Why do we have Facebook Fatigue?

93 thoughts on “Why do we have Facebook Fatigue?”

  1. Or, you can just accept people you think of as friends, or whom you like as friends.

    There’s no reason you should or have to accept every invitation. I have invites sitting there right now that are going to continue to sit there.

    Same with LinkedIn.

    The problem isn’t that there’s a bankruptcy. The problem is that people don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. We could probably all take a lesson from ClubPenguin – where you can see kids literally turn their backs on people that don’t interest them.

  2. I think you media pundits are forgetting that most of us don’t have 4,000 people wanting to become our friends, and we don’t seem to have invitations to trendy events flooding our inboxes.

    For us, Facebook seems to work just fine.

    I have a feeling that Zuckerberg’s intended audience was not the 10 people out there who are geek media moguls like you, Calacanis and Scoble.

  3. Do you think it’s simply because Facebook works in the college environment for which it was designed, but not in the broader world?

    College is generally about broadening both one’s horizons and one’s circle of friends. Post-college, most of us have an established circle of friends, and plenty of ways of communicating with them. Almost by virtue of its design, Facebook is about the fleeting and the superficial, so why are we surprised when it descends further into meaningless, immature inanity?

    On top of all of these grumpy reservations I’ve yet to see a compelling case for how Facebook offers any unique value when it comes to business communications

  4. Om-
    You and Calacanis have similar complains and I can’t help but feel that it is because you two are a rare breed: tech blogger media types. Even Scoble has admitted to being this. I’m sure you guys get way more invites/notifications/friend requests than your average Joe.

    I work in Silicon Valley at a Web 2.0 company and have many friends on Facebook but do not have your problem. I don’t feel overwhelmed with Facebook, it doesn’t take daily tasks to keep my profile in order and I’m not being spammed with app/friend requests.

    I do have to say, though, that I’ve been pretty selective about who I add as a friend and more recently have been opening my network up a bit.

    I don’t think Facebook has gotten anything wrong.

    My suggestion to you is this: create 2 different profiles. Have 1 for your media persona which you use for blogging/media purposes. Create another private one you keep where you only add family and close friends and a select few colleagues. You’ll have a much better time with your latter profile. Trust me.

  5. I finally joined Facebook after getting several invitations from people that I’ve only corresponded with a couple times – most likely because I was in their address book.

    I uploaded my address book and sent out about 100 invitations… so far, only 30 of them have actually added me. The ones to add me the quickest are those with the fewest friends (i.e. less content to manage).

    You were on my contact list, Om, but I suspect that you’re going through bankruptcy right now 🙂

  6. I agree, for the most part. A friend asked me to join, as he had set up a meeting page for a few of us who are trying to start up a local LUG. I’ve followed the philosophy of adding only those who I already know and want to be in touch with as friends. I go for quality over quantity as well. Otherwise, its not a useful medium for me.

  7. Om,

    You are the bomb. But I have to disagree with your assessment of Facebook.

    I am not a Facebook fanboy mind you — I just think people who complain about Facebook being a social-whore-brothel are complaining about something that is easily correctable.

    If you want Facebook to be an intimate collection of friends then don’t invite other peeps. Don’t add the Super Wall application. Don’t add the Vampire or Zombie games. When someone asks you to join the Britney-Spears-Hillary-Duff-Lindsay-Lohan Group of Teenage Misfits simply “decline”.

    Like many things in life Facebook is what you make it. If you want to be an attention whore then add everyone who spams you .. if you want to keep a small social circle then be a little more selective in who you choose to add.

    Problem solved.

    Next.

    As for Calcanius claiming “Facebook Bankruptcy” — this is pure tomfoolery. Personally his blog about this issue reads like an entry that is desperately trying to coin a new phrase.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. As a university aged person, I felt like this last year. That’s when I started saying no to every Tom, Dick and Marry who wanted to ad me to Facebook. I only add real friends and professional contacts. Everyone else can get my rejection notice.

    People need to learn to take back their life and control it or else they are only going to dig deeper into their whole.

