As many of you may know already, I decided to suspend my Facebook account. In fact, I decided to suspend my Facebook activity, the account suspension was just a consequence of that. 🙂 From now on, I will focus my activity on Google+. Here’s a link to my account on Google+, if you want to add me. Also, you can find it on the right sidebar (discretely replacing the Facebook icon, of course).
Facebook Unfulfilled Promise
One of the most important reasons for this move was the amount of time I was (uselessly) spending on Facebook each day. Initially, I had two main reasons for being there: blog promotion and networking.
All in all, I managed to get some traffic from Facebook, but I highly doubt it was because of Facebook. A significant part of that traffic was coming from posts which are already floating on the social media for one or two years now and which are constantly shared on Facebook too. Just take a look at the titles in the right sidebar and you’ll know what posts am I referring to. Also, I was getting a few comments on my posts, but nothing spectacular. But the saddest part is that, in order to get even that tiny slice of traffic, I had to cope with all the other “noise” that Facebook was adding to the game.
As for networking, I don’t think I had more than 20-25 real life interactions on Facebook since I was using it. It’s true that I managed to discover (and interact with) a handful of very interesting people from around the world, but if I do the math, I think I found far more of them via Twitter. I also discovered a few high school colleagues and a few distant relatives (Roua is a pretty uncommon name even in Romania, if you wonder, so I was an easy target). Apart from that, my entire Facebook activity was just a lousy excuse to procrastinate.
Lately, I also found quite disturbing to be approached on chat by a person I never met in real life. Most of the time, there were requests in games, or just for “likes” to various contests or polls. It was even one guy who was bluntly trying to sell me something without even knowing how to spell my name. I think I created a new definition for the term “microsecond” that day: it was the exact amount of time needed to click “unfriend” after I saw the selling line.
So, although the people are there and they do spend an incredibly amount of time, the result is under the promise.
Facebook Good Points
Believe it or not, there are some good points in using Facebook too. Something that is used by a few hundreds millions must have something useful, all you have to do is to isolate it from the trash.
So, one of the best things on Facebook is it’s ubiquity in single signon API’s. I still use this “Sign In With Facebook” functionality on a few sites. I think I will replace those credentials with others on a “first found, first replaced” basis.
Also, being used by such a huge amount of people, it creates an incredibly useful playground for learning. On Facebook, people are almost expecting to be used, stalked, involved in threesomes or something along these lines. So you can learn tremendously about people reactions, expectations and behaviors. Of course, these are social media behaviors, not real life behaviors. As a matter of fact, I observed an incredible difference in the Facebook discourse versus the real life discourse for many of my Facebook acquaintances. Either way, it’s a fantastic place to learn, to interact and to play. But way, way, way to noisy for my taste.
The Google+ Strong Points
It’s simple. No Farmville. No Events. No Groups in which I am added without my consent. No intrusive chat (only hangouts). And, on top of that, I get the Circles functionality. Meaning I can fine tune the privacy of my stream, something that was heavily lacking from Facebook. And it’s simple, folks. Did I say that already? Yes? Then I’m gonna say it one more time: it’s deadly simple.
Human interaction is probably the most complicated thing in the world. If you put on top of this natural obstacle a set of worn out tools which are mostly adding to the noise instead of fading it out, you’re not helping.
So far, Google+ seems to be doing a good job at fading out the noise and letting a clean stream of interaction flowing in and out. So, I’m sticking with them for a while.