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Social networks (ala facebook) waste of time?

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memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 days 11 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12

I gotta admit, I don't really understand social networks and why are they so popular. To me it seems like a burdensome waste of time going to one of these, spending hours editing my profile and then what? Waiting for someone to contact me to become my "friend" or something? I very much doubt so. Instead I'd probably have to spend even more time on contacting other people to give the whole account any purpose.

I feel, somehow, having a blog and participating in some online communities like Libervis.com and Nuxified.org is quite enough. Add IRC to that and what else do you really need in terms of online socializing??

Fine I can see the point if someone joins these networks to get to know people who they could potentially meet in real life (being near the same location). Then it adds a little bit more to IRC/blogs/forums... but even so.. it just seems like wasting time on something non-essential... Maybe I am mistaken and maybe this is just a reflection of my bad state when it comes to really socializing with people, not just online around things of interest where friendships happen "accidentally" on the way, but really setting on to actually look for new friends.

Maybe, my almost total passivity in this regard is why I don't get social networks?

Although, I do participate (although not too actively) on a site that some people define as a social bookmarking site, digg.com, but even there I am not to really meet friends (even though I keep getting emails notifying I have new "fans" Laughing out loud ), but to.. well.. digg news!

Slightly related to this is the fact that a very large portion of what to many people seem like "normal" behaviour, to me is just cheesy and undesirable. Cheesy, it's lately one word which I most frequently use to disassociate myself from various things in the society around me.. The stupid teenage giggling when talking about some silly games or pranks or jokes or gossip - I can barely stand it! It so often feels like damn kids who will always be kids living in some sort of an ignorant bubble in which things of most importance seem to be "who banged whom" or "how sweeeeeeeeeeeeet that puppy is".. giggling and laughing about everything or crying like spoiled children about totally inconsequential things.

And no I'm not talking just about teens. Even mature people generally seem to be pre-occupied with stuff that just doesn't seem to matter as much to justify the amount of time and energy spent on blabbering on about them. Some could call it "being social" and "making a conversation", but to me it is more like "acting to be someone who I am not". For example, how many times do I find myself faking being impressed with something someone said just because that someone is a friend who I could supposedly hurt or just make think I am being rude if I don't get impressed by something... that is oh so clearly impressive.

This happens online too, even in communities like this, but how much more could it happen in these general social networks, populated by people who oh finally discovered the web as a way to hive up with their cheesy friends - carrying their unimportant wasteful conversations from their bedrooms, coffee shops, clubs, streets and phones to the net. Now I'm supposed to jump in there and find "friends".. by again acting that I'm someone who I am not.

Meh.

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Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 6 years 15 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
Wouldn't this fit better on

Wouldn't this fit better on your blog?

There are quite a few different kinds of social networks. My experiences...

- the school reunion kind: I registered at one of these so highschool friends I didn't stay in touch with could find me. Result: [insert sound of crickets here]

- livejournal: mostly used to know what's going on in the lives of people I already know. reminds me of birthdays. useful.

- orkut (in the very early days, my account doesn't exist anymore for years already): more or less equivalent to starting own web forums. fun for a while.

So, social networks aren't completely useless, but not worth the hype. And anyone trying to make as many "friends" as possible on these sites (which seems to be a popular hobby) has a very confused concept of friendship.

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 days 11 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
Yeah I thought of making it

Yeah I thought of making it a blog entry when I got carried away in the second part. Sticking out tongue

But well, this is a lounge so.. I guess it's ok now.

I think you're right too.. can be useful, but it's too hyped up. In fact I think real friendships are made "accidentally" better than in a "let's go find some friends" fashion. And yeah I think.. instead of whining about adapting requiring acting that I'm who I am not I should probably practice being who I am, no matter where that leads me.

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Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 2 years 11 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
Sometimes the whole thing

Sometimes the whole thing reminds me of the matrix.

Thing is, this myspace/bebo generation are growing up with a sense of having a right to express their views and the tools to do so.
When it comes to bigger issues as they grow up, will the traditional interfaces with government and employers meet their expectations?
If not, will they just accept the old ways or demand and actively organise change?

Encumbent powers predictably try to use the internet to subjugate the masses, pumping out the usual propaganda and providing no end of diversions. But change-makers are no longer so defeated by capital disadvantage which has traditional mass media under elite control. The game has changed. Now the interaction of individuals counts more online than capital. How can any budget be deployed in such a way that it defeats the sheer weight of numbers engaged in conversation?

