I consider myself very technology forward, but I’m also generally adverse to technology aimed squarely at the mainstream. Most of it is garbage, peppered a few little nuggets of neat.
I have a MySpace page and to this day I loathe the entire experience there. It’s completely self-contained, difficult to configure to your liking, littered with junk, and basically unusable for actually finding and/or getting in touch with anyone.
When facebook launched and started to catch on, I heard about all these gimmicks and thought it too would go the way of myspace, lots of focus on “personalizing” your page to your liking, regardless of how intolerable it may be to actually use your page.
Facebook took a different approach by opening up many of their APIs. This allowed people to build applications that use facebook through a well-documented and proper interface instead of more-or-less hacking their way into it.
My wife signed up a few weeks back and invited me to join. I, as I usually do with invited to trendy web applications, ignored it and went about my business. A few nights back I finally bit the bullet and registered for the site and I must say that compared to the other social networking sites, they have done an extraordinary job of decluttering things and letting people oly do as much as they care to do.
I’ve already gotten in touch with a few old friends and wasn’t forced into wading through gobs of flashing backgrounds and transparent text to do it. The site itself is very secure and through the privacy interface allows you (by default) to keep yourself well isolated from strangers.
So far I’ve been pretty impressed with the simplicity, and the facebook-sponsored applications are not half bad. They work far better than cobbled-together junk that you often find out in the interweb. Now, there are still tons of “useless” things that litter facebook, things that I would definitely not bother with on a going-forward basis, but they are all optional and can’t be moved up into the “main content” area of anyone’s profile. That’s really nice because it keeps the meat of the profile page consistent and you’re only bombarded with the time-wasters if you choose to peruse their profile further.
So, two-thumbs up for facebook at this time. I’ll follow up if I’ve been duped. 🙂
Oh, and my profile is http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1232590019