6 Silly Things Facebook Taught Us About Social Networking

As an early adopter of Facebook, I’ve been able to see the ups and downs of Mark Zuckerberg’s creation. Fortunately, through all of it, I’ve learned quite a few things along the way. Some of these insights are more disturbing than others, while others just make no sense whatsoever.

So let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first:

 

1. Everyone Loves Farms (and Gangsters)

The words “farm” and “gangster” could never appear in the same sentence, until now. For some amazing reason, people like to build farms and waste people — who’d of thought that? Furthermore, who would have thought that so many people would have been interested in it as well? With all that time spent playing these games, surely people must be unproductive.

 

2. But It's Okay To Be Unproductive

Why work when you can play on Facebook all day instead? That’s what most people are supposedly doing on the job anyways. If they don’t have a job at a desk with a computer hooked up to the Internet, they have a job at a local Barnes & Noble with a smart phone and are always “poking” their Facebook friends while they should be sorting magazines (true story). It’s unbelievable, really.

 

3. Bashing Employers Online: Not So Smart

If there is something that I can expect to see on Facebook when I check it near the end of the day, it is that there is going to be someone on there complaining about their job or their boss. This has traditionally been done with coworkers or friends while talking (yeah, some people still do that), and it doesn’t leave a trace of evidence. Facebook, on the other hand, leaves a trace of everything you do on the site, and considering Facebook’s constant changes to the privacy policy, those complaints might be broadcasting to the world, or to a friend of your boss, or who knows?

 

4. Privacy Is Pointless

Speaking of privacy: it pretty much doesn’t exist on Facebook — to assume otherwise would be crazy. Posting pictures of you in bars being wild is probably not too smart. A simple solution is to think of Facebook like Twitter: assume everything is being broadcast to the world. It makes you safer and it makes Facebook feel better because that is exactly what the company wants.

 

5. User Experience Has No Meaning

Just as MySpace, even to this day, has an interface that I can’t even be bothered to deal with, Facebook has been changing around their interface so much that it makes it nearly impossible to get comfortable. But what is worse is that each change seems to be a step backwards. For example, notice how the notifications bar has moved to the top of the page? If you are scrolled down even the slightest bit, the notifications disappear, and I’ve gone hours not knowing I’ve had a new notification simply because I nudged the page down a bit too far. It’s ridiculous!

 

6. A Boyfriend/Girlfriend Is A Click Away!

If you happen to see the advertising that appears on Facebook, you just might have noticed the nearly endless supply of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” wanted advertising that appears in the sidebar. I have seen far too many these advertisements (Facebook knows me far too well), with some of them being borderline nudity. Then again, perhaps Facebook is a great place to start building an intimate relationship from. Well, maybe not.

After you share this post with all your Facebook friends (you know you want to), be sure to tell us what Facebook has taught you in the comments below!

Written by James Mowery

James Mowery is a passionate technology journalist and entrepreneur who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.
SEE MORE ARTICLES BY "James Mowery"

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Comments
  • platoon

    u coudnt have sed it any better

  • arnold

    I love this post, because faacebook really sucks! lol ,
    facebook taught me , that some users sometimes really dont care
    for whatever thay saying on the facebook Wall , geez

  • http://technecatscratchings.wordpress.com/ kvweber

    I forgot where I read it now, but I remember an article where they were throwing around names for the Facebook UX. I think that “confuser-interface-design” was my favorite and #5 definitely backs that up. Half the time I can’t even tell how to get to places on the homepage and I’ve studied this stuff.

    On the other hand, I find the little Flash games to be super addictive. Yeah, I say that I’m studying them for my 2D gaming and design courses, but really I just like to play with fake pets that don’t poop. Oh, and running a restaurant. Someone needs to explain to me why that’s fun, because I don’t get it but it doesn’t stop me from playing it.

  • Jo Dean

    Wow, thats amazing stuff dude. Well DOne.

    Lou

  • jenny

    facebook also thought me that “friends” on facebook is totally different from “friend” in real life.
    friends on facebook add comments,likes,poke me on the website but when i see them on campus, we have nothing to talk about!