  9. Why does it matter? Seriously? Why do pepole feel the need to publicly declare email/facebook bankruptcy?

    If I friend someone and they don’t reply, I don’t really worry about it. If they friend me later, then sweet.

    This way, friends are set up by mutual agreement, and any outstanding requests can be considered irrelevant.

  10. David,

    thanks for your comment. I have to agree with you – if you keep the network controlled, it is actually a few minutes a day that you spend on facebook. i have a separate network for family/friends who have nothing to do with my tech life, and we are now using the FB to basically staying in touch and updated on each other.

  11. MarxistMango,

    Actually the issue is not of inviting other folks, but mostly getting invitations from others, event invites and what not. I think the problem is not unique to me, or Jason, but even others have said the same.

  12. Actually, Robert, I have not declared bankruptcy just yet. I just use FB when i have time, and not being addicted to it. I think the big issue is – these tools are made to serve us, not us to serve these tools/services.

  13. Colin,

    Hey I have heard people who are not in media or tech, talk about the same issues. I manage FB when I have time not the other way around. But thanks for your comment – point well taken.

  14. This is what I love about GigaOm Blog – you respond personally to most of the comments. Wish I could say the same for some of those who have relatively small audiences yet can’t interact with the two or three commenters :-/

  15. Om, thanks for an insightful blog. I think Social Networking will continue to have its place in the ecosystem, but individuals who want strong focus in verticals will start coming together in purposeful, focused communities that are selective in terms of membership and give members the most value for their time. The appeal of such communities does not come through making friends or networking with strangers, but through dynamic useful content along verticals, relentless focus, collaboration amongst members and strong relationships based on shared aspirations. There have been recent articles around how organizations have started to out ban on employees using Facebook at work. With the opening up of its platform, does Facebook run the danger and issues that MySpace is facing? Thanks again for bringing such issues to the forefront.

  16. Thanks for the great post! I agree with what you say about only accepting friends who actually matter to you.

    I think that Scoble and others go nuts with these social apps and add way to many friends. For me, I have nine facebook friends. Since none of my real life friends actually use facebook, I don’t have people whom I know in real life on facebook (obvious). But I don’t just add people randomly; I add people that are important for a reason. For instance, I am friends with Sridhar Vembu and Raju Vegesna and others of Zoho; while I don’t know them in real life, I do get a lot of neat info from Raju; I think that this is one way where facebook is useful, where a company can make a human presence with their customers.

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  18. This problem effects 0.0001% of the population. Not a big deal. Spend 10 minutes a day on FB…you’ll be fine. You were fine before it came into existence. It is not the be all, end all only thing in the world. Hell…you can ignore it for the rest of your life and I’ll bet that your life won’t be any different…which is the same that could be said for every other website on this planet. Go do your job, spend time with your family and friends, go our for a hike, take a vacation. You’ll be quite fine.

  19. It seems to me that most people are trying to assess FB on the basis of it only being a consumer oriented network platform whereas it appears to hold promise as a business tool. With a business tool, you want your network to be invite only or private and some companies have done exactly that.

    The area I see as most problematic is in the area of application proliferation. That causes fatigue because it’s really hard to keep up. Maybe that’s today’s reality but from a business perspective, it is highly destabilizing.

    I talk about this at http://blogs.zdnet.com/Howlett/?p=112 (among other things) which I see as connected.

  20. This is where the “how do you know this person?” can play a part. But putting your contacts into segments, Facebook should allow you to allocate certain behaviours per group. I know this already works for feeds and what you can see of other people. It should probably also have to work for messaging.

    Then again, maybe you, Calacanis, Scoble, etc. are just freaks and making more noise about something that bothers freaks much more than the average Joe. No offence intended.

    If the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” means anything, I suggest using that policy in Facebook as well.

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  22. Remember when this blog was about at least somewhat breaking and exciting technology news , now I could pull up a pre-teen’s diary from an affluent neighborhood and I’m not sure if I could tell much of a difference.

    All these “mogul” blogs are becoming like this , getting further and further from the real news instead asking questions like do I have too many friends.

