My Musings

August 7, 2011
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Facebook.. it’s not you. It’s me.

Dear Mark,
It’s hard for me to write this letter but it’s something I need to do. I know that you’ve picked up on changes in my behaviour – God knows you still know more about me than anyone else – but I need to come clean to you – there’s somebody else.I know this may come as a shock so I’m hoping my writing of this might answer some questions and help you to understand why I fear our relationship may be coming to an end.

The early years

We have been together for more than four years and I don’t want to leave you with an impression I think everything has been awful.

We had an amazing relationship in those early days. You helped me to reconnect with old friends, filled my diary with event invites, and gave me a single place to check out photos of the good times.

Soon I had pushed others to the side. Leaving Tom was easy when you gave me everything Myspace offered and so much more. Even MSN message – my ever reliable chat client – was forsaken for your less featured but totally embedded IM service. I woke up to you in the morning and went to bed with you at night.

Twitter infidelity

But the writing was on my wall. While you gave me a lot I still wanted more. It wasn’t long before I started flirting with others. Soon Twitter came along and it gave me something you never could – real social networking.

Sure it missed some of your bells and whistles but that was part of the charm. Better yet it wasn’t asking my to tend my fucking farm every five minutes. Twitter did one thing and did it well. More importantly it facilitated real sharing, it gave me access to all these people I could never interact with behind your walled gardens. It showed me I could build new relationships not just maintain socialisation with those I was already close.

The content shared was more relevant to my interests and less about what friends from high school were eating that night.

It was a rich resource, not just a time sink.

Times a-changing

Yes, you changed to take on some of Twitters good points, but you never quite replicated the experience. Still, there was a place for both of you on my desktop and you seemed to be happy enough with an open relationship. In a way I the two of you to segment my contacts, with real life friends on remaining on your platform and with new friends interacted with through Twitter.

It made sense, but as time went on things continued to sour. You picked up Beluga – my favourite group chat client – and then abused it; leaving it to wither and die. You messed with my privacy settings, purposefully making it difficult to hide content from those I wasn’t as close to. Sometimes I worried that you were getting too involved in my life, with targeted ads a little bit too close to home. Yes Facebook, I did just change my relationship status to single, but I don’t think I’m ready for internet dating just yet.

I needed a change.

Then Google came along

I had heard rumors that another might be on the way. It was tantalising. You and I had spent so much time together that any change was intriguing. And the change was coming from Google! Sure I didn’t have the same relationship with them that I had with you, but me and the big G were already very close. I was excited at the possibility of what might come.

When Plus was released I was first in line to get an invite. When I logged in it was so familiar, yet totally different. Everything you gave me – the updates, the photos, the chat – it was all still there, but all those things that pissed me off about you seemed to have been fixed. I could easily mix and match friends, colleagues and even those I had never met into different groups with no fear that my boss would come across a photo I didn’t want her to see. The content posted was richer, and I could choose to view just the posts under specific groups, making it easy to pick and choose what I wanted to read.

Sure it’s not totally perfect, but it’s a solid leap in the right direction.

I know you tried to show me you were willing to change, but fucking up you chat functionality was somehow not the improvement I was looking for.

I took the lead from others and we trialed separation for a week. Yes, I did feel like I was missing out on something and it will still be a while before all my friend make the switch as well, but it did show me I could live without you.

I’m not saying we’re totally done but I do want to spend a bit less time together. Maybe this will give you an opportunity to change. To grow. Maybe you’ll find a way to entice me back.

…but for now I’ll be giving your younger version a good poke.


2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Seb Mutimer

    August 8, 2011

    Nice post mate - it will be a slow progression away from Facebook but its an eerily similar feeling to when people started dabbling in Facebook and defecting from Myspace...

    • Reply

      LongStraws Admin

      August 8, 2011

      Thank Seb. The parallels are obvious but it's fair to say Facebook is a bit more ingrained into peoples daily usage than Myspace ever way. While I think it's a great competitor I still think Google has a massive fight on it's hands before they are going to be able to dethrone the incumbent.


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