Help me understand the attraction to Facebook.

So I know there’s 500 million users; 5% of the world’s population. Thats a stunning number.

I have a Facebook account because my adolescent kids did. They had to ‘friend’ me and I could see what they were up to. They’re now in college.

But I find it tiresome, inane, and superficial. And…for the people who spends lots of time there, it must be displacing other activities.

I mean I have something around 65 FB friends. I know people who have hundreds. IRL, however, I have 3 or 4 close friends, another 12 or so good friends, and a few dozen more casual friends. From my life I have maybe a couple hundred friends I see/ don’t see, but remain a fond part of my past.

IRL, I have no desire to keep track of 65 friends (many I barely know), and slog through their daily attempts to find their “quip-du-jour.”

I don’t want to wade through inane questions about my likes/dislikes, year book photos, and [less than] witty banter.

It all seems like work. I get a sense that we’re becoming more and more isolated. That interacting with hundreds of people (tending their virtual farms) via a computer monitor is a lot less personal than grabbing up a couple friends and going to a coffee house or a ball game.

So Facebook lovers, what am I missing here?


That and the novelty never got the better of you. About 3 months ago, for some personal reasons (owing in part to a divorce) I kept off of facebook. Fast forward to now and I find myself checking in on it once a day just to see if I have any private messages and to see if anything is going on with my business’ facebook page. Beyond that, I honestly don’t even think about it. I found I truly don’t care about all the crap people post.

I think it was more interesting in my 20’s when all my friends were getting married, having kids, buying houses going on vacations etc. But now there all back to posting inane crap and I found I really don’t miss it that much.

If you don’t like it, that’s fine.

I find it useful for keeping in touch with friends who are not in my immediate sphere, but ones I’m still interested in. I have used it for business referrals. (I can honestly credit Facebook with bringing me at least $5K worth of business I would not have otherwise had.) I like it for casual party planning.

Sure, it’s no substitute for a phone call, but sometimes, it’s exactly the level of communication I want with acquaintances. I’m not a super active user (I don’t check it every day), but I think it’s an effective social networking tool and helps facilitate IRL hanging out with friends. There are a number of friends who’ve kind of dropped off the radar that have come back into my circle because of Facebook. It’s not a substitute for personal communication. It’s just another method of communication.

It’s a useful alternative to email for organising group events, and sharing photos after the event.

It lets you see how fat your old classmates have got.

Er, that’s about it really. There seem to be a lot of threads on here in this vein, as if the options are either ignore Facebook totally, or devote your every waking hour to it and play stupid farm games etc.

Most people I know are very much casual users - they check in maybe three or four times a week, rarely post stuff on their wall and don’t use any apps or games. It’s just a more useful alternative to email, really.

If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. But here’s why I like it, for me:

Getting in touch with old classmates. It began with a few old friends, and it rapidly grew when we decided to throw a retirement party for our high school choir director, complete with performances from his old students. We organized over 50 old students, from graduating classes in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s, and it was a thing of awesome. I don’t see how a multi-class activity like that from a large high school (my graduating class was over 600) would be logistically possible without something like Facebook. Finding people, song selections, rehearsal schedules, etc. were all handled via Facebook.

The thing I find interesting is that I hardly talk to my old friends - the people I was close to in high school - via Facebook, but I’ve become quite chatty with some of the people I only kinda sorta knew in high school. It’s nice to “meet” people, and Facebook, much like the Dope, is a tool to facilitate that.

Keeping moderately in touch with family. We’re not a close family, physically or emotionally speaking. We don’t call each other much, and it’s quite possible that, for example, I wouldn’t know my brother is expecting his first child, had I not read it on Facebook. You might ask why I don’t call instead. The easiest answer is…we just don’t have that much to say to each other. Our schedules don’t often line up. Phone conversations are awkward. But a quick check in on Facebook keeps us from ignoring each other completely, which is nice.

Keeping moderately in touch with “festival friends” I see in person only once a year. Again, it’s kind of funny to see myself having more conversations with some people via Facebook than in real life, but that’s what works for us.

I’m not trying to argue you out of finding Facebook “tiresome, inane and superficial,” mind you. But one could certainly make the same argument about the SDMB. Facebook, for me, is like the SDMB, except that I’ve actually met most of the people I communicate with on it in real life at some point.

I’m a member of Facebook so that I can keep track of our family members. I like to see the pictures they post about the trips they take, and that sort of stuff. It’s fun.

I have absolutely no interest in the farm stuff, or any of that type of ‘time-wasting’ activities. :frowning:

I have a FB account. It’s under a made up name and I have no friends on it. I only have it because occasionally someone will link to pictures or something and I have to log on to FB to see them. I imagine a good percentage of the 500 million accounts are like mine or have been long abandoned.

My Mom will sometimes try to have conversations with my about why do people like FB and how stupid it is. Even though I have no interest in it either, it’s always a frustrating conversation. It’s not like she doesn’t understand what it is and what it does. She even has an account so that she can see pictures of her grandkids.

For most people, it’s just an easy way to keep in touch with a bunch of acquaintances. For people who don’t care about keeping in touch with long ago co-workers and schoolmates or who only have a small number of friends with whom they have weekly phone calls or are avid email/letter writers, FB won’t be very useful. For everyone else, there is some utility.

I’ve never seen it, but my understanding is that it’s a good medium-distance mode of communication. It’s not as distant as a website or blog, which you have to remember to check every few days. It’s not as pushy as getting emails every day or so from old college roommates and the like. It’s in-between, letting you learn stuff about a lot of people easily and conveniently.