    Its depressing.

  23. “Lets put it another way: do you go hang with hundreds of people, accept every invitation for coffee or try out everything that is new in your real world? Do you invite everyone you meet to your house for dinner? So why would you do that in Facebook?”

    Just playing devil’s advocate here, since I can’t claim I do this myself, but I imagine a lot of people become very social on social sites precisely because they don’t do that in the real world.

  24. Ahem..
    Why do you need Facebook? I had a LinkedIn profile for a year, and had to email them to get it removed 4 months ago because I haven’t found any use for it…
    Is FaceBook more helpful?

  25. I think that Facebook’s new plan to be the new Microsoft Passport for Web 2.0 sites is f’ing hilarious. Yeah, that idea is worth BILLIONS.

    Facebook Fatigue? How about Facebook Failure?

    Facebook is headed for the web 2.0 junk heap.

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  27. Okay, we reject a lot of people and it hurts their feelings. And we get a lot of invitations. It’s a crowded nightclub. But this nightclub is so clean and efficient, you can eat a buffet right off the dance floor.

    Facebook’s success, I think, is because it is one of the most efficient, clean looking, amazingly-run websites out there. MySpace is corporate, slow, ad-infested, and a nuisance. I hope more people do defect from MySpace, as a lesson to all sloppy individuals out there:

    Keep your social network websites user friendly.

    And even if facebook begins to suck because child molesters are taking advantage of the fact no one uses their privacy settings… a Lexus is a Lexus. No matter how old it gets, the engine still sounds perty.

  28. I signed up for Facebook, within a few days I got messages and emails from Bambi, Cricket, MissyHorny, MeLuvYu, some gay guys looking for love (in the wrong place)…

    Well, to me it started out as a spam generator. Just what I needed. My friends and I don’t need to twitter constantly anyway.

  29. It’s interesting that everyone seems to be ignoring wider, cultural issues that social networking sites create.

    What about lack of roots and the need to recreate the communities that we have decimated through car-use, insistance on privacy, desire to be “autonomous” (in the face of decreasing autonomy everywhere else) and prejudice (fear of crime, fear of the ethnics, fear of everyone else, fear of our own fear).

    What about the desire to accumulate friends in the same way that we accumulate possessions, trinkets, panini stickers – and what this says about our social skills and ability to form meaningful, adult relationships? Are we unable to grow up?

    What about our inability to let go, to give up the dream that we may become what we have always wanted to become (the result of years and years of advertising through Hollywood, television, glossy magazines, ritual, customs…), thereby making it really hard for us to jsut accept who we are, take responsibility and commit to our current job, partner, friends, community…

    All of the posts just seem to be ignoring these wider social aspects and focusing on trivia. Facebook is further evidence of our narcissism: of refusing to grow up and invest time in what really matters (people, society, environment, economy) and instead worry about facebook acquaria, how many facebook friends you have and whether you’re on anyone’s Top Friends list. Eejits.

  30. Nima,

    On the contrary, this kind of subject is very tech related in the Web 2.0 sense: how we use systems (badly or otherwise) is as important as what constitutes those systems. Facebook is a social application, and so any comment (for or against) on how it affects life is valid.

    ~biff~

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  32. The nightclub analogy is spot on. People are on Facebook to be seen, to show off about what exciting things they are up to or how succesful they are. It’s fine if you want to let your friends know how you’re doing, but I get invites from people I barely even know – including people I haven’t spoken to since primary school, my mum’s ex-students (who I’ve never met in real life), and various other people who I’ve either not met properly or wouldn’t speak to me in the real world anyway. I get the impression that some of these people only add you so that they can either have a nose at your profile and see what you’re doing, or so that you take a look at their profile and they get to show off what they’re doing.

    I was fed up with getting hourly status updates from people I couldn’t care less about, so I went and deleted everyone who I didn’t consider an actual friend.

    It’s worth noting to people that Facebook doesn’t notify anyone when you remove them as a friend.

