Facebook

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Can someone please explain to me the appeal of Facebook? The members of my church, most of them twenty-somethings, have left the blog world en masse and have absconded to the world of Facebook. And I'm trying to figure out why.

I will confess that I don

Edited by Andy Whitman

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Last week, a close friend of mine told me to check out his Facebook page, where he had just uploaded some pics from his recent mission trip. Of course, in order to do that I had to create my own profile. So, I did and voila! I was now a member of THE community! Within a few days I had requests to become friends with some old "buddies". Ya know, more dispersed middle-aged goons like myself. I hate to be an asshole, but no thanks.

I deleted the profile yesterday. The whole thing just struck me as extraordinarily lame. I don't get it either, Andy.

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My favourite facebook anecdote is courtesy of my sister in law - a university lecturer. some of her students kindly asked her to be their friends and she duly accepted. It did, however, backfire on them when they attempted to pass off handing one of their assignments in late as being due to illness on the night before deadline. Unfortunately the photos they had uploaded onto facebook suggested otherwise...

I am, however, an enthusiastic facebook user, but dismayed at how many of today#'s youth seem to spend entire evenings "out" simply taking photos of one another to put on facebook. It's excesses (including people who just talk about it the whole time - again students) are bad, but it certainly has it's uses.

One thing that has surprised me though is that many of the students at our church use the personal mail system instead of email. It's taken me a while to get my head around it but it seems that you get messages from friends, whereas emails tend to be more to do with work, or big organisations - business stuff in other words.

Matt

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I straddle the fence; I totally see where Andy is coming from, but also use and appreciate Facebook.

In some ways, the way the Millennials use Facebook is just like they used MySpace, just with less abrasive colors. In a lot of ways, it's narcissicism come to virtual life; you can waste hours on their 'hanging out with friends,' which in reality translates to a bunch of college freshmen taking photos with their phone (something *I* don't get, that phone photo garbage) or writing conversations on the Wall of the person in the dorm room a few doors down.

On the other hand, I get a lot of use out of it. A&F's own Kyle Anderson and I constantly update each other about bands and board games and the like (we often look at each other's profile, for instance), which is a lot easier to do on Facebook...especially since we live on opposite ends of the country. And maybe I'm just spoiled, but a huge chunk of the folks I interact with actually, like, write in coherent sentences with legit punctuation.

Some of the updates various groups leave are good, too; I wouldn't've known about Matthew Sweet's new album actually getting a release date if it weren't for his Facebook fan group, and Paste sends out weekly updates. And that's just naming a few. Sure, the majority of people using Facebook join groups like "I BET I CAN FIND TOO MILLION PEOPLE THTA CARE ABT LIKE SAVING ENVIRONMT"...but you can also say something like the majority of people in America think reality shows are awesome. What?

By the way, did you know we're friendzzzz on Facebook, Andy? \/\/00t!!!1!! ROFLCOPTER

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Because White People Like it

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College students in my church convinced me to sign up, and whereas I didn't get ANY use out of MySpace, I'm finding facebook quite useful. I keep an eye on the status updates of the folks in my congregation, and use them as a constant basis for prayer. I use the Events feature to keep people up to date on what's happening at the church, and even build relationships through the in-facebook games like Scramble and (until recently) Scrabulous.

It's also enabled me to re-establish contact with some folks I've been trying to find using Google and e-mail for a while. Being able to search for their name, and at least see a photo and perhaps a current location for the names I pull up has enabled me to zero in on the right person a lot quicker.

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Good one. :) But a friend talked me into joining Facebook, and I think it's fun. Sometimes as a Christian I find myself coming up with elaborate and carefully thought-out reasons and justifications for everything I do or don't do -- so once in a while it's nice to do something just because it's fun! And it is a good way to get back in touch with people. Although when those people are members of the younger generation, it is depressing to see those sweet little angels you used to babysit for swearing like sailors, and dressing like streetwalkers, and what not. (But then, it does help remind you pretty forcefully to keep them in prayer!)

