A painting of me

Facebook Sucks Yo

   23 March 2007, terribly early in the morning

Shima was bugging me for a good half hour yesterday because she wanted a nice photo of herself to put up on her stupid-ass Facebook. For those who don’t know Facebook used to be a social networking site for University students, which has slowly morphed into a social networking site for anybody. My friend Matt recently sold out and joined as well. One by one my friends are falling; I get random emails inviting me to join from friends all the time. My opinion of Facebook matches my opinion of MySpace and Friendster and all those other sites: its not very high. Hanging out behind your computer, alone, “talking” to people — stalking people — has its place, but i’m not sure i’d call it being social.

Update: The update I never thought I’d make: Fumio Funakoshi.



  1. I joined because I wanted to keep in touch with my karate friends. :P

  2. ramanan — i’m with you on this one. both my fiancée and 4-1/2 month old son are on facebook, but i most certainly will never be.

    the way people spend hours and hours trying to sell their coolness on this thing is ridiculous. it’s the social equivalent of a website hocking used cars.

  3. Well, this might be one of those things you should try, given that if your conviction is so high, then you can just as easily disconnect yourself. However, once you try it you may be surprised at who you are reconnecting with. I.e. I am reconnecting with all kinds of people from Churchill and Woburn that I haven’t seen or heard from in 5-10 years. I even have a few people from grade school. It’s not as silly given that the page is preformed for you. It’s almost like a big address book built in with picture sharing and messages.

    Thus, yes, I like it.

  4. Victor’s right. I’ve been catching up with Teagh over the past couple of days, for example, and that’s been great. Plus, it seems like there’s a lot less “check out my band!” than there is on MySpace.

  5. NO.



    Don’t try. You lost touch with those people for a reason in the first place. It is super lame to start adding friends from high school with whom you would not even have a good time if you sat around for a coffee one day.

    Live your life in the real world. Ram. I am as much against Facebook and MySpace as you are… if not more. How did our society evolve to the point where we rather connect with people who are far away and whom we have probably already forgotten more than those that are actually around us…

    Facebook is just a place for people to self-promote. Everyone puts up only flattering pictures of themselves. Bah. I could go on for hours on all the things wrong with spending time in creating an online profile…

    If only people spent as much time building character and actually fostering REAL relationships…

  6. Well, with all due respect, Juan, it’s not like I stopped leaving the house or talking to people. I can’t speak for anybody else, but I haven’t had to choose between having an online profile and having a life.

  7. I use Facebook all the time. I am suspicious of anyone who is so adamantly opposed to something they’ve never tried. It is what you make it. You don’t join Facebook and then start trying to make yourself cool to your peers. If you do that on Facebook, you probably do it in real life, too.

    Your life doesn’t magically disappear.

    Your relationships don’t get taken over by Facebook.

    It’s just a way to keep in touch, share pictures, to realize that you might have friends in common with someone and you never knew it. It adds new dimensions to your friendships, or it can, anyway.

    As for the “you lost touch with those people for a reason” comment… whatever. I like checking in on people who have been part of my life. That doesn’t mean I want to engage them in a phone conversation today, but I might still be curious if they are married, how work is going, whatever.

    It’s a medium. Juan sounds like a religious fanatic, about Facebook! A website! You are free to log off and step outside any time you want. The Facebook Police won’t be there to hold a gun to your head, for christ’s sake.

  8. Part of the reason I don’t join Facebook is probably related to the same reason I plan to never watch Titanic: its something I can say I never took part in. I like Victor’s idea of Facebook as the alpha and omega of address books, but I think its a bit more insidious than that.

  9. Ben’s on the money. You can make as much or as little use of it as you like. I’m sure there’s some people who refuse to use email.
    In any case, I joined cause it’s nice to see what awkward pics of you your friends are posting & tagging…

  10. I guess I have to point out that not joining something just to say you didn’t is pretty close to joining something just so say you joined it. It’s not a shirt. It’s not a catchphrase. It’s something potentially useful, and you dictate in what way and to what extent you use it.

