An Old Fogey's take on Facebook, et. al.: WTF!!!???

Could someone please explain (in simple, easily-understood-by-old-fart terms), the appeal of Facebook and other “social networking” sites?
Why would I want to post my thoughts, beliefs, opinions somewhere they can be read and commented on by the entire frikkin’ world?
I am not so egotistical as to think my writings will be sought after.
And just how do I decide that some bozo I have never met is now a “friend”? What happened to real people meeting other real people and THEN deciding if they did or did not want the other as a friend.
News Flash: People have bodies - you can actually see them! Most can actually also speak! You don’t need a keyboard!
And, as late as 2010 - is there anyone over the age of 10 who does not realize that YOU HAVE ABOLUTELY NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY on the web!?
To post your real name, address. and friggin’ picture is about as foolish as you can be.
So why do so many people choose to spend their lives “chatting” with a keyboard instead of gathering real people together?
For shut-ins, the web is a godsend. For able-bodied folks, why do you actually prefer exchanging bitstreams to actual life?
I fear the day when some geek figures out a way to exchange bodily fluids over the web. That’s the king of scenario that makes me absolutely delighted I’ll be dead before it happens…

I have been able to reconnect with at least half a dozen people from all over the US that, ordinarily, I would never have been able to reconnect with ever again. To me, FaceBook is worth that alone. These people have become unbelievably important to me. Some of them, I had been searching for for years, to no avail. I could never have found them without FB. It’s what you want it to be. I love being able to see photos of folks I don’t get to see very often. It’s saved me many lonely nights when I’m awake and someone else is online and available to “chat.” Like anything, it can be abused or used “incorrectly,” I guess. I happened to join when I was and continue to be going through some tough times and I’d be lost without it.

I moved to England and miss my family and now I have 20 to 30 family as my friends. I can see what they’re doing, I can message them when necessary, I now have pictures of many people I haven’t seen in years. I just spent about an hour talking to one of my cousins who I haven’t seen in 20 years. I can keep track of a couple of my nieces that my whole family is worried about because they post almost every day.

I also found a friend I used to hang out and drink with in college who moved back to the Netherlands - would I have ever talked to her again without Facebook? Probably not. I also get to catch up with people in high school who were cool then and even neater now. We all moved away, and it’s impossible after a while to keep up with addresses.

For someone in my situation it’s wonderful - I’m not nearly as homesick anymore. I actually spend more time talking to my extended family now!

You’re right. There’s no point to facebook at all. We’re deluding ourselves that facebook could be a tool to reconnect with past friends and link up with new ones, a way to organize parties and get-togethers, touch base on important and frivolous matters or spend a few chill minutes at the end of the day playing scrabble. Clearly our time would be better served watching reruns of Columbo, driving slowly in the left lane, and berating cashiers at the supermarket because they moved the metamucil again.

As for the privacy angle, well, I try to scrutinize as my settings as to make them most appropriate, but at the end of the day I don’t care so much as to who has my info. I hold myself accountable for all my actions, and I don’t feel that my private info is worth the devil’s fart in the grand scheme of things.

Friends and relatives don’t all live in the same nieghborhood anymore.

I personally only interact with people that I know already.

Like you, I prefer to be with friends and relatives in person, but since that is not always possible, it is nice to see pics and videos during the inbetween times. I also agree to a certain extent that some people take it a bit too far with thier overly long, corny, poorly written explanations of their search for the perfect wedding dress or whatever, but like everything else on the internet, I don’t have to read it.

Wow, you really missed 2005. You woulda been a hit then.

I have friends and family spread across the US from coast to coast and north to south. I see many of them in person maybe once every 5-10 years unless someone dies sooner. Baby pictures, wedding pictures, events in our lives, get shared almost immediately with FB. Without it, what, email tons of picures that not everyone will be able to download? Snail mail the pics to everyone at great expense?

Facebook and other social networks are a way to immediatly share with people you care about in a way that wasn’t available even 10 years ago.

FB has privacy settings and you don’t have to have zillions of friends. You can just have 1 if you want.

And this will really blow your mind: I posted this from my phone.

If you really want to stay anonymous, you can FB with an alias! I’ve done that so old high school people can’t find me since I moved from myspace.

As has been said, it can be a source for tracking people you haven’t been in contact with for a while.

To that extent it can be valuable, but all the crap that goes with it- such as people posting every time they have a shower makes me wonder whether it is worth it. Way over rated.