Also, I've joined some pretty cool groups, like "Dickens Devotees," "Why yes, there are people who dislike the Twilight books," and "Boycott the My Fair Lady remake!!!" :P

The appeal is completely lost on my best friend. I explained that one thing I like is being able to keep lists of books I'm currently reading and have finished reading through the Bookshelf application. She wanted to know why I can't just do that on a sheet of paper. And of course I could, but I just happen to enjoy doing it this way!

Edited by Gina

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I humbly request the removal of that Bono video. I'd like to discourage the proliferation of somebody's "gotcha" humiliation of someone who, while human, is really quite an honorable fellow and our brother in Christ.

Just as you wouldn't want someone posting a video of an embarrassing moment of you online, so I'd hope that we wouldn't participate in that.

Edited by Overstreet

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Thanks. I understand, but I appreciate you taking it down. When I first ran across the "scandal" news story, I just started feeling sick, so I'm trying to forget about it.

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I recently set up an account as a way of communicating with a church growth consultant who made a presentation to our Vestry (I support the move). I'd rather go with email to talk to him because of all the hurdles and passwords just to get to his or my wall. OTOH, a old roommate at the gulag just asked to be my friend. The last time I worshipped before becoming hooked on Anglican worship, I was with him, so why not?

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Facebook Now Nearly Twice The Size Of MySpace Worldwide

Facebook, still a private company, is the world

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I am surrendering to the inevitable and joining Facebook. It's not because I really want to. I still like to write paragraphs, not one-liners and little cryptic smiley/winky characters, and part of me can't escape the notion that this is all contributing to the dumbing down of America. But realities are realities. Everybody I know uses Facebook. So in order to communicate in non-face-to-face ways, I'm going to have to join the crowd. LOL. :D B!FF, I am coming, D00D!.

But here's a question. When I logged on to my account, I had a bunch of friends. This is all well and good, and many of them are, in fact, friends in real life. But some of them are complete strangers, and I have absolutely no idea who they are and why they want to be my "friend." Is it appropriate to "turn down" these friend requests? Am I violating some unwritten Facebook rule of etiquette when I do so? I'd appreciate any help you could provide to this Facebook neophyte. Thanks.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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I am surrendering to the inevitable and joining Facebook. It's not because I really want to. I still like to write paragraphs, not one-liners and little cryptic smiley/winky characters, and part of me can't escape the notion that this is all contributing to the dumbing down of America. But realities are realities. Everybody I know uses Facebook. So in order to communicate in non-face-to-face ways, I'm going to have to join the crowd. LOL. :D B!FF, I am coming, D00D!.

But here's a question. When I logged on to my account, I had a bunch of friends. This is all well and good, and many of them are, in fact, friends in real life. But some of them are complete strangers, and I have absolutely no idea who they are and why they want to be my "friend." Is it appropriate to "turn down" these friend requests? Am I violating some unwritten Facebook rule of etiquette when I do so? I'd appreciate any help you could provide to this Facebook neophyte. Thanks.

When I first got on Facebook I had the same thing occur, many friends and some "strangers". I hunted down the names of strangers, and realized that they actually were from my Yahoo email list, but they were people I may have had one contact with, such as a potential employer, or someone in a work related situation that I had limited contact with. I hit ignore on several, and several others still remain in my "waiting to reply" page on Facebook. I don't think that Facebook tells a potential friend that they have been turned down, but I may be wrong.

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Facebook doesn't announce when you turn down people that request your "friendship," but those people CAN see if the request is still pending or not. Let's say Bobby So and So requests to be my friend, and I think Bobby is a jerk. I hit "decline" (or whatever the 'no' button is). Bobby the jerk can check in again and see that, hey, he can request me again as a friend, which means he knows I turned him down....

And I've had this happen to me. I've also removed SCORES of people from my friend list, only to get a dozen or so send me messages that read, "HEY I THOUGHT WE WERE FREINDZ???!?!"

My solution: I've created something I call Friend Purgatory. I neither accept or decline, only let the people hang. And they can't do anything about it.

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As I think I said in the Twitter thread, the key difference between Facebook and Twitter is that Twitter is all about making these connections with people you don't know but where there might be common ground, whereas in Facebook that's generally not the done thing. It comes off as a bit stalkery IMO. I generally go for the Purgatory option Jason outlines above if only because sometimes someone adds you cos they read your blog, and then you go on to know them a bit and want to add them (this happened to me recently).

