Monday, February 16, 2009


It's been about a month since I lost my mind and started a Facebook page. So how do I like it?

It's been pretty interesting, but definitely a mixed bag. It is a living example of Your Mileage May Vary. But it is very effective because it understands the simple fact that not everyone communicates the same way.

And this last bit, I think, is the reason for Facebook's "overnight" popularity. People communicate differently, using different tools, and FB tries to get as many of those tools into play all at once.

Me? I tend to feed my blog over into the notes section from RSS. It's not a bad little method of using my FB page as a relay transmitter, picking up people who might not otherwise link to my blog (slackers). I'm comfortable with that. In addition, FB gives me a bit of control in allowing comments to friends (now that you know, don't abuse the privilege).

I also tend to use the "status" section, laying out whatever is on my mind at the moment (which is usually a song fragment or a movie quote). It is actually kind of fun just throw out a line and see how many people respond to it (if any - I'm not particularly vain about it). And it is fun to see the streams cross of acquaintances. One thread was responded to by a younger friend in Chicago, followed by a former co-worker from WotC, followed by a former editor from DC, followed by a current RPG-playing friend, followed by a former co-worker at Pokemon, USA. I think #2 and #5 know each other, but otherwise we're all over the place.

That said, there are features I do not use much. Email I am comfortable with, and see other long-time friends on. IM? Not so much, and I don't respond unless I am comfortable talking to you in person (IM is a "cold" medium which does not allow much in the way of emotional subtext - while in these entries I can consider and revise a bit, the time pressure of IM does not allow it).

The apps? I was buried initially in Monte Pythons gifts, free drinks, offers to join knighthood or a mafia gang or whatever. After thinking about it long and hard, I chose to ignore these. Dond't be offended - I don't dislike anyone who sent one (and do pick up the occasional Cthulhu Mythos bit), but I don't communicate that way. But its cool if that's the way YOU communicate. It is good to hear from you, even if I say no.

Similarly pictures. I have one. I really should get around to a Flickr account, but that picture is just about all I need. Until I get bored with it.

I like the "Home" and "Friends" pages because it gives me a way of casually stalking my friends without being intrusive. What, you don't do that as well? Again, it's a different way of communicating, and potentially one of the creepier ones.

Anyway, the numbers are probably topping out from the "new friends" list, and while I will probably keep monitoring it, I will concentrate on this blog. So I would say that it is a case of so far, so good.

Oh, and of course while I was working on all this, it comes down that Facebook has unilaterally changed its terms of service, to the tune that ANYTHING posted on the page, regardless of origin, becomes theirs. It sounds like someone was sleeping while the lawyers were making their last presentation to the board. There is a massive push-back at the moment, with people cutting accounts left and right. The brass is assuring that despite this language, they would NEVER use that information for badthings. It's just a legal thing.


Here's a little Terms of Service of my own. Feel free to attach it to your facebook notes as well.

"The information within this post, including the content, phrasing, spelling, alphabet letters used, and font choice is the sole ownership of the original poster. Reposting for any reason the original poster does not like (as determined by the original poster) can result in any and all recourse, not limited to Big Louie and Knuckles coming over and having a friendly chat with you in the dead of the night."

Not that I would EVER use this type of unilateral power. It's just a legal thing.

More later,

Update: in the face of a massive user uprising, Facebook has declared it all a misunderstanding, declared they never intended to do what they were doing, and shelved any changes until they decide how to sugarcoat it better. Yeah, the lawyers who pushed this through probably have some 'splaining to do.