I’ve never met several of my young cousins but I know what they look like, what they do for fun, etc. because of facebook. I get to see pictures of my friend’s dog doing silly things or their newborn baby and they get to see pictures of my dog doing silly things and will eventually get to see pictures of my newborn baby. People who weren’t able to make it to my wedding got to see what I looked like in my dress. It’s that kind of thing that makes facebook valuable to me.

I am secretly chatty I suppose and I enjoy sharing links to interesting sites. I have developed new relationships that became more than just online acquaintances. I found support with some of the FB groups, especially the local groups for parents of children with autism. I’m going to a meet-up next weekend, my first ever because of Facebook. In real life I’m very shy but now that I’ve talked with these ladies online for several months I feel like I can explore some off-line friendships. It’s hard for older women to make new friends out there but through the internet and especially Facebook I was able to find like-minded folks to spend time with.

I’m also able to keep in touch with family across the country. I’ll never have the money to visit so it’s great to share videos or pics or stories about our lives with each other. I feel closer to my cousins now than I did when they lived in my city growing up.

I don’t really get in to the games but it seems like a lot of my friends love them. I don’t see it so much as a time waster than an activity one enjoys. Maybe having fun is a waste of time but it’s a nice way to relax with others in a safe environment.

This is it. I get to see pics of my latest niece, her mother doesn’t have to do more than upload a photo and we’re all in the know.

I don’t read all of my friend’s updates, not even close. Any applications, like Farmville, I block. I don’t do quizes or games. I just keep in touch with certain people and give updates on my life. Thre are about ten core people that I communicate with a few times a week, which is more then I’d do via phone if that were the other option.

My dad and mom share an account and post on us kids’ updates, on our walls, and will sometimes post their own status. I love having them on there more involved in my life because I hardlyget to see them.

I greatly dislike the telephone, and so used to lose touch with the people I care about. With Facebook, we can check in without interrupting each others’ day. I have placed a couple of friends on “ignore” when the become “Ap Happy” (I don’t care who needs what on their vuirtual farm) or insist upon posting Glurges or Religious minutiae.

But I heard from most of my third grade class, and a Norwegian boyfriend from my twenties. I would never have found these people or known that they remembered me fondly without Facebook. Likewise about 20% of the people at our family reunion found out about it through the Facebook grapevine.

It’s not about deep, satisfying interaction, and I suspect those who spend too much time there are trying to use it that way. It’s just a very conveninet way to touch base and share a giggle. In five minutes each morning I can check in and know whether anything important is happening for most of the people I care about. It would take hours on the phone to check in on each of them.

I don’t have it yet because, like the op, I have no interest in feeding it. I certainly have no desire to follow anyone’s random thoughts and postings.

I would have signed up for it already if it were not for a number of things. First, I don’t want to invest the time figuring out how to bend it to my needs. Second, I’m really turned off by it’s big brother attitude. I find it creepy that they offer the ability to identify people in a picture. God knows what else they’re doing behind the scenes. I also don’t like the level of control. I suppose I want to use it like my own personal web site but it seems limited.

I’d like to be able to access other people’s facebook when they post pictures. I can see where it is a unique method of keeping track of people without necessarily using it to communicate with them (except maybe for special events). I have zero interest in posting to other walls or allowing people to post on mine.

The #1 thing I hear is “I can talk to old friends from high school” which means zero to me. I don’t know why I would suddenly like to hear from them when I have not heard anything in 25 years.

I have cousins across the country, and one aunt still alive. None of us are good with letter writing, and we went many years with nothing more than Christmas cards. It’s a way to keep in touch with each other and to see pictures of each other’s families. I am Facebook-friends with acquaintances, of course, many of whom are the “I had Cheerios for breakfast” or “now I’m going to read the newspaper” posters, but I just block their feeds. Facebook is what you make it.

I should add: I come from a military family. Half the time I don’t even have an address or phone number for my cousins, nor does anybody else. This way we know where to find each other.

That’s one thing I noticed about a lot of my high school classmates. Some of them were pretty attractive back in the day.

What I hate most about Facebook (other than its nonintuitive interface and the difficulty of adjusting all your privacy settings) is all the fucking baby pictures people put up. Some people even have a picture of their baby as their profile picture. I don’t give a shit what your baby looks like; I just want to see what YOU look like. Babies all look alike and they’re all ugly. Somebody needs to invent an application that blacks out babies’ faces.

Two years ago my wife insisted I get a FB account. I did, and since then I have logged in exactly four times.

Since my wife’s family lives in Indonesia and Holland, Facebook is a really useful way of communicating amongst all of her relatives and old friends. The open, public nature is an asset for her needs.

For me, the openness of FB bothers me. I am a very private person, and prefer phone calls or emails. I don’t want to share my life with the world.

My kids are on FB. They’re in their 40’s and it’s fun to see their comments to each other. They don’t post anything really personal though, and neither do I. I’m also enjoying stuff from the out-of-state kids and grandkids. It’s way easier than individual e-mails.

I’m getting a real kick out of two groups – my high school class, and a large group from the last place I worked. The plant was shut down and moved to Mexico. I’m seeing photos of the plant being dismantled, and hearing about who went back to school, who left the state to find work, etc. (And I’m using it to try and sell the Harley.)

I could live without it, easily, but it has its uses.