Thursday, 6 September 2007

The facebook phenomenon

For over a year I have been keeping this blog. I know some of my friends are reading it fairly regularly, because they either leave comments or else seem very knowing about what is going on in my life when I see them.

Despite this, not all that many of them keep blogs of their own. I have been lamenting this fact, because I rather enjoy reading the blogs of those who DO keep them. I have also been secretly wishing that more of my friends read this blog -- it's nice to have an audience, after all.

And THEN I meet with a whole bunch of my friends this evening to discover they have all joined 'facebook', and are all 'friends' of each other, and know everything there is to know about what's going on with everyone . . . only somehow I knew nothing about it.

What IS facebook, anyway?

It appears that it's an online social interaction thingy, a bit like MySpace. The latest thing in social networking.

Boy did I feel out of the loop this evening. It was like they'd all joined some club that excluded me. But WHEN did this happen?, I asked. They'd all joined, it appeared, sometime in the past month. Well then, HOW did it happen?, I asked, increasingly perturbed. (I do not like being out of the loop!)

And the remarkable thing was that they had not in fact all colluded to join together without letting me in on the secret. Each had been introduced to facebook completely independently -- by family, spouses, work colleagues, other friends. All in the past month.

The world is a funny place these days. Sometimes I think I spend my entire life in front of a computer screen and keyboard -- work, fiction writing, blogging . . . and now it looks like I'll have to join facebook and my social life will unfold in front of the computer as well.

But will online social networking ever take the place of real human-human interaction? The test of that will be if I start making friends over the net. To-date, I seem to be mainly interested in the blogs of people I already know. But it's only the next best thing to actually seeing them. And I suspect this will also be the case with facebook. If I need to join up so that I can stay in the loop of conversations like that which happened tonight (my jaw dragged along the floorboards for at least half an hour) then so be it. But somehow I have trouble imagining making friends via this forum.

But why has facebook suddenly and overpoweringly barged into the midst of my social group? Why now? Why have so few of them suuccumbed to blogging, only to show little reluctance when confronted with facebook? I have absolutely no idea at all. I have zero understanding of the facebook phenomenon at the moment. Maybe in a week or so I'll know more.


  1. It took me a long time to start blogging for several reasons - I didn't think my life was interesting enough to blog about, but also the thought of 'exposing' my life on the internet was all a bit too confronting. I guess that is why I chose to blog about science and recipes. However, one of my friends said that it does reflect who I am, so it seems that I am exposing myself, in my own way :)

  2. Personally I find blogging too intimidating - I don't write well enough and facebook doesn't require much brain-space

  3. I think it's a writing thing. A lot of my friends have a myspace and now are jumping over to facebook. I just don't get it - both have zero appeal to me. (Although I must admit to having very limited knowledge of facebook.) Anyway, I'm a blogger through and through! But a lot of friends saying blogging takes too much effort.

  4. I did it - I joined facebook. I've gotta say I still don't see the appeal. You should join too - at least I'd have a friend then.

  5. Yes, someone said to me the other day that MySpace is so passe now. Facebook is the place to be. I haven't really had a look at it. I guess I'm just getting old... (Not that my kids are into it either, actually.)

  6. Difference between Facebook and blogging is similar to writing post it notes versus books or articles. If you choose to write blogs then you automatically get judged on how well you write, your views, etc. While on Facebook it seems to be more about how many friends you have, and how many Pirates/Ninjas you can recruit. Facebook is very good for getting directions to the Polish deli in Vic Market.

    I apologise for not telling you about Facebook. I must admit, that it was primarily out of fear you may spend more time on Facebook rather than writing your blog. I'd much rather read your blog. (And I am very frustrated that currently I don't have enough time to update my blog).

  7. Hi guys - you all raise some good points. And, 'light fingers', thanks for the vote of confidence in my blog :-)

    Somehow I don't think there's too much chance of me being fully seduced by facebook away from the blog. I don't think one can stop a writer from writing!

    And I'm not all that interested in how many pirates I can recruit!