My mum’s 72 and has finally joined facebook. She became intrigued when I said I was in contact with some childhood friends and asked how they were. When I said I really don’t know what they’re up to but one has a lovely rabbit and another a new motorbike she joined. I like the frivolity of it but I’ve limited it to mostly family and family type friends. These people would never post racist shit or political crap (at least not the sort I don’t agree with) - that’s why we’re friends.

My wife and I are both 63 and use FB to keep track of what our families are up to. Their generation just doesn’t use the telephone to communicate, preferring to use text instead. We can either bitch about it and never hear from them, or we can join FB and at least have some sort of contact.

I’ve used Facebook to reconnect with friends who are real people and gathering them together at my house. Shocking but true.

I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick a bit here. Most people’s Facebook updates aren’t visible to the whole world, most people have real life friendships or acquaintances with their Facebook friends, and only one person on my friends list includes her address, and even then it’s partial.

Yes, someone could take your photo, copy it and send it off somewhere else, but that’s about the limit of your vulnerability. (Well, unless you make everything public and put up tons of personal details and stuff about your sex life - but you don’t have to do that, and most people don’t).

It’s not the be-all and end-all of social interaction - it’s just one of a suite of ways of communicating with people. FWIW, since you’re a member on here, you clearly aren’t actually that averse to sharing your opinions with strangers.

Does it amuse anyone else that an anti-Facebook anti-Internet screed has a txtspk abbreviation in the thread title?

Just me, then?

Nope, me too. :smiley:

Some of the worst abusers of text speak that I know are people in their fifties or above.

Don’t forget joining the Jessica Fletcher fan club on Prodigy.

As a younger person (early 20s), I must understand you about as well as you understand me.

Well, why did you just post your opinions on this message board for the entire world to read and comment on? Wouldn’t it be basically the same idea with Facebook? :confused:

But this concept of privacy is a very culturally relative thing, isn’t it? So I suppose I can grasp a statement like “the web isn’t private,” but I have difficultly relating to your actual concern or desire here. Honestly, all things considered, I probably have more “privacy” now than most humans who have ever lived. I don’t know the names or anything at all about any of my nearest neighbours in this apartment complex. The same for many people who work around here and interact with me nearly every day, or the vast majority of people who have been my classmates in university. I’m just too alienated from people as it is to care about having even more privacy from them.

Why? People use their real names and/or faces in offline situations every day, no one thinks that is foolish.

Do you think all books should be written under pseudonyms? Should newspapers avoid using anyone’s actual name or image? Should I start carrying a fake ID instead of my real one? Should I wear a disguise every time I go out? And what about that thing your generation had called the phone book? Nothing but the names, addresses and phone numbers of nearly everyone in town! (People I know generally don’t have their address listed in Facebook, btw).

I don’t. It’s not that great of a substitute.

I guess we’re not that different, because I would prefer real gatherings too. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen much. I’m able-bodied enough, but not nearly of able mind, I guess. I have no idea how it would be socially acceptable to approach people in the real world and become friends with them. There are billions of people walking around out there, so what kind of non-creepy motivation would I have for trying to initiate socialization with any particular one? Online socializing, although it kind of sucks, is easier precisely because you can see if you have a common interest with someone before you ever interact with them, so you can use that as an “excuse” to get to know someone who seems interesting.

Another Old Fogey here saying I don’t find Facebook appealing or have a page.

The wife has one, though.

The ease with which Facebook lets you stay in contact over long distances makes me wonder what effects it will have in the coming years sociologically speaking. For example when I moved a way from home and went to college I, like so many others, had a chance to “reinvent” myself and the same was true after college ended because it was so easy to let go of past relationships. This wans’t a conscious decision on my part, at least not fully, it was just life being life.

Today with Facebook and other tools it would be so easy to stay in contact with the life they left behind, I could see people losing out on new experiences and growth they otherwise may have experienced and end up being defined (and defining themselves) as the person they were in their teens because they don’t need or don’t want to let those things go and now they don’t really have to.

I use Facebook and have no problems with it but it will be interesting to see what effect it has.

I am more interested in using FB to keep up with family. Growing up we were all very close but everyone is spread out all over the country now. It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever see some of them in person. Some I only see at funerals. On FB we can be silly and have fun and send pictures to each other all at once.

I recognize the danger though. My brother had a stalker who used FB to find out where he worked (in a school), then called and made threats to the school and told all his old friends that my brother did something to his daughter, whom my brother has never even met.

My brother still has Facebook but we all learned to set it all to private.