    • https://hyperreal.info/blog/agquarx/ Miranda McKennitt

      That’s because you friend either too many people or you don’t have a lot to talk about yourself ;-) I did delete my account on Facebook, but I managed to borrow a lot of money from my Facebook friends! If that is not real friendship (no, I did not delete the account because I don’t want to give it back, I still have contact with them on…Twitter), and I even did not see a single one of them in so called real life!

  • Sarah

    Facebook has taught me that most people no longer know how to spell; nor do they bother with silly things like grammar, or punctuation.

    • https://hyperreal.info/blog/agquarx/ Miranda McKennitt

      It’s chat. I don’t know how it is in YOUR part of Internet, but in my part we don’t point out misspellings and bad punctuaction when we are in chat-like environments. But maybe it’s just MY part of the Internet, I am old-school after all.

  • sylvia

    @jenny: right on..

  • http://www.pameladowie.co.uk pamela dowie

    Facebook is best used as a profile tool for promoting something in public and the privacy tools are great to keep in touch with friends. Bad publicty last for ever, good PR takes a hell of a lot of work

  • http://www.markcorsillo.com supermark

    half of your complaints about the UI are baseless. why is there the new online friends list? because that shows the people you talk to most at a glance, without you having to open up the full online friends list. the links on the top bar are repeated on both sides because of the way people’s brains work- users grew accustomed to having the link on one side, and facebook is trying to wean them off of that and onto the new way. the links in the sidebar don’t list of detail, and the boxes on the right only give snapshots of events happening very soon. as far as your “why not make these tabs like the links” comment, those tabs don’t do the same thing at all. one of the tabs is for the top news, the other for the most recent. both of those fall under the category of “news feed.”

    try harder next time (preferably after doing any research on user interface design).

    • https://hyperreal.info/blog/agquarx/ Miranda McKennitt

      IMHO, most people find it confusing. If they find it confusing, I don’t care how “well” it is “designed”. It is not good if most people find it confusing. Am I right or am I right? Yes, I did read several books on interface design. I think Facebook design is TERRIBLE and HORRIBLE.

  • http://twitter.com/rvause Rick

    I am on board with #2! I have a number of co-workers that spend a worrying amount of time on facebook. Unlike other social tools like twitter, its just not passive enough to be used during a working day whilst remaining productive.

    @Jenny: I totally agree with that, I actually started purging my connections based on that criteria.

  • http://www.awgcables.co.cc awgcables

    I don’t get what everyone’s going nuts about.. facebook is pretty useful. Worst-case scenario: the whole world knows i went to a party a month back and I like Pink Floyd.

  • http://www.asiamarketeers.com lana

    good points put together, thanks for sharing! and i cannot agree more on point 5 – absolutely terrible usability. would have expected more from FB.

  • http://www.techwatch.co.uk/ Techwatch

    the fact is work is where everyone does their social networking , at least if they can get away with it

  • http://lincolnapparel.com/ Lincoln

    Facebook has to be one of the worst UI abominations of the last decade, and of all time. It’s like a web version of a bad Windows 3.1 program. The many changes that have been made to it make it a pain to find what you’re looking for, if you even know where it is. I’ve been using computers for over 25 years and it’s hard for me to remember anything this bad.

    I think some of this is actually intentional – e.g. to prevent users from locking down their profiles using the privacy settings. Facebook doesn’t want you to have privacy.

    All of these are good reasons why I no longer use Facebook.

  • http://lincolnapparel.com/ Lincoln

    Facebook has to be one of the worst UI abominations of the last decade, and of all time. It’s like a web version of a bad Windows 3.1 program. The many changes that have been made to it make it a pain to find what you’re looking for, if you even know where it is. I’ve been using computers for over 25 years and it’s hard for me to remember anything this bad.

    I think some of this is actually intentional – e.g. to prevent users from locking down their profiles using the privacy settings. Facebook doesn’t want you to have privacy.

    All of these are good reasons why I no longer use Facebook.

  • http://www.twitter.com/SmurfGalak Shirley

    I’m with you and Rick here. I have co workers who spend lots of time on their Farmville and Cafe World. They schedule things around cooking time and send others into panic if the Internet is down and they can not get to their cows and sheep.

    I suppose it is no different from the amount of time I spend online reading blogs, it just surprise me games like those keep one occupied so much.

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