Eric Stewart: Running Off At The Mouth

Social Networking – My Experiences

by Eric Stewart on Apr.24, 2009, under Technology, The Internet

So yeah – I used to use MySpace. But it got away from me.

I was originally only on MySpace because of my sister. Go figure that she had her account(s) removed well before I will/did. Now on Facebook, I originally joined that because of a work task that didn’t pan out.

Don’t get me wrong – if you like living your life under a microscope that anyone can look into or don’t already have a home page and you want it publicly available, then MySpace might just be for you – it’s very full featured and the default is that even people without accounts can see most of your stuff. Facebook, on the other hand, seems a little more … protected. I have yet to see spam on Facebook outside of comments on images (and even then only in the “Owned” app, which I’m no longer using).

MySpace makes it much easier for you to customize the layout and style of your pages; Facebook fits you into their layout. Thing is, if all you really want is to keep in touch with your friends, then you really don’t care much about the background colors and what have you. Besides, browse through a couple of MySpace pages and you’re sure to come across at least one that would work as a textbook example of a collection of failures at web design.

Both, it seems, suffer from similar issues when it comes to who “friends” are. In my experience quite a few people were MySpace friends – even folks I’d never talked to outside of MySpace. Facebook, while not quite as … “free” … in it’s interpretation of the word “friend”, still results in people asking for Friendship that you barely knew.  As examples:

  • Several of my friends are folks who worked in my place of employment, but in a completely different area.  Many of them I’m not even sure I ever officially met, and I only remember their names because I created their accounts.
  • Seeing as how I had four different high schools growing up, it wouldn’t be surprising if I had no school friends.  But I have one from my junior year spent in Hawaii (at least I think that’s where I know that guy from) and three from my senior year spent in Florida.
  • A few are former coworkers that I’m not particularly close to.

Someone once said to me that Friendship on Facebook is like a handshake.  That might be fairly accurate.  Friendship on MySpace is like saying “Yo” across a crowded room.

And I personally find it hard to deny Friendship on Facebook if the name of the person sounds familiar (which ain’t all that easy for me because if people know me as “BotFodder”, your FB name isn’t the name I know you as).  I have denied Friendship requests – just not to anyone I thought I at least one time knew.

I often wonder about people who have the time to keep up with it all.  It just seems like there isn’t enough time in the day for me to hold a job, take care of things at home, play the odd round of Battlefield 2 (which, lately, I haven’t had the chance to do as much as I used to), and keep up with Facebook (which, if you get sucked in to every little app, can be a huge waste of time), MySpace (which I’ll probably be officially dropping before long), my website (all three aspects of it, though the lack of diving lately makes it a bit easier), the online comics I read, and Twitter (which I will cover on this blog post eventually).

Now, going off on a tangent, because it’s something I wanted to cover here … if you’re not someone I “know”, what the heck are you doing reading this?  Google send you here?  Friend of a friend?  Are you my stalker du jour?  I don’t read much in the way of blogs; I don’t often have the time to do so, and the people I might read don’t blog.  Even the people I follow on Twitter who blog a lot … well, I’ve read maybe one @wilw post, but I even recently stopped following him because he tweeted so much about stuff I could care less about.

So yeah, I mentioned Twitter.  Twitter for me isn’t a huge time sink; I mainly use my tweets to either reply to tweets I’ve read, or (more often) to update my Facebook status.  I’ve heard Twitter called “microblogging”, which is why at the bottom of the index pages for, you’ll see recent tweets of mine.  You pick who you follow; I follow a friend or two and a couple of notable folks.  I freely stop following folks if it starts to feel like spam.  I think I’ve heard someone comment on the Signal-to-Noise ratio when it comes to Twitter.  Follow a lot of folks and it might be fair comment to say that the S-N is low.  For me, for some folks I’ve followed, it’s usually Gems-to-Cruft; you have to wade through “I’m really excited about that last hockey play” or “I’m eating mac-and-cheese” to get gems like “@neilhimself: Is there anywhere I could order a clutching dead zombie hand that would stand up to midwestern outdoors weather? It’s to perk up a headstone” or the two tweets from @brentspinter where he couldn’t remember what Star Trek movie Tom Hardy had been in … and then where he (with a little embarassment) thanked everyone for letting him know it was Nemesis (you know, the one where Brent’s character Data dies).  Some folks have higher G-C thank others.  Some folks go through phases; I’ve since dropped all the Star Trek guys I was following (sorry Brent; your little story stuff was fascinating from a writing perspective but it just dragged on … cue the Monty Python “Too silly!” scene).

So, after all that, what’s my advice to you?

Run away!

And if you get sucked in, pick one (at least when it comes to Myspace vs Facebook), and be choosy:

  • Facebook: be careful about what apps you get sucked in to
  • Twitter: feel free to stop following verbose people
  • Blogs: look for the short ones (Too late!  You’ve already read the whole post!)
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