Archive for the ‘internet’ Category

Why Facebook and not blogs?

May 25, 2007

Kent Newsome asks the question:

“What is so much better about Facebook (and MySpace and other similar platforms) than an ordinary blog on a popular platform- say WordPress?”

I joined Facebook a little over a month ago – and while it does have it’s uses, it in no way would serve as a replacement for this blog (or blogging in general). To me it’s a completely different animal.

Facebook has put me in contact with two or three old friends (an old friend with whom I’d lost touch, one French teacher from high school and a former university house-mate of mine). The rest are people I already know and interact with. But that’s really the extent of it for me. It’s not a place I visit to learn anything new other than whether or not Joe OldFriend has kids or not or some other personal info people are willing to share.

But that’s just it. It’s all personal. It’s all relatively closed. It’s only as open as people are willing to make it. I don’t login often. Maybe because I’m not a social butterfly by nature. Maybe because it’s just been a series of ‘hey long time no see, what ya up to’ type private messages.

Sure, there are people who cross connect, join groups and share pictures and interests. If that’s what you’re looking for then it serves that purpose too.

Blogging on the other hand is much more expansive. And a lot more work too. But you’re opening yourself up to discovering many more new things and people (and being discovered by a much wider range of people too). It’s a completely different thing. If your into learning about new things, expanding your horizons and really participating in a global conversation then Facebook is not the place to do it. Granted it’s not meant to be, and frankly I get the impression that the vast majority of people there are not that lofty in their ambitions anyway – which is perfectly fine too.

Of course there are the more subjective aspects. Facebook is very constrained design-wise and not at all pretty. It’s a big step up from MySpace, but my home page seems like a sea of user names, widget headings and a big fat annoying ad on the left side, all drowning in a sea of too-tiny text. I imagine you can play with it, but every Facebook page I’ve seen is the same. It’s just too constrained for my tastes.

It’s also a closed system. So there is absolutely nothing that advances the cause of the most underappreciated internet technology – RSS. I don’t think Google can crawl Facebook and for some people that might be a good thing – if they even care. Maybe it’s only people who understand the value of a feed aggregator that will care about that anyway.

It still reminds me of It hasn’t added any value to my life other than reconnecting me with a few long lost friends. But a quick google search of my name could have done it a lot quicker. But alas, not everyone has a web presence and this might be the way in for the ‘great unwashed’. If only it wasn’t so closed. Maybe a buyout might go some way to solving this.

What is telling for me is that for each person I reconnected with, I always ended up telling them it was better to check out my family blog or this blog if they really wanted to see what I was up to. I’ve been really using it as a way to climb in there and say – ‘come out here and see what you’re really missing’.

Make no mistake, not everyone is cut out for blogging. Not everyone wants to write more than a few misspelled lines in a comment on someone’s ‘wall’. Not everyone cares about well designed pages, trackbacks or RSS. Maybe Twitter/Jaiku/Tumblr addresses all that.

To me, blogging is so open-ended and has so much potential in so many ways and Facebook has none.

I think the winds of change are always blowing too. There’s been Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and now maybe Virb or something else. Maybe it’s good you don’t put a lot of hard fought effort into your content on Facebook. You likely won’t be able to move it when you transition to the ‘next big thing’.

There’s some food for thought Kent. 🙂