The IT Guy: Now everyone really is on Facebook

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The IT Guy: Now everyone really is on Facebook

By MORGAN BONNER
theitguy@islandpacket.com
Published Sunday, July 1, 2012   |  672 Words  |  

I am not, by nature, a "joiner," and in general I try as hard as possible to avoid doing whatever it is the "cool" kids are doing. This probably explains why I didn't have a girlfriend until I was 20 (sigh), but it definitely helps explain why I never joined Facebook.

When it became clear that Facebook was something the popular people were doing, I instinctively recoiled and instead focused all my attention on Twitter, which I saw as a more valuable social media service anyway.

I had managed to maintain this status quo for many years but had recently begun to see the writing on the wall. There are a growing number of apps out there that require a Facebook login to use. It's just much easier for an app developer to use Facebook's user API than to create and manage one of their own.

The most famous example of this is the Spotify music service -- new users must sign in with their Facebook credentials to use it.

It was pretty clear the world was going to move on with or without me, so a few weeks ago I bit the bullet. Reactions immediately poured in from around the globe (and I do mean immediately -- do you people just LIVE on this thing or what?).

One former colleague posted "Morgan, I knew this day would come" while another offered up an "OH MY GOD YOU FINALLY DID IT." In addition, my wife directed a very convincing "Baaaaaaa" sound at me when I told her I was now a Facebook user (that was a sheep by the way).

As you are undoubtedly aware, upon logging in for the first time, you are asked to find friends. Then you are supposed to find some more friends. Finally, you need to find some friends.

I get that this is the point of the service, but constantly throwing in my face whatever algorithm Facebook uses to determine who it thinks should be my friends grew irritating almost immediately. Why continue to show me the same people over and over again, when I am clearly not taking the opportunity to "friend" them?

In any case, the process of adding friends was entirely too stressful. I, of course, added my actual friends, but what exactly is a "Facebook friend"? Do I add my boss? He's cool, so OK. What about my boss's boss? Is it appropriate to send her a friend request? Am I expected to add my other co-workers? I spend 40-plus hours a week with these people, now I have to look at pictures of their kids' goldfish, too?

Then a link popped up with an offer to show me people from my high school on Facebook -- now this I was actually looking forward to, a chance to possibly reconnect with old friends. I found, incredulously, that they did not provide an option to filter the search results by my graduating class year, despite having asked me what year I graduated when I first signed up. It's OK, Facebook, let me just scroll through the 19,000 listings of people who at some point in the past 70 years went to my high school. I didn't have anything else to do this month.

Once I got through the initial setup, I quickly saw the appeal of the service. Having one centralized location to see all the goings-on in my friends' lives is obviously a great resource. I just wish someone would have given me some advice before I joined -- that advice being "choose your friends wisely." I've already had to "unsubscribe" from one person and am seriously considering doing the same with another. Anyway, I doubt I'll use Facebook all that much but will check in from time to time.

How else am I going to see a fuzzy camera phone picture of what my "friend" had for lunch that day?