The Facebook phenomenon

I’ve not really got into the social networking thing. Sure – I’ve been on MySpace a bit, but only ever to listen to new bands. There always seemed to be far too many 14-year-olds using it to actually be worth signing up to.

But over the last couple of weeks it feels like another site has suddenly reached critical mass: Facebook. Loads of my friends have been talking about it – even in the pub, when they should be talking about football, music or making rubbish jokes. And it seems like they’ve all been using it.

I signed up yesterday. It’s a bit of a MySpace for grownups. You can tell people what you’re up to, share photos, and generally exchange banter and gossip. I can see why some of my friends say it’s addictive.

It’s all about building networks. You start by adding the people you know as friends on Facebook. It’s really easy, because the website can read your Hotmail / Yahoo / Gmail address book and automatically add anyone in that to your list of friends.

Be careful – I nearly emailed 107 contacts from my Google address book, including former and current colleagues and clients. Could be embarrassing if all you meant to do was contact a few selected people.

Then you can see their friends, and add them to your friends list, and so on. I haven’t quite worked out the etiquette yet, but it’s clear that you don’t have to have met in person to be friends on Facebook.

It’ll put you in touch with former colleagues, schoolmates and all sorts. Which is fine if you want to talk to them all. I just can’t help thinking that sometimes you lose touch with people for a reason. And it’s a pretty open network – so I’d definitely be concerned about making too much personal information too public.

Having said that, I’ve hardly scratched the surface. I’ll stick with it and report back. My plan is to stay fairly low-key for the next week or so and see what happens. Then I might go crazy adding friends, just because I want to be popular.

One response to “The Facebook phenomenon”

  1. Matt says:

    I can now fully understand the appeal of Facebook. It’s quicker and more user-friendly than Live Spaces, in my opinion, and MySpace is far too ugly. Great fun.

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