I have now heard it said by a few different people: Facebook is over. The social networking tool that the world fell in love with has become so thoroughly embraced that it is no longer useful or fun.
According to Facebook’s “Press Room” page, Facebook is a social networking tool with more than 150 million active users. The fastest growing user demographic is people over 30. The site is available in 35 different languages. Worldwide, more than 3 billion minutes per day are spent on the site.
That’s a lot of minutes. What do people spend that many minutes doing on Facebook?
They spend a lot of time looking up long-lost friends and lovers, then adding them as “friends.” A Facebook friend is a person you are digitally associated with. When you become friends with someone, you can do things like post on their page (called their ‘wall’), read their status updates, and see what their other friends are saying. This is all fine and good. To a point.
Yes, it’s great to be back in touch with someone who you went to high school with. When you become Facebook friends with the person who sat in front of you in 11th grade history, you initially think it is great to hear that he’s doing well. He tells you that he’s had some bumps along the road, but things are now going smoothly. You politely exchange information, then run out of things to say directly to each other. The problem is that when you are done with your initial pleasantries, information about him continues to come.
Information about the 11th grade history guy can come in forms such as a list of “25 Random Things About Me.” If you have not heard about this yet, it is possible that you live under a rock. The New York Times even reported on it. “25 Random Things About Me” is exactly what it sounds like – a list of 25 things a person chooses to share with their Facebook friends. These things range all over the place in terms of oversharing, from the very simple:
“I hate olives.”
“I secretly want a mini van.”
“I wish I could go back in time and change my college major.”
To the disturbing:
“Throughout my life, I have fantasized and hoped for a violent end. I am now past that.”
“I sometimes consider leaving my family.”
“I am in Sexaholics Anonymous.”
I have received all of this information through “25 Random Things About Me.” Are these things you really want to hear from people you barely know? Yet, these lists of “25 Random Things About Me” have spread like wildfire throughout the enormous Facebook community.
Aside from receiving random thing after random thing, the longer you are on Facebook, the larger your community of friends grows. As hard as you may try to limit your friends to people you have legitimately been friendly with over the past 30 years, you still end up with people on your friends list who are not really your friends. People you haven’t spoken to in a decade. People you barely spoke to when you knew them a decade ago. While I wish these people well, I do not require knowledge of their minor daily activities.