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  • Lance Mannion
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Jennifer Ouellette

Better living through Facebook doesn't necessarily involve writing things on people's walls. There's all the spiffy applications, like BoozeMail (allowing you to send people virtual drinks), Scrabulous (whereby you challenge friends to excruciatingly drawn out games of SCRABBLE), of the Virtual Bookshelf (whereby you can let everyone knkw what you're reading, have read, and want to read, with links to Amazon). You can join a TV Trivia team, take the Movie Compatibility quiz, and I'm surprised nobody has yet "bitten" you and turned you into a zombie yet. (Biting others is entirely optional.)

In short, Facebook is more silly and frivolous than being about "serious" networking, but that's its appeal. I've found it far more fun and engaging than MySpace (I had a page there for all of two weeks -- the trauma is still with me), and a nice way to get short regular updates on what your friends are doing... from the mundane to the significant.

Susie from Philly

Hey Lance, won't you be my Facebook friend and help me fight zombies?

Bill Altreuter

When blogging was new, I found that quite a few people had only one question: "Why?". It was harder to explain than I thought it should be, and it gradually dawned on me that it was something that one either grasped intuitively, or just didn't get. I fall into the latter category with Facebook. If people want to read about what I'm thinking about, I have a blog for that. If I want to update someone about what I am doing I can email or IM them. My daughters have taken two approaches to explaining it to me: the oldest thinks it is creepy that I am on it, and stays pointedly away. Her sister has "friended" me, but can't describe what the point of the thing is.

I hate it. It makes me feel old that I don't understand a tech thing. Stupid Facebook-- I think it is for kids.

merciless

I'm with Bill. I can't figure the damn thing out at all, and that makes me feel even older and stupider than I usually do.

The closest I can come to is to think of Luna Lovegood's comment: It's like having friends.

SAP

Hey, Lance! Won't you be my friend? I don't have enough zombie points yet.

Claire

Lance I just tried searching for you and found 6 Lance Mannions on facebook. Surely you're not all six. Or are you?

Linkmeister

Hmm. I haven't looked there in a while (I'm listed under my real name, if anyone cares); which Mannion are you?

shayera

Don't listen to Susie, her zombie gets beaten up all the time. Okay, fine, by my zombie. If you add me as a friend, I promise to not throw a sheep at you. No guarantees as to what else might be sent your way, though. ;-)

Susie from Philly

Shayera, yours is the ONLY zombie whose ass I haven't kicked. But my day will come.

shayera

Susie, muahahahaha.

joanr16

It appears Bill is right about it being for kids.

Ken Houghton

It's "on Facebook"--as in "on crack/horse/'something'."

gabriel christou

please visit
www.gabrielchristou.blogspot.com

you will see PHOTOS of WHO and WHERE Bin Laden and his NETWORKS ARE….

URGENT…PLEASE HELP…. I CANNOT FROM HERE….. I AM BLOCKED ALL AROUND
FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO THE FBI.

gavriild@gmail.com

Frenchdoc

Let's see: one post on Facebook attracts:
1. juvenile banter as to whose zombies kick ass
2. 1 (slightly)-demented conspiracy theorist / troll (fully equipped with ALL CAPS)

Lance, I think you got all the info you needed right here in your own "virtual" backyard.

Frenchdoc

By the way, Kevin Drum has a post on this very topic... http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2007_10/012371.php
You can add him as your friend! :-)

Rana

I've thrown a sheep at you!

I believe it's "on" Facebook but it took me a while to figure out how basic things like the Wall work, so who knows... I've several friends who have a picture instead of a portrait, so I don't think you MUST have a photo of yourself - I have one because (a) I like the photo, and (b) if someone wants to distinguish me from all the other people with my name during a friend search, they can see it's me. But if you're not wanting to make it easy for random people to find you, there's no need for it.

Mostly I find that it's a nice adjunct to blogging; one is for writing and sharing ideas, while the other is for hanging out with the friends I found while blogging. Plus I get to use my real name online for once! and to put names and photos to those otherwise pseudonymous folks.

(One way to get around the public photo thing is to use a filler for your avatar, and to have a photo album that only friends can see.)

If you'd like to join Scrabulous, let me know. I'll set up a game for us. :)

harry near indy

lance, skip facebook and go with myspace.

the girlfriend of my nephew, who graduated this spring from high school, told me this:

while facebook has a rep that preppy/academic kids/budding young gopers post there, myspace is a little more bohemiam/ outside the establishment -- the goth/rockers/nerds/artists post there.

just like me, man.

(btw, how do you do the emoticon of devil horns?)

Jennifer Ouellette

Facebook is for kids? Um, I'm in my early 40s. Maybe it's for those of us still in tune with our inner kids.

Just like blogging, the Facebook experience (or any other social networking site) is whatever you want it to be -- you can opt out of silly zombie warfare, or go nuts and really get into the spirit of the thing. Personally, because my blog is professional (apart from the occasional indulgence in snark), I like having a Facebook presence for more purely social engagement. My "friends" are pretty much those I've actually met or interacted with via email or blogging, and they tend to be smart, savvy, just a little bit silly, without being insane or immature.

<*curmudgeon mode on*> MySpace? Pul-LEEZ. Difficult to use, crazy graphics make it hard on the eyes, and every time you visit somebody's page, you're forced to listen to whatever godawful dreck they think passes as music. <*curmudgeon mode off*> I agree, it's great if you're in a band or have a CD you're trying to promote, but for those of us looking for for a more streamlined social networking site, Facebook has a bit more appeal.

Then again, Microsoft just made a huge investment. Facebook could soon be evil. Kill those zombies while you can, Lance! :)

Chuck

I had the same problem Claire did. I found six Lance Mannions.

I'm not quite sure why I use Facebook, but I have been able to reestablish a couple of connections that way, in much the same way that blogs and MySpace pages have allowed me to reconnect with a few people. I like the Movie Compatibility tests, among other things, and because I don't have a digital camera, I actually like the fact that others have posted pictures of me there, if only because I feel like entire years of my life have gone visually undocumented.

Other than that, it's yet another relatively harmless online time sink.

Coturnix

Go to my blog and search for Facebook - there is some serious stuff there. Oh, and happy to be one of your first FB friends. Oh, and you have just won an Award:

http://scienceblogs.com/clock/2007/10/intellectual_blogger_award.php

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