I've been on Facebook for over two weeks now, so I reckon it's high time I made some hasty, sweeping generalisations about the experience I resisted for so long.
First, it hasn't really become the time thief I thought it might be (which is what dissuaded me from joining). After the initial frenzied delight of catching up with several friends I thought had vanished into the ether, it's just become another site I check when the thought strikes me. I don't use it at work, which puts it on a par with Twitter or LibraryThing, as things that are nice to have around, but it wouldn't cause me immense pain to lose them (unlike this blog, which is like a finger at least).
So what's wrong with it? Well, first of all, it seems to be a bells-and-whistles, belt-and-braces, jack-of-all-trades, how-many-more-bloody-cliches-can-he-squeeze-in bit of digital kit, part blog, part messager, part dating service, a sort of Web 2.0 WalMart. Which sound fabulous, but I've always been wary of things that claim to be able to organise your social life *and* cut your toenails; possibly something to do with my childhood crush on Professor Branestawm and his amazing contraptions that aimed to solve 10 problems at once and ended up causing 20. I'd rather have a thing that does a thing properly, and another thing that does another thing properly; but it's OK if all the doing things fit in one box.
There's something else, though. Facebook is all about connectivity, linking to people, poking them, throwing sheep and prog rock paraphernalia at your virtal chums. Actually putting things up for people to read or watch or look at or listen to, and upon which they can comment if they so wish, isn't such a priority. Contact is more important than content; compared with the blogosphere proper, there's far more talk, but it's ultimately *about* less.
And it's also essentially closed off to those who don't feel the urge to join, whereas everyone knows the best thing about blogging is the lurkers. (Hi guys, you're all beautiful!) So for those of you who remain resolutely unfbooked, here's something I put up there as part of one of those daft tagging bouts we bloggers grew out of a couple of years ago:
25 random things about me
1 The period/full-stop key on my laptop appears to have stopped working, which may account for some interesting typographical phenomena in this note
2 I have lived on three continents
3 But I have thought of London as 'home' since 1990
4 I have three corns on my left foot
5 Sometimes I have to slap myself (metaphorically) to remind myself that I'm not a failure; I've achieved several things that most people haven't and won't
6 Yesterday I saw the film The Baader-Meinhof Complex, which was far better than I was expecting, albeit it rather grim
7 I sometimes find myself grasping for specific words; "synergy" is one
8 I dislike shaving but I'm not that keen on having a beard either, because it itches
9 I tried contact lenses a few years ago and it wasn't a success; I am happy being a four-eyed gogglebox
10 If I could have lived in any other era, it would have been in the 1920s/1930s
11 But I would have wanted to hang out with Waugh and Eliot and Joyce and Scott Fitzgerald and groovy people like that; I'm well aware that most people in the 1920s/1930s didn't do that sort of thing
12 For a brief period in my early teens, my favourite films were Hellzapoppin, Skin Game and Mr Forbush and the Penguins
13 Pathetically, my only episode of shoplifting was taking a single barley sugar from the pick 'n' mix at Woolworths, but I put it back a few minutes later
14 I am a bit of a fence-sitter in the Middle East conflict, in a "hey, why can't you guys just sit down and have a coffee together?" sort of way
15 I don't like fizzy drinks
16 I don't believe in God, but I do like and admire several people who do; I think Richard Dawkins can be as prescriptive and obnoxious as many religious fundamentalists
17 Raspberries are my favourite fruit
18 I can't believe how much TV I used to watch
19 Yesterday, I had an idea for a new blog, but it will be quite time-consuming, so it may have to wait a few months
20 I really ought to start running again
21 My favourite teacher and my favourite dog died within days of each other
22 I firmly believe that what Bangkok needs right now is a few more reasonably priced Spanish restaurants
23 I haven't really offered up many deep dark secrets in this note, have I?
24 I think I probably don't have any
25 Which may be the biggest revelation of all