Thursday, September 17, 2009

Facebook: An Imminent Implosion

I hereby predict that Facebook is about to die. Or perhaps 'implode' would be a better word.

The main mistake they made was, I think, allowing external applications free entry. These apps may have been fun in the beginning, with people taking nonsensical quizzes and publishing them on their pages. But now the site is so cluttered with applications, and people are so addicted to using them, that the Facebook Homepage has become a flowing stream full of garbage.

Why do I go on Facebook? To keep up with my friends. I go to my Homepage and I check status updates. I check if people have uploaded photos. I spy on random wall conversations.

But now there are so many people and so many applications that most of the stuff on my Home page is just spam. Going by their Facebook activity, the people I know have nothing in their lives except Facebook. They take random quizzes. They open fortune cookies. They ask gurus what their future is going to be like. They tag their Top Friends' photos. They update their status ten times a day. They link their FB status to their Twitter account and spam even more. They play Mafia Wars and Farmville. In short, they spam.

So I get an email telling me that X has tagged me in a photo on Facebook. I follow the link eagerly, wondering which pic it could be. And then I find something called the 'Top Fans' application. I have been tagged because I am X's Top Fan. Yeah right. I curse X mentally and go to my Homepage to see what my other friends have been up to. And what do I see there? Y has just discovered that Z is her enemy of the day! M just opened a fortune cookie and his fortune is, "You shall rot in hell for publishing this on your wall!"

Am I actually expected to trawl through this junk just to keep up with my friends? Bah - I decide that I might as well just call them up or depend on good old-fashioned email.

It could be argued, of course, that these apps are not killing Facebook, but merely adding to it so that it becomes more than a mere social networking site - it is also now a site that people turn to for entertainment. And I don't mean the 'Let me check how fat my sworn enemy from college has become' type of entertainment. I mean the 'I have time to kill and there's nothing interesting on TV, let's see if I can find an interesting game to play' sort of entertainment.

But my problem here is this: social networking necessarily means connecting with people. But most of these apps do not involve such connections - they are things that people do by themselves to amuse themselves. The only way they involve others is if the results are published - something people actually do with irritating frequency, I might add. Sooner or later users are going to realize that the whole 'connecting with friends' part has been erased from the Facebook experience.

Which is why Facebook is just ripe to go the Orkut way. I bet that, the minute another social networking site comes along, offering people an even cleaner interface and the chance to log in and get updated on their friends' lives without having to fight their way through masses of junk, Facebook is going to die. It's going to be a long, slow death, but it's going to happen.

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naween said...

wait until your friends are 1-2 yrs into a job...


i totally agree with you..last one month has been real bad with the amount oh taged photos.. random tags that too.. we cant even block it..hoping they do something about it..

shrik said...


B. Greasemonkey + FB Purity is your friend :-)

C. FB is making giant wads of money, so if there's something they would need to do to stay relevant, they'll do it.

FB will be around as long as it can be de-crapified, which it currently can..

Jade said...

Naween: Going by our seniors, they'll become even worse. ;)

Gaurav: Yup, those photo things are exactly what triggered this post.

Shrik: Liking FB Lite. FB Purity doesn't work with my Firefox for some reason. :(

Manny said...

DUUUUUDE. You like Haruki Murakami's books? Or is Kafka on the Shore your first book of hers?

Jade said...

Nope, this is the first one, except for a half-read short story collection. But why do you ask? Btw, it's a he, not a she. :D

R said...

Yes. I am there because I get Megadeth and such updates, Also because menwhopause has a group there, etc. I wonder what the next one will be called. After an Orkut, a Facebook, I think it's time for a no-nonsense, straightforward SpamTime.