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Facebook Is for Old People

Illustration by John Cuneo for TIME

 

In this weeks Time Magazine there is an article called “Facebook Is for Old People”, by Lev Grossman. On the web, the same article is called “Facebook is for Old Fogies”. Hmmmm. Anyway, here is the full article: “Facebook Is for Old Fogies“.

The article starts with a brief intro:

Facebook

    is five. Maybe you didn’t get it in your news feed, but it was in February 2004 that Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, along with some classmates, launched the social network that ate the world. Did he realize back then in his dorm that he was witnessing merely the larval stage of his creation? For what began with college students has found its fullest, richest expression with us, the middle-aged.

Here is a summary of Grossman’s 10 reasons old people have taken over Facebook (see original Time article for details) and my thoughts on each.

1. Facebook is about finding people you’ve lost track of.

I’d agree that this is probably one of the biggest reasons old fogies use Facebook and also a reason why kids don’t need it (yet).

2. We’re no longer bitter about high school.

True, I hardly remember high school and don’t even recognized some of my old high school friends.

3. We never get drunk at parties and get photographed holding beer bottles in suggestive positions.

True, for most of us…

4. Facebook isn’t just a social network; it’s a business network.

True, although this can also be a reason to avoid Facebook.

5. We’re lazy.

I think “busy” is a better word. Life gets much more complicated after marriage, kids and jobs. Facebook gives users the ability to tie into many other online networks such as blogs, twitter, flickr; sort of like one-stop shopping.

6. We’re old enough that pictures from grade school or summer camp look nothing like us.

Ya, so?

7. We have children. There is very little that old people enjoy more than forcing others to pay attention to pictures of their children.

He’s running out of reasons now. There are plenty of online ways to show off photos of our kids.

8. We’re too old to remember e-mail addresses.

I don’t think so and besides, we have address books. Who needs to remember email addresses that change all the time anyway.

9. We don’t understand Twitter.

I don’t understand this reason. Is it, “Cindy is eating a burger and fries” the part that we don’t understand or the twitter network itself? Twitter is much easier to use than Facebook. Anyone who can sent a text message, can twitter. In fact, I’d say that twitter has more to do with whether or not people use text messaging then one’s age.

10. We’re not cool, and we don’t care.

True, we are not cool and Facebook is no longer cool, it’s gone mainstream. Any hot new web site will lose it’s cool factor once it gets very popular. But true, we old people don’t care about being cool.

I think Grossman’s reason #1 is why so many older people use Facebook, to reconnect with old friends. This is a key feature to facebook which probably was not the intent of the creator Mark Zuckerberg, who just wanted to connect current students. But there is still a lot on facebook for people of all ages. With the privacy settings for friends, networks and groups, both young and old can socialize without being bothered much by each other, just like in real life.

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NetworkedBlogs App on Facebook

This is a very smart move for Facebook. Although I’ve subscribed to Facebook since it was just a college network, I quickly lost interest once they started allowing all kinds of stupid games and useless applications. But now you can follow blogs from Facebook, which is a very useful and productive tool.

Blog reading on Facebook is becoming a popular activity. One of the top applications for following blogs through the social networking site is NetworkedBlogs, an app which launched last year bringing the blog community to the Facebook platform. Half MyBlogLog, half RSS reader, the application lets users add their blog, favorite the blogs of their friends, and click through the latest headlines. Most importantly, the app brings blogs to the more mainstream Facebook audience.

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Inauguration Day on Twitter

According to twitter’s blog, they received 5 times the normal tweets per second which peaked as Obama was being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.

Other social-networking sites also reported surges.  Facebook received more than one million status updates with an average of over 4,000 updates per hour, which peaked during Obama’s inaugural speech.  This was a record for Facebook, one of the Internets most popular social networks.

My tweets and updates were among the millions who watched the days events and followed the news on-line.  The internet sure can bring people together and it makes the world a much smaller place.  I thought Barack’s speech was excellent and right for the times.  The world has changed and we need to adapt.  It is such a relief to have a competent leader in the White House during these difficult times.

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twitter

It’s tough keeping up with all the latest trends in technology, especially on the web. So many sites and so little time… and now with the explosion of social networking sites it’s just about impossible to keep up. I try as many new sites as I can and stick with the ones I like, until I get tired of them or until they disappear.

Aside from my therapy (disability-related listservs and message boards), my first real web addiction was TextAmerica (TA), which unfortunately died in 2007. TA was a moblogging site, which focused on uploading camera phone photos. The IT guru from TA has started a new site called fragmob, which I use, but not nearly as much as I used TA. I basically just upload my camera photos to fragmob. After TA went under, I moved my online photos to Flickr, which I like. Most of my TA friends also moved to Flickr, but still it’s not the same as the old TA. I enjoy taking and sharing photos, which is the main draw to Flickr.

For social networking, I’m currently on FaceBook. It is definitely a class above MySpace (which I don’t like at all). I don’t spend a whole lot of time on FaceBook. But these days, having a FaceBook page is almost as necessary as having an email address. And it is a great way to network and reconnect with old friends.

For blogging, I like WordPress. The nice thing about WordPress – in addition to wordpress.com – is that the program that powers the blog is an open source program that can be downloaded and installed on any domain. When I first set up my personal blog back in 2006, the fun for me was figuring out how to install and set up a self-hosted blog. It was a bit of a learning curve, as it involved some PHP, CSS and MYSQL stuff. Once my blog was actually up and running, I really didn’t have much to say. Although when the presidential primaries started heating up, I seemed to find plenty to talk about.

I’m getting way off track. I wanted to talk a bit about Twitter. I’ve been hearing a lot of twitter about Twitter. This service is unlike other social networks, because it limits posts to just 140 characters. Short and tweet!

Why only 140 characters? Because that is the limit for cell phone SMS and the service started more as a way to post text messages to the web.

What can you say in 140 characters? Often times, not much.

The idea is to answer the basic question “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less. The cool thing about twitter is that you can send your “tweets” right from your cell phone, from your desk top or from twitter.com. Your messages are then sent to people who subscribe to your tweets. Another cool thing is that you can have your tweets automatically forwarded to your FaceBook wall or your blog via widgets. My tweets (or brain farts, as I call them) are in the sidebar to the right of this blog.

Is anyone really interested in my daily activities or random thoughts? It doesn’t really matter to me, as long as it’s fun. Will I become a twitterholic? We shall see…

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