I can't figure out what to use Facebook for.
I had a great theory a while back, after letting go of +Mike Elgan
's Google+ Diet (http://bit.ly/nXP9hx
). Like +Chris Pirillo
, my theory was that Google+ is great for interacting with strangers and Facebook is great for interacting with real-life friends.
At that time, I made a pledge to remove everyone from Facebook who didn't interest me sincerely so that my feed would be more relevant and interesting (see the original post here: http://bit.ly/pBBjvF
), but every time I logged into Facebook to try my hand at culling the "friends" list, I got lost. Or maybe it's better to say that I didn't know where to start. And, frankly, I didn't have the heart to "unfriend" people just because they didn't interest me. (Wow, is that great marketing or am I just a softie?)
In any case, nothing has happened. I login to Facebook less than once a week, and I have the same reaction every time: LastPass logs me in, I see my feed, and I can't even scroll through more than a handful of posts before I'm bored. I tab back to Google+. I plan to clean up Facebook later. I never do.
I'm pretty sure the reason for my lack of engagement is that my feed has far too many people making far too much noise. In stark contrast to Google+, adding strangers on Facebook is a really weird concept, because the foundation (for me) is the idea of a social network built for online interaction between real-life friends.
If I've never met you in real life, being friends with you on Facebook makes almost no sense to me. But if I met you at a party and then you added me on Facebook, there is a good chance I accepted you as a "friend," put you in a filtering category that couldn't see my Wall, and forgot you existed (largely thanks to EdgeRank). The acceptance of questionable relationships in social networking was born out of a need to be polite for me, based on Facebook's use of the word "friend."
Here's the problem: my friends -- some of whom aren't even really my friends -- post a lot of things I don't want to read. With the newest Facebook changes, my real friends -- the strongest real life connections I have on Facebook -- are posting more automated noise now than they were before I left Facebook. So and so commented on this. Then he visited some websites. She just played a Delta Spirit album. On and on...honestly, that ticker makes me antsy. I feel compelled to look at it on the off chance that I'll find some awesome new band or restaurant or website, but it never happens. It's not that my friends have bad taste. It's that they do too much stuff online and they like too many things. I can't keep up, so it all becomes meaningless noise.
I have no idea what to use Facebook for when it's like this, so I think I just have to nuke it and start over.
This time, I am only going to "friend" people I know in real life whom I also want to interact with through social media
. That means I have to want to read your Facebook updates, whatever that even means.
I have to be honest -- I'm a little unsure about how this is going to go. The most thoughtful friends I have are not posting their thoughts on Facebook, they're blogging or using Google+. But on the off chance that I find a use for Facebook (I don't know if that exists for me, anymore), I'm sure I'll be glad I did this instead of just deleting my profile and ending the affair entirely.
Those of you who still use Facebook -- what do you use it for? Personal interaction only? If the people you interact with on Facebook were on Google+, would you still want to use Facebook? Why or why not?