I was bored so I remembered a few jokes and decided to post them here so here they are.
Please forward this error screen to 69. I remember when I first heard about Facebook. I was an undergraduate at Dartmouth College. At the time, the service was being made available on a school-by-school basis, and, one spring day in I was bored so I remembered a few jokes and decided to post them here so here they are., it finally arrived at our corner of the Ivy League.
Many of my friends were excited by this event. They were surprised when I didn’t join. What problem do I have that this solves? They would, instead, talk about new features it made available, like being able to reconnect with people from high school or post photos. But my lack of ability to connect with old classmates or to publicize my social outings were not problems I needed fixed. I have that Facebook’s features are solving? Why should this product, of all products, earn my attention?
After a while, I stopped asking this question, and just moved on with my life without a presence on Facebook. Ten years later, I still have never had a Facebook account — nor any social media account, for that matter — and have never missed it. I still have lots of readers and still sell lots of books. And I’ve preserved my ability to focus, allowing me to make a nice a living as a theoretician. This brings me to a broader point: in an age of personal technological revolution, we all need a more explicit philosophy for adopting tools.
Without this clarity, we run the risk of drowning in a sea of distracting apps and shiny web sites. My philosophy — to only adopt tools that solve a major pre-existing problem — has served me well. I use e-mail, for example, because the ability to communicate asynchronously with people around the world is quite important for my work. I don’t use Twitter, however, because the ability to have short, casual interactions with many people I don’t know well is not that important to my work. If you adopt this particular philosophy — which I recommend — you’re effectively raising the bar when it comes to what you tools you adopt. Just because a product or service offers some new feature should not be enough for it to demand your time and attention. Save this scarce resource for tools that make a strong case for how they solve real problems you already have.
Make Silicon Valley earn your interest, not take it for granted. This is just one way of looking at a complicated problem. I am, of course, eager to hear your disagreement: please post any complaints on your Facebook wall. I re-activate, due to projects that require groups for communication. Once I graduate, I’m going to deactivate it again.
What do you think of LinkedIN? I can see what my friends are up to and post funny photos, make quick comments. But neither does hanging out with my friends on a Saturday over beers, watching sports, wrestling with my dog. I am in a place in life where Twitter and Facebook are somewhat essential for establishing friendships. I graduated from college before I ever heard of your books and no longer have the resources or opportunity to put my life on a successful track using a college institution. The campus, for me, is Twitter, as troubling as that may be. Hello, I’m a recent reader, your content is great.
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While extreme focus is great for a lot of things, there is something I find disturbing in this philosophy — to only adopt tools that solve a major pre-existing problem: you may get stuck on a path, and you may keep out of touch with new ideas, that sometimes can improve your work. Of course, this is a matter of choice. Also, my opinion is biased as I work in creative industry as a community manager and social media planner. This is my point: Facebook also didn’t solve any problems I had when I first joined, but if I didn’t I would have chosen another career path. By mere curiosity I joined a forum of short fiction stories. But there I improved my writing and made very good friends, we still proof-read each other.
I agree when you say we need to take care not to adopt every new shiny internet thingy, I believe to let it go, at least sometimes to see everything from another perspective can be beneficial. I know we need to block ourselves from almost everything to do a focused work. But sometimes out there is just the missing trigger. I would really apreciate your opinion on the matter. I’m hesitant to give up facebook because a lot of people I knew in high school are on there, and I like to imagine that in 20 years time I’ll find out about a reunion through it. However, I’ve found as I grow older, the urge to go on facebook declines significantly. Checking it once a day is unlikely to kill me.
I found this post to be beautiful in its clarity and succinctness. You have put into words my own reasons for being a non-Facebooker. I do not appreciate the tone of many media outlets that seem to demand and pressure us to stay steeped in every new thing out of Silicon Valley. I joined Facebook after a friend urged me to.
A podcast which we both listened to was being brought back to like through a group formed on FB. I joined FB to solve a problem and help someone I liked. Now, I still have an account, but the only other really useful thing I have managed is making a few German-speaking friends to practice the language with. FB is a tool for me. Last night I dreamt about someone that I have kind of lost contact with over the last year when I moved to a different city. I could possibly have used other means, but facebook seemed the easiest.
