It is a well-documented fact amongst those that know me that I generally don’t tolerate pointless bleating. And while there is the usual white noise that suffuses the open-plan offices and braai lapas, nothing has hit quite an unnecessary pitch like the petulant whining that comes with each change of a social network. One of the most annoying First World problems of 2011, I reckon.
I have had my Facebook account for six years now. That’s longer than most of the houses I’ve stayed in, longer than the time I spent in university. It has been through so many changes as to barely resemble the original layout. And I’m still using it, and so are 880 million other people. And while Google Plus is…nice, I suppose, it doesn’t have everyone there. It was hard enough getting my family to understand Facebook, never mind porting them over to Google Plus. (Which does make Facebook your mom’s network.) Most people aren’t going to bother with the move. It has stagnated mostly, except for the small surge of people that joined it when it was open to all a few days ago. (Their excitement was cute.) Having been there since day one courtesy of tech guru Tally, I can say that I have mostly lost interest. Its more of a bizarre mix of Tumblr, Twitter and Flickr. There really isn’t as much intensely personal overshare as Facebook and the circles idea was great. But as for the hangouts…well, I don’t have the bandwidth or inclination. At the end of the day, its not a Facebook killer. Maybe that isn’t what it should be trying to be.
For some, it all boils down to fandoms, and people pledging alliances to things as indifferent to their love as Google, Facebook and Apple. Friend SJ said that he’d rather Google take over the world than Facebook and Apple, but considering that all Google does well is email and search engines, they really aren’t that close to any kind of domination. After the failure of Buzz, Wave and the sputtering of Google Plus, maybe they should just stick to the stuff they do really, really well: making the Internet an easier place to be. And paying for YouTube, that is quite charming of them. I have made my arguments for Apple before, and Facebook is an interesting phenomenon in that it really is the best way to share each other’s lives. With the new subscriptions and lists, its much easier to squeeze out the info I want from the people I like while adding the people I’m not really allowed to defriend to the Restricted list. I am aware of the security issues, but we have to make peace that everyone knows where you are. I’m not so sure why everyone gets upset about security on the net, but invite pizza delivery guys to their houses or readily put their residential address on any form they are asked to sign.
Ultimately, if the Facebook changes bug everyone so much, then just use it less. There’s a beautiful world outside and it doesn’t need a news feed.