If you surf the net a lot then you will definately know about myspace, facebook and their ilk. I had a Myspace account for a while but found that it was really restrictive in what you could do visually with the page and the content that you could put up was pretty meaningless for me. There wasn’t a community spirit as I was told there was and I found the whole thing to be too big for its own boots really. It was fun looking at other peoples pages, but frankly, unless you remotely know of the person whose page your viewing, it all becomes rather drab and somewhat sinister in a voyeuristic kind of way, I found myself checking people’s pages out because I liked the look of their pic that appeared in their friends message board. SELF CONTROL ! Geez.
Facebook looked like it was going to be a different story. Nice structured layout and tools that actually do put you in contact with not only others you know directly (easiest thing to do on Facebook) but also put you in contact with others through groups based on a shared interest like The Sausage And Mash Appreciation Society for example. Up to this point Facebook really does deliver in my opinion. My issue with Facebook is the constant stream of requests that you get from others wanting you to install this application or that application. Which in itself is a nice thing because the applications are normally ways that you can use to be nice to one another on Facebook (Fantastic idea!). The trouble comes when you have a reasonable number of friends on Facebook (30ish in my case) and several of them ask you to add their latest application that THEY think is really cool and THEY want to share with you. This is how it works I know, but this means that Facebook is more of a SPAM MACHINE rather than a social networking site.
I’m reserving judgement at this point, Facebook is allowing me to keep in tentative contact with many of my previous students so its not all bad. Maybe if I had the time (made the time) to use it more often, the backlog of requests wouldn’t be so bad.