Saturday, March 10, 2012

Too Many Social Media Parties - Facebook is Like Going to KMart and Gabbing With Strangers - It's Also an Invasion of Privacy

There's so many social networks. I won't name them, you probably know more than me. I use Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. From what I've seen, there seems to be way more social networks than we could possibly need.

When you stop to think about it, K-Mart and Facebook have a lot in common. 
I think they should call it "Facemart" or "K-book"

The good, bad and ugly part of these social networks is that they all seem like going to a Sears Department store or the flea market; there's so many different people there and you never know what you are going to see or who you are going to meet. Once in a while you might bump into an old high school friend or work aquaintance. 

In my case, I've never bumped into a high school friend. Perhaps at 55 (and I was one of the youngest in my graduating class) my peers don't use Facebook. 

It seems that most of us do not have enough self-control to keep our Facebook networks down to a few friends. I don't. May I make a lame excuse? I think some of us admit everyone who asks to be friends because of our job. I used to co-host an extremely famous and popular FM radio show. When people requested to be a friend, I don't think it would be prudent to say, "No!"

You might lose a listener. In this day and age, FM radio needs all the listeners it can get!

But these social networks have gotten out of hand. Imagine that all social networks are like parties your friends are having - it's kind of like New Year's Eve; John is having a party; Mary is having a party; there's a party at Rick's and there's another party at your favorite watering place. There's so many parties. Do you go around to all of the parties and have superficial conversations for one or two minutes with 4 dozen people or do you go to one party and have a good, deep, intelligent discussion with just two or three?

I think it is much better to have the conversation at one party with two or three people. That's why, right now, I'm trying to decide which social media networks to quit.

If people want to find me, I have this blog; I am on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. I also write for Lew Rockwell. If you Google search, "Mike Tokyo" I am the top result. So I am easy to find.

Even so, with all these parties I am at, I still get invited to other "parties." I am flattered and thankful, but I always decline.

Recent parties I've been invited to are the Google friends (I haven't really looked but it seems like Facebook to me); I've also been invited to "parties" that are being run through other "parties!" What I mean is that I will be at Facebook and someone invites me to go to "Farmville," (I have no idea what that is) or some other social network (party) that I assume is some sort of computer game. I sit in front of a computer all-day enough as it is, the last thing I need to do is waste precious time playing computer games. Beside these invitations, I get ones asking to share my calendar and asking for all sorts of information.

I decline them all. Facebook and social media and the Internet in general is already too much of an invasion of privacy as it is.

On my Facebook account, I have more than a thousand "friends." I don't write that to brag, there's many people who have more than 5,000 "friends!" Of course, I don't have 1,000 real friends. I think I can count my real friends on my right hand... But, I like to think that, because of my work in radio and perhaps my writing on Lew Rockwell I have lots of "friends." 

For the people who have more than 5,000 friends, their accounts get locked and they can't add anymore friends. For some seemingly arbitrary reason Facebook locks your account once you pass 5,000. It seems absurd. If people have fun adding tons of friends that they don't know and will never meet, why not let them? What's wrong with having 50,000 friends? Or 250,000 friends? Or 10,000,000! You know that if there were a Justin Timberlake account, he could easily have a million friends! And that would be good. Perhaps if he were doing Facebook all the time, he wouldn't have time to record any new music to torture us with.

Anyway, no more than 5,000 friends on Facebook. So what do these people with more than 5,000 friends do? They make another account.

I think this social media and "friends" business is out of hand. Now, you and I both know that we don't have 5,000 or even 1,000 or probably even 100 friends. Some people, I think, use Facebook as a sort of "Rolodex" in the sky. Which is okay, I suppose and that sort of makes sense. Keeping track of business relations in a box of business cards is a pain. Which is why, I reckon, the folks who made Linkedin got started; they wanted to make a Rolodex in the sky. 

I've written before that I think Linkedin is a joke. Please refer to: How to make Six Figures a Year From Your Linkedin Account:

If Linkedin would clarify why we're here, kind of like 
Facebook does, that would clear a lot of confusion.  

Is Linkedin merely a place for unemployed men to be bragging to other unemployed men? Not hardly.

The truth is that Linkedin was designed for the gainfully employed to show their old high school girlfriend (who savagely dumped them just before the big year-end dance) that she made a mistake that she'll always regret because you - and only you - were the one who really loved her most (that b*tch!) When you understand that, then Linkedin makes sense. 

But I think Linkedin can survive if they simplify greatly and make their service as easy to use as Facebook. If they don't, they'll go bankrupt or get bought out by Facebook.

The problem with these social networks, like I said, is that there's too many of them; they are not personal at all; their net is cast too wide.

I think a good social network would be confined to a certain demographic of people - but then, how would they survive financially? Those would be something along the line of forums for those employed in a certain area of business or, for example, a social network just for people in the, say, flower arrangement art. That makes sense to me.

Going around to these social media sites and gabbing with people you don't know and will never meet seems to me, often times, a complete waste of time... Much like playing computer games.

Would you go to a K-Mart and stand around talking to people you don't know?  

Facebook seems to be getting the most popular in Japan (making my past predictions wrong). But Facebook, like I mentioned, is a total invasion of privacy. Never put personal information on your Facebook account. I even have the wrong birthday for myself. I suggest that you don't put your correct information on Facebook too! 

If you use social media and use it well, it can benefit you. But spreading yourself around to so any parties and having 5,000 friends means nothing anymore (well, actually, it never did). Having good conversations with close people or meeting new people through introductions is the best way. 

Most social media is missing that part of the equation and, hence, are becoming more and more impersonal and their own worst enemy.


Boo said...

That's an interesting comparison with Kmart. I prefer to compare it to the Mahjong fad.
But seriously, I removed myself from Facebook because of their creepy data-crawling which would bring up old girlfriends and things, and also because it was about as interesting as a company nomikai that never ends, with colleagues you're not sure about so you can't relax and enjoy the evening.
On the other hand, some people, you included, seem to enjoy providing intellectual content for Zuckerberg's empire, even though you complain about it here. More power to you.

Mr. Nobody said...

Hi Mike,

Perhaps this is applicable...

Anonymous said...

Hmm, the K-Mart in my area is closing its store.

Also, the Only things I miss about facebook are Will Grigg's posts and his music suggestions, and the music suggestions from a few others.

I may regret not having a network of instant independent news in-putters, but that's a sacrifice I've been ok with so far in exchange for my privacy... 'er whatever privacy I have left.

- clark