  33. Is there something wrong with Facebook??

    My profile is behaving very strangely today for the first time. My inbox is someone else’s, and clicking ‘Profile’ often takes me to someone completely random. I have friend invites from several people I’ve never heard of. When I go to ‘Log in’, someone else’s email is pre-inserted…weird!

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks

    Jon

  34. Its funny to hear these “new media” types that have just come to Facebook. Facebook fatigue? Try being a college athlete before a huge game. I just graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and there were entire groups of thousands of students organized solely to poke the opposing quarterback or goalie before the Badgers played them. Result? Thousands and thousands of emails from Facebook saying, “You have been poked by…” Now THAT is fatigue, my friend.

  35. Biff,

    “this kind of subject is very tech related in the Web 2.0 sense”

    With such adept usage of the english language by all means you should throw yourself head first into this anthropological gold mine.

    But the sad thing is there are BRILLIANT PEOPLE , make BRILLIANT things and we are still sitting here talking about the same web app OVER AND OVER.

    This guy has all this talent and resources and he is wasting his blog on this pre-school type topics and thats all I was saying.

    Maybe go to a university research facility read a real computer science journal , or any science journal you will realize that there is much more to be reported than this.

    I agree that it should be tracked but not like this its just enough already.

    Maybe your a little green and thats why this sort of fluff still amuses you.

  36. The thing with Facebook is, is that, like anything else, takes a large initial time investment to find a handle on the in’s and out’s.

    If one joined a off-line networking they would be hard pressed to gain any value in just one session, they need to invest in coming back week after week, in order to gain connections, build friendships and the like.

    The same is true with Facebook and other social networks; you get out of it what you put in, whether you participate for fun or not.

  37. There’s an obvious difference between the high visibility bloggers like Om, Calancanis, Arrington, Scoble et.al. and the rest of us….. That extends to Facebook, LinkedIn and other social network sites. These are the guys who have the high visibility and with that come all the invites and pitches.

    Most of the rest of us don’t have that problem. I’m not overwhelmed. The same applies to the amount of comments, just see how many are here…..

  38. In my opinion (with all the social networking sites we’ve seen so far) fatigue boils down to the issues of:

    1) Privacy (or lack thereof)
    With Facebook, I can limit my profile to “All My Friends”, and make sure I’m strict with who I do or don’t invite/accept as a friend… but surely even this isn’t intimate enough? I still have a partner, close friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, close family, relatives, and so on – all of whom I like, or need, to get in touch with, but usually about very different things.

    2) Time being wasted.
    I think a lot of people are perhaps missing the point of SN sites being an efficent communications tool (probably because Facebook has diverged from it with all the added extra, yet totally useless, bits and pieces) and hence users are getting frustrated with wasting so much of their precious time. Whether it’s from updating your own profile with stupid apps to look cool, being spammed and having to reject app requests, or stalking other users – none of it is constructive.

    There’s no doubt that the social networking concept is here to stay, but users are realising their basic need is simply a great looking site with conventional SN tools and far more flexible privacy/sharing controls (i.e. users get to choose exactly who sees what, right down to the individual level). These sites also need to start playing a more constructive role in our personal lives, instead of egging us on to waste time poking everyone – maybe then our workplaces won’t go banning them.

  39. All social network sites are the same…incredibly boring and pointless and eventually they will all be left with millions of old dormant accounts. What is so exciting about creating a profile and adding a picture? Theres no excitement at all. Why would you want to post your pic anyway? Are you telling me your friends don’t know what you look like or where you live or how old you are? Totally pathetic really. Also, I really don’t understand why anybody would want to keep in touch with the clowns they went to school with a couple of years ago. I mean as far as I’m concerned I’ve moved on from that years ago and don’t want to be reminded of it. And if you use facebook to keep in touch with your family, GOD HOW SAD ARE YOU! Haven’t you heard of a telephone or just send an email direct to them, why do you have to contact them via facebook?

  40. why can’t i get all my requests of my request board it’s been like that for 2-3 months no matter what i do i can not dot the ignore or edit. even a friend tried it and no go ssoo what’s up with the facebook board?

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