I signed up for Facebook back when authors were joining in vast numbers. None of us knew what we were doing there, we just knew social networking was the next step in trying to promote our books. I was already familiar with Gather.com, another social networking site, and since I had a writing discussion group on Gather, I decided to start one on Facebook. There were already hundreds of such groups, but mostly they sat fallow, so I did one thing no one else was doing — I sent the link for the discussion to the members of the group. There was a great response because, finally, we all had something to do on Facebook while we figured out how to use the site most effectively.
I kept these discussions going through several Facebook upgrades until they revamped the group format and got rid of the discussion boards. I still don’t see the rationale behind that, but I adjusted. I added the discussion app to my fanpage and moved the discussions there. We were getting back into the swing of things when . . . FB revamped the fan page format and got rid of the discussion app. It’s better for all discussions to take place on the wall, they say. It makes for a better experience, they say. A better experience for whom? (Glad I asked that. Since they are making the pages more interactive, and since all businesses — especially big businesses and major corporations — have a page, they are making room for more commercial encroachment on facebook.)
Well, I moved the discussions back to the group walls, and they quickly disappeared into the great maw of self-promotion. I have nothing against authors promoting their books, but please!! Give us something more interesting than yet another plea to buy your book. Still, that isn’t the issue here. Nor are the discussions the issue. If people aren’t interested in discussing the finer points (and the not so fine points) of writing or reading, there’s not much I can do about it except stick to my No Whine, Just Champagne discussions on Gather or post them on the Second Wind Publishing group on Goodreads.
The real issue, the reason Facebook has defeated me, is the updated home page. There is a ticker along the right sidebar that ticks continually with inane messages. John likes Bill’s link. Bill commented on Janet’s status. John and Janet are now friends. Even that isn’t a problem. One quickly gets used to ignoring sidebars on the Internet. The problem is that if you are making a comment on someone’s link or status update when the ticker ticks, your comment ends up in appropriate places, such as when I left a “yay!” on someone’s update about having had a good day and it ended up on another person’s update about needing an operation. Ouch. Still, I can get used to doublechecking to make sure my comments hit the right spot and deleting those that don’t. What I cannot get used to is the new newsfeed — the constant stream of cutesy-poo animal pictures, sickly sentimental and fatuous sayings masquerading as images, and supposedly funny sayings and cartoons that lack an iota of humor.
Even that I can get used to, but Facebook has made it so easy for everyone to share this crap that they do. Over and over and over again. Yikes.
On the other hand, since people seem to like this new newsfeed, it’s possible the problem isn’t Facebook. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just getting crotchety.