    ... On the other hand, I’m never fucking watching Titanic.

  11. Ram, you can totally use my account on facebook! That way you can experience all that is great or not great first hand without ever having to join it.

  12. I’m not on her list either actually. I like hearing from the people from Woburn and Churchill, but I’d rather make the effort myself to get in touch — which I do once every couple years it seems.

    Shima, that would be cheating.

  13. I disagree with the self-promotion aspect on Facebook. There is much less of it there then what I saw on Friendster (which I didn’t really use) and on myspace (which I haven’t used only due to being old and missing the boat).

  14. I just wanted to leave my opinion, although I’m sure the discussion is done.

    I personally have never liked MySpace, Friendster, or whatever other ‘sharing’ sites out there exist. However, I do have a Facebook account, and I’ve enjoyed it so far.

    I have a lot of friends and family who live in other cities, or even countries. It’s a nice, simple way to share recent photos and events, because quite frankly, most people suck at email.

    I do not have anyone on my list that I don’t know in real life, nor is my profile open to the public. If someone from the past has sent me a friend request, whether it be for their curiosity or friend-padding, I can limit what information/photos they see.

    It’s a great way of reconnecting with people – but only the people you WANT to reconnect with. If people you don’t know or don’t really care for are requesting you, ignore them… or ladies, just use your married name and nobody from the past will find you. ;)

  15. ok… i’ll throw in another 2 cents. Nothing like 4 cents worth of contribution…

    I understand that people can have a facebook, without giving up their entire real life. I also get that it is possible to use it in a constructive manner. however: I think it would be “better” if we had a society that placed more value on face-to-face interactions instead of face-to-facebook interactions.

    When we start putting high emphasis on social networking through any medium (telephone, email, myspace, facebook) over putting emphasis on real world interactions then we run a risk of de-personalizing the world we live in. I understand that its not one or the other, but I also think its a continuum and I would feel much more comfortable if people didn’t chose it as a way of staying in touch.

    Finally (like i said, i have a lot of opinion on the matter, so i could go on for pages and pages) I would also like to add that I don’t like the idea of living in the past. Knowing what people from other periods in our lives are doing is a way of staying connected to previous versions of ourselves. Although there is value is knowing our own history, i believe there is more value in knowing who we currently are. Keeping tabs on other people, with whom we no longer share current experiences, simply amounts to voyeurism in my view.

    I realize I may be a bit extreme in my opinions, but I really think things like Facebook/MySpace are prime examples of ways in which north american society is simply getting is wrong. I would hate to be classified as “he’s old and just doesn’t want to embrace change” because I really think that the Internet is not a good medium with which to form and support social networks. I am old fashioned in this regard: I really think we should all be gathering on a park bench with the people we want to be friends with.

  16. Ok, I’ll bite… :)

    I agree there are issues with relying on internet communication, but as I stated before, meeting up with friends and family is not always convenient. People are busy, and they will continue to be busy. Previous generations have shown us how easy it is to neglect family and friends over time. My sister is a 10hr/$1000 flight away – meeting up in a park for ‘genuine’ face-to-face time is simply not an option. She’s not the only family I have in a different country, and calling people takes up more time than writing a few messages/notes.

    I live in a different city than most of my friends, and I see them whenever I can. As stated above, people are busy working, having babies, whatever. In the meantime, I enjoy being able to keep in light contact with them until we DO meet. It’s a great way of eliminating the, “How’s work? How are the kids? How about that weather, huh?” lame catch-up and replacing it with simply enjoying the company of your friends.

    The internet is abused, yes, but it has also opened up communication doors that didn’t exist before.

  17. I also wanted to add that I don’t think personal blogs are much different than a MySpace/Facebook profile. It’s just a means of updating people on your life/happenings. Meh…

  18. That’s true. I can see how Facebook is like an evolution of Livejournal — which I did join so I could comment on someones stupid-ass Livejournal.

