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I signed up for Facebook sometime in the Fall of 2007. After Friendster (why?), Orkut (too closed—and G+ didn’t learn anything from that; BRAZILIANS!) and MySpace (getting there, but indulging everyone’s inner kindergartner a little too much), I really didn’t think much would come of social networking, so I promptly did nothing.
In Feb. of 2008, I traveled to Savannah, Georgia, to attend the IxDA ’08 conference. While there, I realized I didn’t have a calling card: my business cards were out-of-date (and embarrassingly boring) and my personal website was stuck in 1997. The organizers had made an attempt to create an online social group for the conference that required you to build a personal profile. When it came to website… I hesitated.
And then realized that Facebook might just come in handy.
I switched over and set up my Facebook profile, adding a photo and filling out various bits of information. Unfortunately, at that time, Facebook was more closed and less user-friendly: the URL looked ugly, and when you clicked on it, you couldn’t see much other than the fact that you and I were not friends.
I made no friends that way, but suddenly, Facebook was a little more interesting. Friends of mine commented on my spiffy new photo and invited me to play Scrabulous (“Words with Friends” in 2008). Photos? Online games? It was like The Sierra Network in 1993, or AOL. The public internet had finally crossed the chasm and embraced what it made fun of when the AOL newbies were unleashed upon it in 1993.
I use Facebook frequently now. I keep up with my far-flung family, I get news from it, I find out about cool upcoming events: it’s very handy! But I find myself checking it—without even thinking—for that little hit of dopamine, more often than I’d like. And frankly, people are just not updating or doing things fast enough to keep up with my addiction. I have become a rat in a cage. So I’m going to take a break and see what it’s like. It’s been four years, Facebook. We need a little time away.
See you in the spring.