"Your life is a mystery,
Mine is an open book."
- Patsy Kensit / Pet Shop Boys, I'm Not Scared

What exactly is the point of Facebook?

That's not a rhetorical question. I mean, what needs does it serve? What gaps does it fill? What does it do to improve your life? What does it let you do that you couldn't do before? What is Facebook for?

After people kept telling me I should join, I gave it a go. Right away, it wanted to know my age, sex, location, and relationship status. Right, so it's a dating site.

Then it gave me boxes to fill out for my educational history. So...it's for online CVs? There's also a microblogging applet, so it's a bit like Twitter, and some kind of video hosting for those who prefer to whitter into a webcam instead of onto a text editor.

I can, if I want, find out how many people with facebook accounts are called Scorpius - thirty six. There are also two hundred and eighty two self declared socialists in my home town - though thirteen of them are also christians.

There's over five hundred interest groups containing the word "heterosexual" - by the look of them, largely full of straight men who aren't exactly homophobic, but are "nervous" about being around gay blokes. Not to worry though, there's plenty more groups just with the word "queer" - and they're much bigger!

So Facebook is a way for me to find people who're a bit like me in some way, and/or live nearby. And perhaps chat about stuff we have in common. That's when I'm not taking pop culture trivia quizzes, flicking through the photograph albums of strangers, promoting my ebay auctions, being reminded of saint's days, learning ten new spanish words a day, sharing my "emotion status", keeping a database of family birthdays...or answering ads for "Local Singles".

The trouble with "it can be whatever you want it to be" is it winds up being a bit of everything and not much of anything.


  1. I've gotten a lot of invites to join Facebook, but I've declined them all. It's mostly great for sharing fotos and superficial contact with lots of people. And it does seem easier to use with a lot of the preprogrammed activities and questions. Only, it doesn't allow for the creativity and free thinking that blogging provides.

    I mean, I prefer to blog, because there's a certain freedom and inspiration that is inherent in blogging. Blogging lets you express thoughts and ideas and allow them to develop in ways you never even expected. That's part of the fun.

  2. ^That sight it too limited.

    Personally, I love facebook. When I joined up, it was limited to your individual school and was called "Thefacebook" which is still evident on my blog. I appreciate it because most of my friends have it and it is easier to keep in contact with them through the site than it is by other means. That's pretty much all I use it for, so if you keep it simple, I think you might find it useful too.

  3. the point of it is to emulate celebrity culture by making a 'character' of yourself, e.g. so-so says this or has done that. It's an ego trip for those that want to be somebody but are really quite normal and boring

  4. I used to be on Facebook, but I didn't have any Facebook friend. :-(

    I considered starting a "I have no Facebook friends" group, but of course as soon as anyone joined it, it would no longer be true.

  5. kap,i only suggested you join facebook so i could share some of my thoughts with you that i invariably forget when we meet and show you some of my comments cuz you keep telling me i should write a blog. this way,by not texting or calling,i can communicate with my friends on a larger and easier, not to mention cheaper,scale.
    i'm not vain enough to broadcast my thoughts to the world and have no desire to have 7000 friends who i know nothing about.but being,as you know,agoraphobic and thus not being able to see friends,it's been a good way to feel less alone and to see my friends interact with each other.yes,given the choice, i'd happily shut down my account and spend real time with them.that's not going to happen anytime soon.i don;t use it as a dating service, and you know why. i'm not using it to show off cuz i only only communicate with friends, not anyone else.
    it's, for me,a great thing.i love spending time with you,and if i were well gain, i'd still relih our time together and want to see you often.
    facebook helps me feel less isolated.

  6. oh, and i think you'd agree, i'm not normal,though i often wish i was, and if i were boring, as you yourself said, you wouldn't want to know me.