  19. Sorry to keep harping. I used to major in this sort of thing, and I like those rare occasions when it comes in handy.

    Juan, it’s obvious you’re not just some luddite, so don’t worry. And while you clearly get the fact that you don’t have to choose between an online and an offline life, I think a big part of your argument depends on the assumption that more time spent on social network sites means less time spent in the company of real people.

    Well, that’s not necessarily the case. I don’t think that many people are staying home to goof off on Facebook instead of going out to see people. In fact, as long as sites like Facebook can be used to send out event invitations and what not, they can actually contribute to people getting together in person more often.

  20. If you know me, and Ram does pretty well, you’ll know that I’m out with my friends quite often, spending as much face time with them as possible.

    The fact is, just my current group of friends really takes up about 90% of my free time, and that’s not that many people, maybe around 10 or so.

    For example, Ram is a great old friend, and I would certainly be out of touch with him if not for his blog. Not because I don’t want to spend time with him, but for other reasons, i.e. we have mostly different friends now, we don’t live that close together and we are both very busy with our own personal pursuits. If we extend this example to people that don’t have such a regularly updated blog like Ram’s, then I would certainly be fully out of touch with them. Not because hey, they are old dusty figures from my past, but people that out of very reasonable circumstances that I can’t see that often.

    Perhaps then you may say I should be satisfied with my 10 close friends that I spend the majority of my time with, but I don’t think that’s the case. Why can’t I spend a few spare minutes at work, or in the evenings on a workday to see what they’ve been up to, make a comment or two and see some photo’s of my old friends. This hasn’t move me on my social resources continuum at all, but I have increased my overall network by some incremental amount.

  21. I caved and got it yesterday. If you exercise some measure of self-control you’ll be fine.

    One positive is I found a group for my elementary school and reconnected with people i knew a long long time ago.

  22. You know, you can buy $1 gifts for people on Facebook now. Including diamond rings.

    I just thought I’d throw that out there, in case anyone wanted to make this the Ultimate Funkaoshi Commentathon.

    Most of what I’d say has been said by me or others. But the simple fact is that I don’t see Facebook as being all that different from what you are doing here and now if you are reading my comment or writing your own. And secondly, Facebook gives me something I can’t have otherwise: it lets me give someone far away a little nudge, like I would if we were near each other. A quick message, a poke, a picture… something to let them know I care, and it’s quick and easy and for a brief moment, it’s like my friends and family aren’t spread across the globe.

    It is what you make it. It is what you make it. It is what you make it. That’s all.

  23. check out this blog post from facebook’s blog about how addicted people are to facebook. the post shows how traffic dips when the show “grey’s anatomy” comes on and how it peaks during ads. holy.


  24. Facebook wastes too much time. I had it for awhile and for a brief moment it was nice talking to people I never really talk to but then I quickly realized “man….I really don’t care anymore” and eventually it was me writing on my friends walls which seemed overly stupid because I could easily just message them online. I always feel like a majority of users just use facebook to stalk people.

  25. I’m late to the comment party (as usual), but should note that I also recently caved.

    I had been holding a similar position to you, Ram. I wasn’t exactly not joining for the sake of not joining, but more that I wanted someone, anyone, to tell me what I could do with Facebook that I couldn’t do elsewhere. No one gave me a satisfactory answer, until a week or two ago. For me, it was the fact that March Madness was happening and most people I knew were orchestrating pools via Facebook. I’m such a student of bracketology that I had to be able to see other people’s brackets and comment on them and whatnot. So that was what I could do on Facebook that I couldn’t do elsewhere.

    At this point, I’ve found it useful for a few things. One, it helps me keep touch with my cousins, who I usually don’t converse with over MSN. Ditto for other friends who either don’t use or don’t frequent MSN. I know I could send emails, but Facebook’s “wall” feature gives something of a party atmosphere. People can comment on other comments and the like. It’s a little bit more free-flowing.

