Monday, October 1, 2007

Breaking Up With Facebook for a Week, Part 3

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

an experiment, concluded:

So I'm back- back on Facebook after a week away from its clutches. And I feel...older. Disconnected. Out of college.

I know that Facebook's not just for students anymore; in a recent cover story, Newsweek highlighted members of the website in their thirties. But still I associate the social network with higher education, and I think I always will, because the site did originate with that audience.

On one hand I like the idea that even as I become an adult I can keep tabs on acquaintances who've graduated and those who are still in school. But on the other hand, I don't know. It's one thing for me, a months-ago graduate, to skim profiles of college juniors but it's quite another if I'm skimming those same profiles when I'm ten years out of college. Will the future me really need to know that a friend-of-a-friend from his freshman dorm sent her son to kindergarten?

We're growing up, but will Facebook? Will it mature with its original users, catering to the elderly among us come 2067 with LARGE PRINT and jokes about fishing? Or will Facebook stay young and hip, leaving the classes of the 00s behind with their walkers and pills and get-off-my-lawn wrinkly fists?

Only Mark Zuckerberg knows.

As for me, I return to Facebook with a degree of caution. I'll try to remember the lessons of my week without it - particularly how important it is to keep attached to good friends outside its bubble. Wall notes and status updates can only tell so much.

I'm not quitting the site. I'm not. I might log-in with less frequency, but I still want to know what's cooking with the people in the center, and in the margins, of my life. Facebook's not the most intimate way to accomplish that, but it is the easiest. In 2007, it's hard to avoid the easiest anything.

I suspect you feel the same way. Unless your name is Michael.



Andrew said...

Nice series.
It'd be interesting to note the difference in audience between Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.

It might be that Facebook won't evolve with us, but rather, we'll jump ship to a new networking site.

I notice that friends who didn't go to college and are a little older use MySpace more. And professionals in their 30s are diving into the LinkedIn world.

Good stuff. keep it up.

Alex Pollack said...

Thanks for the kind words, Andrew, and good points regarding MySpace and LinkedIn. Definitely some generational divides...As for MySpace, what an ugly mess that site is! The interface doesn't look all that different than a middle schooler's Angelfire website circa 1998 (The dancing baby of the 90s internet boom, for all its empty entertainment, would be at home at mySpace).

andrew said...

ha! Cheers to flashback.

And maybe that's what everyone is getting out of this anyway:

"Nice profile pic! I remember when we did that thing at that place with those people..."

Anonymous said...

Great thread, Alex. I'm not familiar with Facebook but, in my opinion, Myspace is an absolute train wreck. I have never understood why anyone would want to post a personal message for the entire world to read that could just as easily have been sent via email.

Teenage angst is rampart and the adults that have Myspace pages are unlike any grown-ups I've ever met; both are pretty scary! I think that most of the pages posted by musicians and authors are about all that are worth reading.

I don't think "Tom" and I would be very good friends. ;~)


Vinita said...

haha, the part about LARGE PRINT and jokes about fishing was great. It's sad when a week away from facebook makes you feel like some kind of Thoreau