I’ve finally taken the plunge and signed up for a Facebook account:
There were many reasons leading up to this sudden change of position, so let’s go over a few.
First, when I started using the internet more heavily in 2003-04, I joined a few pages that fit my interests, and was not really into a community type of thing. My personal life and my online life where most definitely two separate entities, and I liked it that way.
I joined Digg, which brought me closer to the modern world of Web 2.0 community apps, and softened my heart a bit toward the whole movement. My wife got a MySpace page, and eventually convinced me to sign up for one myself.
Now, MySpace is a complete abortion of a social network. Allowing people to have free reign to change their pages in an often eye-searing manner is one of the worst ideas that could be hatched. Now, I’m a fan of customization, but when any nitwit can Google search for MySpace profiles and copy and paste pink flowery backgrounds into their profile, that’s where I have a problem. There is no incentive for a user to find out why their page changes with the new profile code, so people just leave the animated gifs and any piece that looks “pretty” which completely destroys everyone else’s opinion of that person.
If you are a developer, and you want to have a snazzy-looking MySpace layout, get ready for a world of hurt. The maddening HTML/CSS code that represents a MySpace profile page is a complete clusterfuck with nested tables, elements randomly named (“orangetext” “blacktext”). Someone who wants to sit down and make their page look exactly as they wish is forced to mess around, and inevitably get frustrated and just scrap the whole project.
So, this week my wife signed up for a Facebook account. After peaking over her shoulder for an hour or so, I can see the benefit of this service, and the functionality is very appealing to me. No obnoxious pink blinking backgrounds. Everyone on the same level.
The integration of the AJAX elements into the service fit very well, and I am pleasantly surprised at its usability. Overall, though I’ve only had an account for a day, I can see that this is a tool that I will continue to use daily.