My next foray into the social networking website scene involved Orkut, Google's own attempt at this growing market, but it didn't seem to work very well either. There is an awful lot of spam comments littered throughout the site making it quite an unpleasant place to visit.
I initially dismissed Facebook as another doomed-to-failure attempt at the social networking website genre and I didn't expect it to go very far, but when we really needed to find so people it amazed me at how efficiently I was able to track down and get in touch with them.
Earlier this year a friend of ours was involved in a terrible accident. When we initially heard about it we had very little information. Using Facebook, we were quickly able to track down friends of the people involved and by the end of the day we had made contact with several people we were able to share information with.
I'm not a big fan of Microsoft, as my regular reader will already know, and the fact that they have recently bought into Facebook is a little worrying. I've seen what happens to websites that get bought by Microsoft. HoTMaiL is a prime example of how Microsoft can screw up a perfectly good service website.
There is no doubt though, that Facebook is 90% crap. In fact the crap level is probably closer to 97 or 98%. It's filled with stupid surveys like: "Do you think your friend's mother's chiropractor is sexy?", "What are your top ten David Letterman Top Ten lists?" and "Rate my sports clothing company's sex appeal". Then there's those silly time-wasting games that go nowhere, although I do click through the Pirates! game. Anyone thinking of sending me a fish for my coral cove should be aware that I drained it months ago and anyone thinking of sending me a plant for my Lil' Green Patch should be aware that it's now nothing more than a big slab of concrete. I stopped accepting those silly gifts when some dude send me a virtual diamond ring! That worried me a bit.
Underneath the crap though is an excellent network that allows me to keep in touch with friends around the world. We keep in contact with our friends Kerry and Bevan who are travelling Europe for the next several months. They drop a little note on their Facebook page nearly every day and post photos of their trip. At the same time they keep up-to-date with everything that is happening back here in Australia. Another friend, Kaaren is in Thailand at the moment and she's keeping us informed of her adventures over there. My good friend Steve "The Drummer" recently got onto Facebook and immediately found and contacted members of his family over in England that he hasn't seen or spoken to in over a decade! It's allowed a level of communication among our family that we've never had before with every single member keeping in touch with everyone else with very little effort.
I like it. I like the way it keeps me in touch with everyone on my friends list. I like the way I can set it up to restrict my information to just people on my friends list. I like that people can find me, but when they do, they can see only my name and profile picture and nothing else until I confirm them as a friend. I like the way I can share photos and stories with all the people that I care about. This blog has been a great way to keep everyone updated on what I'm doing, but people have to come here to read it (unless you subscribe to it using an RSS feed reader like Google Reader). What makes Facebook work so well is that you only need to visit your own page because has all your friends posts already on it.
I'm a fan.