I'm probably going to lose a lot of Friends with this post, but I need to get some stuff off my chest about Facebook. If you're a real Friend, you'll listen without judgment. If not, it was nice Facebooking with you. I hope there are no hard feelings left in my wake.

Like most of us, my love affair with Facebook started out hot 'n heavy. Almost daily (sometimes even hourly), I watched my Friend meter go up like an investor watches a stock ticker. And the sheer voyeurism of it all was just so hard to resist. (Admit it, you've looked up at least one ex just to see their profile picture or better yet, get access to their photo album. And you couldn't help but smile to yourself when you noticed their Freshman 15 had turned into the Desk Jockey 30.)

Now, the relationship is starting to bore me and I don't know what to do about it. In addition to the boredom (I'm running out of people to spy on, er, I mean beFriend), I find myself feeling rather annoyed. Often. Yet I don't want to break up with Facebook either. I just want to keep Funny Face around for those Friday nights when I want to be amused.

While I'm at it, know what annoys me the most about FF? The constant nattering when I don't feel like talking. Only a few of my Friends do it, but they're kind of ruining it for my BFFs. Specifically, it's the constant influx of emails that is making me want to start deFriending like a highschool cheerleader with PMS. I'm not talking about FunWall notifications either. I turned those off when I became afraid my hard drive was going to crash from Fun overload. But seriously, where does it say in the Facebook Terms of Use that it may be used as a list management tool? Where and when did I give permission to my Friends to use me this way?

In fact, Facebook's Terms of Use say this:

"... you agree not to use the Service or the Site to: harvest or collect email addresses or other contact information of other users from the Service or the Site by electronic or other means for the purposes of sending unsolicited emails or other unsolicited communications ..."

So, you can't harvest emails from your Friends' profiles to market to them, but what about the Invite Your Friends feature? And how come it allows you to "Import Email Addresses" from various sources? Seems that Funny Face has developed a split personality. Or an inflated ego.

This relationship is getting complicated. So many rules--written and unwritten--have been broken. I don't want to sound like an ingrate. Funny Face has been good to me. We go back at least a few months. The tapestry of our affair is richly decorated.

Decorated with smileys. And hugs. And dirty video clips. And spam.

I just wanted to hook up with some old friends. Do a little B2B networking. And exchange some niceties now and then.

Facebook, you let me down. And I don't know what to do about it.

May 7, 2008

Karri Flatla is a business graduate of the University of Lethbridge and principal of snap! virtual associates inc., a virtual consulting firm providing business communications and Internet marketing services to the progressive entrepreneur. Karri also produces Outsmart, the email newsletter for small business with big purpose. Visit http://www.snap-va.com for more information. Click to follow Karri on Twitter.


Go to LinkedIn instead? ;-)

The sooner Facebook does away with all those silly applications the better for all. If that's not spam, then I don't know what is!

I couldn't handle facebook anymore. It was way more of a nuisance than a benefit, so I've just quit. I'll use LinkedIn for professional networking, and my friends can contact me the old fashioned way - email.

I agree with Robert – it’s the applications. I came to Facebook to keep in touch with people, and to share content with them. This should be easy to do without all the noise. But, I find that this model of community has soured – a lot. Sure, I’d love to share content with others, and I want them to share it with me (within reason - no pictures of kittens will be tolerated). But, I don’t want to have to download every application under the sun in order to do it.

Managing the stuff people were sending started to become like a job, and not a very productive one, until I just gave it up. I use it mostly for email now (it's great for that), and let the other stuff just sit. I don’t have time or inclination to turn people into vampires, or send them pictures of stuff and call it a “gift”. It just seems to me that Facebook has become less the tool for use to connect with others, and more the one which allows people to increase the volume of stuff in my life that I have to throw out. As Python said, I don’t like spam.

I agree - but I just ignore the noise.. I don't like having things thrown at me.. I don't like being poked - or challenged. It seems like it's a giant suck of time I just don't have - and I don't want to hurt feelings, but it's out of my control. So I duck in and duck out and that's that. Maybe the day will come when I feel different. But that's not today.

so you didn't lose me with this.



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