Facebook, one has to admit is a great time sink. Given how much you have to do to just manage your Facebook life, it is hardly a surprise; some organizations are taking a draconian approach to them. Jason Calacanis has declared Facebook bankruptcy. What is prompting such extreme reactions?
Bankruptcies often come as a result of excess and poor management. That sadly seems to be the case, for those who are getting fed up with Facebook. And the truth of the matter is that we are to blame.
We are not using the privacy settings of Facebook, and are too polite to say no to invitations from people who want to friend us. No wonder, the social environment is starting to resemble a crowded nightclub. (You go to clubs to be seen, not talk.)
However, if you treat Facebook more like a dinner gathering, inviting only the closest friends and family, it can be a rather efficient way of staying in touch.
What we need is something more intimate, more private. It’s not about the number of friends, but it’s about connection. (My previous post about Privacy also touches on some of these issues.)
Lets put it another way: do you go hang with hundreds of people, accept every invitation for coffee or try out everything that is new in your real world? Do you invite everyone you meet to your house for dinner? So why would you do that in Facebook?
The second problem is that we are treating Facebook as a tool for communication (my inbox on FB is filled with invites for conferences and other junk, just like my email inbox) when we should be treating it as a tool for real time interactions. RTI tools are those that save time and yet let us remain connected to those who matter the most.
Facebook if used properly, in one quick glance can tells us what our friends are doing, new photos, who has broken up, and who needs a little wink and a smile. Instead we are spending time declining invitations from random strangers, or trying to deal with events that we are unlikely to attend anyway.
In the euphoria around Facebook, many of us (and perhaps Mark Zuckerberg as well) forgot the real premise (and promise) of Facebook. In their overarching ambition to become a Microsoft like entity, Zuckerberg & Co. forgot that what makes them great is not the apps, but the ability to create a private, fun, controlled and easy to use environment. Then bankruptcy or bans won’t even be an issue.
Tip: The best way to ensure the fidelity of your social network is by taking a look at the names and numbers in your mobile phone’s address book. It kind of tells you who matters the most to you!