While I was there on facebook, I noticed that my last post was from 2011. With facebook, I disabled almost everything, and told it to email me whenever someone messages me. That way it becomes sort of an extended email system. I’m not sure what the lesson is here, but I really feel that I’m not the only person who have zero problems in terms of losing time to these sites. Thinking about it, I believe the same can be said for TV. It used to be the time killer, but I’ve never had a problem with it.
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I had one for quite a few years, but eventually got rid of it about 9 or 10 years ago because I wasn’t using it anyway. I created a couple of accounts on Facebook so I could understand what it was and how it worked. After a while some of my friends and family developed an expectation that I would keep it up to date and read their pages. That was way beyond what I wanted so I deleted the accounts. I still have no problems keeping in touch. The answer, of course, is the same thing that blocks solve for infants. I have a FB account but I only use it as a last resort to extreme boredom.
And I don’t know if your friends are smarter than mine but, I find, the medium promotes witless conversation. You just punch it and,voila, no need to come up with something interesting to say. Now I wish I could quit it, but it really is the best way to stay in touch with my massive extended family, especially since my academic career has taken me overseas. The important thing is to set restrictions, I think.
If I use it only to help with my one-to-many correspondence, I don’t do correspondence while I should be working, any more than I would phone my mum while I’m in the office. For that purpose it’s pretty good, and Facebook isn’t a big timesink for me. Facebook did help me reconnect with old friends, only to continue not contacting them for years again. Honestly, I joined while in high school and found it completely useless.
I proceeded to delete it and never again use it for 3 years. Now I’m back because I had new aquaintances in college ask me for it to stay in touch. I just never get on it and see it as a useless product for me. All social media seems to come with the pretense that everyone want some form of attention. I blocked Facebook from my mac with an app called Self Control. So I can’t get on it anymore.
When my phone battery died I can instantly message most of my friends on FB on a public computer. It happens rarely but it does happen. Also I check if people are online on FB first so that I can ask them to skype. It’s cheaper than calling with my phone. Organizing FB groups with a group of friends around a topic you’re interested in I am in one which is about computer science, economics and pop culture. Posted by my friends and me, so it’s easy to see how people their interests evolve.
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Stuff like that, the rest is distraction. If you don’t need to solve your problems this way then I guess FB is not for you. For me, I wanted to go out of it and I am trying but I can’t because of these reasons. It may not solve a problem you have. It doesn’t solve a problem I have.
But it provides a service that enhances my life. It is privilege to have a technology like it, free to anyone. It allows anyone in the world to easily connect. If you haven’t used it, perhaps you’re missing out. Why not try it and see if it is something you don’t like, instead of denying it without evening using it?
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It’s almost like writing a book review without reading the book. What if you could sell twice as many books by using Facebook? What if you could generate twice as much income as you currently do by using Facebook? Do the benefits outweigh the downsides? You’ll never know until you try. Facebook provides a service that most would like, and knowing that you write and sell books, it certainly would be helpful. Pingback: What problem does Twitter solve for you?
I too believe you’ve gone a little over-extreme on this one. Facebook is the kind of example that makes the statement sound solid, but is actually an extreme example that doesn’t warrant generalizing of the statement. In fact, Facebook is a good example not of why you should discard all applications that don’t solve an immediate problem, but of why you should be selective in those. As you will face a variaty of problems, apps that don’t solve anything now might provide an excellent solution later.
So in my opinion, you should also include stuff you think might be useful on the long road. I have started writing on my thesis and came across your two articles about making a research database. As said in the comments, Evernote for example is a way better alternative. So using the option that solved the immediate problem here would have done the job but also have cost me quite a lot of time, while just giving something a try that didn’t solve an immediate problem has made my thesis work a lot more organized and less time-consuming. I didn’t know I would NEED all those features, but they turned out really useful. Concerning facebook I would use the same logic.
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For me, it’s a great social tool. It lets me know how friends abroad are doing way more easily than having to mail them and asking. It lets me know what people I don’t know THAT well value and like to talk about, making conversation and getting to know them better easier. Some events, debates, conventions I wouldn’t know about without it. So for me, it adds value to my social life.
What people should be REALLY wondering about is how much value it takes away of other parts of their lives, like work. But the whole idea shouldn’t, in my opinion, be discarded before this balance exercise has even been made. Only if you have estimated the net value, you can decide whether or not that value is worth going trough trouble for. I thought this was a great post.