When we consider social networks therefore, are we not looking at training grounds propagating the seeds of revolution? The only way to stop this ever expanding eDialectic is through totalitarianism, so it could be said that this rise in freedom presents a great threat to freedom...

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 days 11 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
democrates wrote: When we
democrates wrote:

When we consider social networks therefore, are we not looking at training grounds propagating the seeds of revolution? The only way to stop this ever expanding eDialectic is through totalitarianism, so it could be said that this rise in freedom presents a great threat to freedom...

I'm not sure I know what you mean. Social networks are seeds for a positive or a negative revolution? I suppose it may be negative if common social networks are just another way of propagating total conformism ("everyone is there so must I" or "if I'm not on a social network I'm not cool, not fitting in").

I can definitely see it from that angle. Just because internet is internet and allows so much flexibility and freedom of communicating, cooperating and creating doesn't mean that the majority of people may still use it as if it was just another medium to consume rather than really take power off, or that they wont simply bring their common ignorance online, essentially changing nothing but a method and range of their mostly unimportant (to the really world-changing stuff at least) communication.

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Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 2 years 11 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
Yes, it can become just

Yes, it can become just another tool for dispensing the opium of the masses, and much of the content is exactly that, trivial dross. If that's all it was yes it remains negative by being another diversion from things that count.

But, it seems the networks are now also buzzing with content regarding the US electoral process, when in history has there been such a level of freedom in popular political dialogue, unconstrained by the editorial biases in corporate tv and print media?

What difference it will make remains to be seen, is it a passing fad or will it become embedded as part of the process. Clearly people are enjoying this newfound freedom of expression, and they're not limiting their topics. Maybe when the dust has settled we'll see some stats on the proportion of campaign spending used for the internet, my guess is an upward trend as more people get active online, campaign managers will put money into places where they believe opinions are affected.

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 days 11 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
democrates wrote: Maybe
democrates wrote:

Maybe when the dust has settled we'll see some stats on the proportion of campaign spending used for the internet, my guess is an upward trend as more people get active online, campaign managers will put money into places where they believe opinions are affected.

I gotta say I'm kinda wary of campaigns entering those circles too. Campaigns are just that, campaigns, and recently they seem to be more about propaganda than real conversation. I don't necessarily oppose all propaganda, since I have to be realistic and admit that we may need some of that to spread ideas which are under-spread, and then start a real conversation, but how often is the propaganda by the mainstream parties followed by a real conversation?

Hmm I suppose the wait and see approach does apply. Perhaps simply the nature of the medium will force the campaigning in social networks (as it already is increasingly among blogs) to actually be about conversation.

You know.. I wish Ron Paul won the elections. It would really give me quite a boost of confidence into the real power of the internet. It is mostly young netizens who actually already learned to think for themselves that are supporting Ron Paul so much. He doesn't seem to be big in standard media (TV, newspapers etc.), but he seems to be practically NO 1 online. Let's see how that helps..

And he really does seem to be a potentially refreshing change for the USA...

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Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 2 years 11 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
US social networking sites see slow-down

From here and
here.

What's the half-life of novelty?
Seems to redeem the masses, the decline may be worse than those absolute figures suggest if you look at it as a percentage of overall online population, which I'm guessing is still growing.

User offline. Last seen 4 years 31 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2010-03-23
Re: Social networks (ala facebook) waste of time?

I think that the excessive amount of social networking website mixx,digg,delecious...etc and the list goes on and on, made the whole concept of social networking very confusing and time consuming because you can find most of the people having multiple accounts in multiple social networking websites, i mean how could you possibly keep track.
I am not aganist social networking though, infact i like the concept especially as you mentioned, that it is really great to meet local friends that you have a chance to meet in real life.

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sentient's picture
User offline. Last seen 4 years 27 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2010-04-06
Re: Social networks (ala facebook) waste of time?

@memenode
I agree with you on that they are a time eater.

One reason they are so popular is that people like to show off.
One of my high school buddies made a lot of money out of a deal of a TV ad.
And a few months later what do I see on Face?
His countrywide motorbike trip photos and a note : "I am going to London to a U2 concert
Was in my to do 100 b4 I die list."
OH man, I hated the guy. A guy a loved so much turned out to be an asshole.
Or am I jealous of him?
I think both.

AlexisAlbert's picture
User offline. Last seen 4 years 14 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2010-06-12
Re: Social networks (ala facebook) waste of time?

I really agree with you... Very Happy

Some people really don't understand that it's become an addiction for them...especially for kids...they spend lots of time on it...this is really crazy...parents should be aware...some unnecessary applications just keeping them/us busy for hour and hour in these websites...that can't be...

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