Sunday, January 4, 2009

Facebook: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I've been "against" Facebook for awhile now. Some of this is due to privacy issues, as illustrated at, some is due to this issues our pre-service teachers have had with how public they are on Facebook, and it has a bit to do with the fact my brother (who was just starting university) said I should try it and I told him it looked, well, useless (and I can't allow my brother to be correct now can I ;). However, my research is on Social Networking and I do quite a bit of it outside of Facebook, so why not take the plunge! The original idea was to keep Facebook my "personal" space and keep using this blog and my twitter as my "professional" space. But as we all well know, world's collide and I have just as many "professional" friends on facebook as ever. But I believe I will still try and keep my world's a bit seperate. I'm pretty sure my friends from high school don't want to know the latest on PLNs :) But so far, my thoughts on Facebook can be summarized as:

The Good
The interface is nice and clean. It's easy to find friends and groups. A good deal of the Social Networking System (SNS) research notes that most users connect to people they already know. In fact one of the first SNSs was - so I'm not surprised to see alumni groups so popular in Facebook. It was great to connect with old school mates and distant family members. The photo sharing capabilities are top notch - with tagging people the most useful (and potentially harmful see The Ugly).

The Bad
It has been difficult to determine whom to friend and whom not to friend. How much do I share with my professional life of my private. There are also some very chain letterish things such as "gifting" to others, etc. The good news is that with a host of FB privacy settings, you can keep your info almost completely private.

The Ugly
There are still some things you can't control. If someone tags you in a picture and their FB page is public - so is that photo of you. If you don't want that picture up there, they have to take it down. I also have issues with the advertising. Now some of the side advertising is pretty harmless, but I have issues with the advertising that is made to look as though it is apart of the group page. There were sevral times I clicked on somethig thinking it was FB related, when it went to a completely different site. I can accept that they need advertising to run, but don't try to trick me into it.

All in all I have to say that my FB expereince has been overwhelmingly positive. I've enjoyed connecting with old friends, and am glad to have a place that is similar to twitter, but for the more personal side of me :)

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