Messaging On Social Media Sites

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 by Mistlee

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Messaging On Social Media Sites

By Thomas Hawk

Jeremy Wagstaff has a blog post out saying Facebook is dead. It's not dead really, it's just that he's noticing that he's not getting any significant news feedy like information.

I used to really be into Facebook. When they first opened it up I joined and really was into it for a while. The poking thing was a novelty and fun at first. I liked seeing when my friends were breaking up or getting hitched. I played around a bit in the Photowalking group. Made a few groups of my own. The news feed was fun to watch.

I think what really started to annoy me though was when they "opened" Facebook up and I started having all these incredibly inane messages pushed out at me about whether or not I wanted this widget or that widget, superhugs, bearhugs, cocktails, superhero of the year awards, show me what's in your medicine cabinet, etc. etc. Boring drivel and crap.

For a while I was actually using the email messaging on Facebook more than my regular email. But soon this got filled up with all kinds of drivel as well and so I just stopped checking it mostly. I can barely keep up with my regular email -- which is *a lot* better these days since turning over it's management to gmail.

Every so often I still get an interesting message on Facebook. A few weeks back a woman asked me if I'd remove her name from a photo I published of her and her child (I did). That was interesting. But generally Facebook is mostly crap. The only thing I really do there anymore is confirm friend requests every so often.

Conversations just aren't happening on Facebook and so maybe Facebook really is dead. Like the critics said originally, kids these days are pretty fickle.

Where am I going to find conversations instead? Well all over the web really. In the past 48 hours I've participated in conversations on Flickr, Zooomr, Pownce, Twitter, Friend Feed, my blog, other people's blogs. Conversations are happening in very fragmented places. But they are not happening on Facebook, at least for me, and so the site is largely beginning to be ignored by me.

On Flickr I participate in a forum called Delete Me Uncensored, don't bother clicking through unless you've set your Flickr preferences to see "adult" material. The group is not for the weak of stomach as it truly is uncensored and many people are frequently offended there, but it's a real community with real conversations. Some of them are ugly and crazy and pointless. But others are super interesting.

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In the past 24 hours there have been all kinds of things discussed there. From sensor cleaning, to legalizing marijuana, to guns and crime, to politics and whether or not Obama is regurgitating Marx, to Ian's new 80,000 Audi. Interesting links and articles are exchanged and about 2,000 people hang out with many of the regulars practically living in there.

This kind of stuff is NOT happening on Facebook. At least for me.

On Zooomr I can push messages out on the Zipline and participate in conversations with an outstanding group of highly talented photographers. These messages can be set to automatically forward to Twitter.

I don't spend a lot of time on Twitter but mostly interact with it through Zooomr's zipline and through Friend Feed. Friend Feed is better than Twitter for me because it includes people's Flickr and Zooomr photos as well as the action going on at Twitter. I like photos more than words generally so I like that mixture better than just words on Twitter.

And Pownce is great too. I can post something on Pownce about Firefox and get 14 people to respond back. It's also a great place to share mp3s with your friends and discover new music. Real conversations are happening there too.

And conversations still happen on my blog. In the last week some great conversations have happened about fine art vs. graffiti and whether or not a New Mexico Christian Couple should be forced to shoot a lesbian commitment ceremony and all kinds of other great conversations. I still love blogs for conversations, I read the comments and contribute regularly to other conversations on other blogs as well.

But Facebook. Well, like I said, Facebook is boring as hell. Which is crazy given how much hype people are always making about the place.


About the Author:
Thomas Hawk is a San Francisco based photographer and technology writer. He publishes the web site Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection and is also the Evangelist and CEO of the photo sharing site Zooomr.
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