Monday, August 31, 2009

Do You Care that People are Leaving Facebook?

I was reading a New York Times article that annoyed me about a female author in England who's been skewered because she wrote about her son's drug addiction when I saw this headline, "Facebook Exodus." If folks are leaving Facebook in droves, then that would be news, but this article says it's not droves but a relative few:
The exodus is not evident from the site’s overall numbers. According to comScore, Facebook attracted 87.7 million unique visitors in the United States in July. But while people are still joining Facebook and compulsively visiting the site, a small but noticeable group are fleeing — some of them ostentatiously. (NYT)
The article then goes on to talk about disgruntled members who are leaving the site, one whose mother said (and now he agrees), "Facebook is the devil."

I'm a member of Facebook and became one out of necessity, plodding along with irregular visits. So, I'm not a Facebook junkie. I'm not a raving fan and use the site like a business networking tool. Therefore, my criticism of this article is not an attempt to defend the social networking site nor deny Facebook phobia or rebuke hatred for the site. Nevertheless, I wonder why a major newspaper even published an article that in essence says only that some people joined this site and then left it.

How is that news? People leave sites all the time. People also join sites, click a few links, never return, and never bother to close their accounts.

The article sort of sounds like a newspaper is gossiping about the troubles of a social networking website that competes, in some ways, for the same eyeballs. It has all the nitpickiness and drama of gossip too, like tales of stalking with whispers of rivalries, namely Twitter vs. Facebook.

Anyway, it sounds to me like some of the people who say they are fleeing FB put their faith for making friends in membership on a website while others, those who say their privacy's been invaded, sound like folks ignorant about online life in general. Furthermore, the types of bad experiences some have had on Facebook can't be escaped in life. Driven by human nature, relationship issues may spring up anywhere.

It's true that websites have cultures, some of which may be pretty darn nasty, but anyone joining a website thinking it's the key to love and happiness is a fool. That statement, however, does not mean that some people don't benefit from using Facebook to stay connected to friends.

Still, the huge site has problems. Ironically, as I was writing this post, I received the following message from an online FB acquaintance.
Subject: Spam, hackers & applications
Dear friends,
As most of you are probably aware, spammers and hackers have been extremely active on FB lately, and particularly today. They have been using, mostly, applications (such as "send a hug", "send a heart", "gifts", "birthday cards", and several others) to send fake requests from friends' accounts. Today, after receiving a few suspicious requests and checking with the friends from whose accounts they were apparently being sent, I ended up reporting all of them as spam and blocking several applications. So, at least for a while, I won't be accepting any requests or gifts that allow any application to access my profile, unless I'm absolutely sure that one of you has actually sent it. Also, I won't be sending any myself, so, please don't accept any request apparently coming from my account - unless I let you know that I'll be sending anything to you. Sorry, this is really annoying and spoils a bit of the fun... but hopefully, things will improve soon! Love, Xxxxxxxxx.
I hate FB apps and avoid them as much as I can. There are only so many hours in the day, and Facebook, Twitter, basically any social networking site, steals time from real projects with deadlines. Who has the minutes to sort through all those apps plus the people who you let friend when you're in a good mood only to discover later your leniency may have been a mistake. Just yesterday I saw an update from somebody on my Facebook page and all I thought was, "Who in the hell is that guy and why is he on my page?"

1 comment:

msladyDeborah said...

Why do people join social media site in the first place? If we asked twenty different people we are sure to et different answers.

This quiet exodus is not newsworthy. I have closed accounts on sites because I didn't like or need what was offered.

In any situation where people are involved there is always that faction of folks who want to annoy the hell out of everyone else. I hate all manners of spam! It is nothing more annoying to open e-mail or private messages and see a spammer at work. What to do? I also hate receiving junk mail or marketing calls of any kind.

You are so right when you point out that the same thing can happen in real time. That's the nature of beast that we are as humans.

Now I'm about to jump over to FB and see what's going on for the day. Ciao!