    I think most of the objections here are a little bit stuck in hair-splitting territory. Facebook is bad, but email, blogs, Flickr, etc. is ok? And I’m not sure why Juan is so adamant in creating a divide between a digital personality and a physicl one. I mean, things like WOW and Second Life are huge experiences found only in the online world, but how are they any less real than going out for coffee with friends?

    Anyways, I gotta head to work, I’ll be sure to make Shima my facebook friend later on today.

  26. Dinu, you so haven’t added me to facebook yet.. I didn’t even get a poke?! wtf!

    (I can’t wait to start talking like a little high school girl.. I guess I should start working on my OMGs!)

  27. i just wanted to say that i joined facebook to keep in touch with my friends from around the world. even though i would most definitely perfer to meet them face-to-face, i can’t possibly fly to Korea, England, Italy, Australia, India, Mexico just to see and have a chat with them-it’s unrealistic. i have moved away and have been living in a different city (and now province) from all my friends and family, it’s nice just to post up some photos of my current adventures for my friends to know i’m alive and doing well.
    recently i just reunited with my grade 1 best friend who i’ve been trying to find for the last 10 years or so, facebook really helped with that.

    all in all, i think if you use facebook or any of these social networking sites in the right way it can be an advantage. if you don’t try, you won’t know right?

  28. I have all these semi-connected thoughts about Facebook (which my wife signed me up for) in my head.

    This post and this comment by Juan:

    Don’t try. You lost touch with those people for a reason in the first place. It is super lame to start adding friends from high school with whom you would not even have a good time if you sat around for a coffee one day.

    have unified these thoughts into my new grand theory of social websites. Thank you, Ramanan.

  29. To anyone who harps on Facebook etc because they have issues embracing the idea of communicating over the internet versus face-to-face:

    WHY ARE YOU SITTING HERE WRITING YOUR COMMENTS TO OTHERS ONLINE? Go meet your friend (who is probably too busy) at a Starbucks (which is probably closed or you don’t have any money on you) and discuss this in person (which will probably be a really boring conversation because the most convenient people physically near you are not always interested in communicating with you about the things that you are interested in).

  30. All i can really say is that i agree with everything everyone said about how lame facebook is, and I am embarrased that most of my colleagues (spelling?) has resorted to communicating through a computer screen. there is a lot of fantastic shit to do and see out there, and there is DEFINITELY no reason to get back in touch with freinds that you lost contact with 5 – 10 years ago. Facebook was a good idea as far as the University idea goes, but now people in 7th and 8th grade are using facebook, not to mention the people who are over 30 and getting facebooks. go outside. get a girlfriend/boyfriend. find something better to do. and dont pretend like there arent people out there who check their facebook 10 times a day and spend more than one hour on there everytime they get on.

  31. I must say that I still disagree and am not swayed by these arguments.

    First off, I don’t think it’s very constructive to indirectly call everyone on Facebooks nerds and losers i.e.“go outside. get a girlfriend/boyfriend. find something better to do.” For the record I meet plenty of girls, hangout with my friends all the time and spend time outdoors.

    The telephone didn’t destroy face to face communication, and similarly Facebook doesn’t destroy your offline friend network.

  32. umm… i have a facebook now

  33. LMAO!

  34. amen buddy. facebook and all these social networking sites are aimed at idiots. unfortunately, there are so many idiots in the world that stupid sites like these continue to prosper.

  35. These sites are aimed for idiots but one. The site I’m making. hahagreat


  36. Couldn’t agree more…
    Check out facebook, explained by dinosaurs:
    Animation of dinosaurs explaining facebook

    You’ll probably enjoy it…

  37. If you are tired of facebook but want a way to connect with artists and musicians
    then you should check out www.putiton.com
    If you are tired of facebook but still want to connect with your friends then pick up the phone…

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