me, and we
start writing to each other, sure, online friendships are possible.
But most of the time I write new "friends" and they never reply back.
So I don't add them. I don't need to know everyone. I don't feel the
drive to increase these numbers. I feel the opposite drive, in fact:
to whittle them down, see how low I can go.

With around ~700 friends --- many of whom I have known for years,
many very, very well --- I appreciate the tight-knit exchanges and
discussions on posts. There is some substantial debate going on
through my Newsfeed on good issues that are local to where I live. My
Events listings are becoming relevant and somewhat manageable again. I
post no pics.

So there's many ways to engage with FB. For my community of friends,
many of whom are ex-ravers and with whom I was very active with on
artistic projects and political movements 10 years ago, FB is the
sole means of communication among us. By whittling down my friends,
it's become more like a mailing list. The multimedia aspect makes it

By contrast, my blog and blogging in general has died; the walled
garden is now a comfortable prison, I guess.

A side observation --- a millenial friend of mine (he's in his mid
20s) is not on Facebook. He recently asked me, "Do people still use
that?". That blew my mind. Investors take note. He is very active on
Twitter, however, and uses it for conversations in a way which I have
not yet managed to get going at the same level, mainly because I am
continually frustrated by 140 chars.

Point being, Facebook is already uncool with certain generations.
With highschoolers it is undoubtedly love/hate. After being harassed
digitally off the playground, one can easily imagine a FB backlash, as
the young'uns seek to disconnect from their hate circles.

In short, it is entirely possible that FB will fizzle out in the end.
Nothing stays cool forever.

best / tobias.

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