I joined Facebook thoughtlessly as an undergrad when it first came out. Now I’m simply addicted to it. It’s a bad habit that eats up my time and keeps the lonely at bay. Facebook is a crutch that gives me the illusion of a social life. There’s nothing ridiculous about not having a Facebook account, but this reasoning is bonkers. Have you ever read a book without an explicit goal in mind? Have you ever taken a walk to clear your head?
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Have you ever eaten at a restaurant instead of eating at home? Have you ever eaten meat instead of beans and rice and a vitamin purchased in bulk? On some level, those are all luxurious solutions to problems that could have been addressed using fewer resources. Or they are expensive solutions made comparatively less expensive by the fact that the more efficient solutions are difficult in a way that it isn’t profitable for you to overcome. Normally, your advice is a fascinating new perspective, but this seems likes a hipster-level opinion labeled as efficiency. Again, it’s fine if you don’t want a Facebook account.
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To never have had an account is to not understand a growing part of the lives of over half your audience is nearly every situation you’ll be in for the rest of your life. It’s like how newspapers suffer from waiting so long to embrace the Internet. Apologies for the intensity — you said you welcomed disagreement! I think this philosophy applied to adopting tech hits the nail on the head.
I’m surprised that your friends didn’t counter you though. Perhaps your friends recognized the validity of the argument genuinely. It’s the future of how we socialize! No, it’s diluted social substitute which is way less fun than actually having friends.
In this case, you’d only be seeing and sharing content with those whom you actually enjoy interacting with. Oh, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on linkedin, given that you’ve written the book on career advice. This blog always gives me the impression of a hyperfocus on work that I don’t think I could ever achieve. How do you balance other things in life?
Do you use an RSS reader? I got a Facebook account later than most of my friends, which here in the UK means about late 2007. During my time on Facebook I was a passive user. I never updated my status or liked anything. I commented sporadically on a few things but never got involved with posting on people’s walls. I had, I didn’t exist and couldn’t be found using the search function.
Despite being a largely passive user, I still wasted hours on Facebook browsing and reading rather than interacting. That said, the level of interaction on Facebook is akin to leaving a post-it note on someone’s front door. Often, I would only realise this when I was addictively reading comments and looking at wedding photos of a friend-of-a-friends-cousins-friend after I’d been on their for far more time than I would like to admit. Again, this was more wasted hours and mental and emotional strain thanks to the negativity it created. In April 2012 I permanently deleted my Facebook account with no chance of retrieval. This happened after a long chat with a close real life friend who had done the same about a year earlier. He explained his reasons and it made perfect sense to me.
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Why would you want to have such fleeting and shallow interactions with so many people that you really don’t know, when you’re struggling to keep up with your five or six closest friends in the real world because of the time consumed by work, family commitments, marriage, children, other interests etc? Why would I want to post a Happy Birthday comment on the wall of someone who I haven’t physically seen, or spoken to on the phone for 12 years. People drift apart, people change, people move county, move country, move continent. You can’t keep up with everybody. If you have 365 friends on Facebook, that means that you could have a decent conversation with one friend, every day for a whole year.
It also means that because there are only so may hours in a day, at that rate it would be another year before you spoke to that friend again. I found that the only way I would send messages to people on Facebook was using the message facility. THEY ARE JUST LIKE EMAIL, except email doesn’t have all the distractions built in. If you want to have a one-to-one conversation with someone, don’t use the instant messenger facility on Facebook, phone them up and talk to them. My wife’s sister lives in Australia and we live in the UK.
Video chats twice a month using Skype. They talk for 2 hours or more, laughing and joking and showing each other things via the web cam in real time and it’s free of charge. That’s the closest they can come to being in the same room together in person. How do they arrange these video chats? Facebook doesn’t even enter in to the equation, yet they’re both on it. I was also surprised to find out recently that my wife has about 211 friends on Facebook yet only uses it to communicate with the 6 people that she sees most often and speaks to on the phone. The rest of these friends are, at best, fleeting acquaintances who she knew 4 or more years ago, people that she has only met a few times, or people she vaguely knew at school.
Don’t tell me that Facebook is the best way to stay in touch with people overseas. Not when you have a telephone, text messages, Skype or email. If someone lives in the same time zone as you and you don’t have their phone number, then can you really call them your friend? Anyway, if you think that staying in touch is about liking some photos, posting a 10 word comment and then moving on to the next persons profile, you’re crazy.