Facebook - what is it good for?

In Facebook, Ross Gardler asks:

What features of Facebook make you come back day after day?

The interesting thing about Facebook for me is to see how far I am dragged into using it by the groundswell of public enthusiasm before the next, more compelling thing comes along and we find this closed system is no use anymore. A bit acerbic perhaps. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m using Facebook in an experimental way, and one prerequisite for a useful experiment would seem to be to use it regularly. So, what can I find in Facebook to motivate me to bother logging in?

  • finding out what ex colleagues are up to. I joined Facebook while working in London and the networks of people associated with that former life are busier than the networks associated with my current life.
  • discovering small snippets of things I didn’t know about colleagues/friends/acquaintances. For example, I see that Pete Johnston lists the work of Augustus Pablo among his favourite music - I’m a fan, and might now compare notes with Pete when I next see him in the pub (rather than making disparaging remarks about Sunderland FC’s lovely manager).
  • former colleagues have been uploading photos of people in The George pub (Holloway, North London) as part of the activities of a Facebook group called “The George Appreciation Society” - it’s been fun remembering people I haven’t seen for years.
  • discussions about Facebook…. well, this is where most of the discussion takes place :-)

Slim pickings really…. all quite trivial, but fun (for me) nonetheless. So far I haven’t used Facebook to do anything useful - it’s more of a distraction than anything else. Several people have talked about using Facebook as a new web-portal - the one-stop-shop interface into various other systems and information flows. I’ve already installed the embeddable Twitter application for example. But this is hardly compelling. I would love to be able to connect this post to Ross’s question in Facebook in much the way that we are accustomed to doing in the blogosphere, but the closed nature of Facebook makes this a less than ideal arrangement. I guess if you want to join in the conversation, then you already have a Facebook account and can find Ross in Facebook and answer the question there. In the meantime, I will post the URL to this post as my answer to Ross’s question in Facebook - my blog can be freely accessed from within Facebook of course …. (Note that I’ve deliberately not linked to people’s Facebook profile pages because they are not accessible without a Facebook account).



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