Matt

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Facebook has "friends". Twitter has "followers". That says it all, I think.

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Yeah, I feel no guilt about turning down fb friends if I haven't a clue who they are. And I have probably only less than a half of the folks in my churches who are on FB as FB friends, simply because I'd rather they add me. (Not much on the stalker thing)

I will say that FB chat has utterly replaced the former need for Trillian.

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I write a column for the local daily here, so I have lots of strangers wanting to be my friend. I don't want to offend them. FB allows you to put people in catagories, so I put them into a non-friend group that I created. Then, when their statuses and news feeds appear on my page, move the cursor to the right of their text and you'll see an option appear to hide people's stuff from appearing on your page. So I friend these people but then I never see them again, unless they contact me or commenti on my wall.

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I write a column for the local daily here, so I have lots of strangers wanting to be my friend. I don't want to offend them. FB allows you to put people in catagories, so I put them into a non-friend group that I created. Then, when their statuses and news feeds appear on my page, move the cursor to the right of their text and you'll see an option appear to hide people's stuff from appearing on your page. So I friend these people but then I never see them again, unless they contact me or commenti on my wall.

FYI, you can also use this to block messages from apps, quizzes, and games from appearing on your "wall". Since I couldn't care less about which Twilight character you are, I use this a lot.

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I'm still a Facebook novice, but am posting with a bit more frequency this week.

Today's discovery: Facebook "suggests" people I might want to be friends with -- people who have friends in common with me. But I don't really know these people. So I go to the "x" box to try to clear the suggestion. I click the "x" ... and the suggestion is immediately replaced with a suggestion of someone else I barely know, but who has friends in common with me.

Will the web never end? Is it possible to pull up my Facebook page without being prompted to make "friends" with someone else?

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and hitting the x is only temporary - they keep coming back as suggestions.

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I'm still a Facebook novice, but am posting with a bit more frequency this week.

Today's discovery: Facebook "suggests" people I might want to be friends with -- people who have friends in common with me. But I don't really know these people. So I go to the "x" box to try to clear the suggestion. I click the "x" ... and the suggestion is immediately replaced with a suggestion of someone else I barely know, but who has friends in common with me.

Will the web never end? Is it possible to pull up my Facebook page without being prompted to make "friends" with someone else?

I've learned to tune those suggestions out. Who knows, though — you might find someone on there that you know and actually want to be friends with. I've discovered a few people that way.

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For those of you who play games through Facebook, a tale of terror...

FarmVille user runs up £900 debt

A mother has warned of the risk of children spending hundreds of pounds on "free" online games available through Facebook after her 12-year-old son ran up bills of more than £900 without her knowledge...

...She contacted her credit card company, HSBC, but was told she would only qualify for a refund if she reported her son to the police and obtained a crime number. "He would be cautioned and I have been told that this caution would stay with him. Obviously the idea of a stupid farm simulation jeopardising his future earnings is not something that I want to consider," she said.

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For those of you who play games through Facebook, a tale of terror...

FarmVille user runs up £900 debt

A mother has warned of the risk of children spending hundreds of pounds on "free" online games available through Facebook after her 12-year-old son ran up bills of more than £900 without her knowledge...

...She contacted her credit card company, HSBC, but was told she would only qualify for a refund if she reported her son to the police and obtained a crime number. "He would be cautioned and I have been told that this caution would stay with him. Obviously the idea of a stupid farm simulation jeopardising his future earnings is not something that I want to consider," she said.

Sounds to me like a kid who got hold of his mom's credit card, not a FB game issue. The games themselves are free--but they try to entice you to spend money on things to upgrade your farm/cafe/whatever. I've played/play the same game--it was a great stress reliever when my brain was shot from school--and I've done it without spending real money. (now that I've graduated, those same stress relievers are now just an annoyance.)

The game itself isn't the issue; I think it's more of a kid not seeing a problem using his mom's credit card w/out her knowledge. And if she did know, then she has no one to blame but herself.

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