I have been in facebook a while. Jordan Moncharmont who works at Facebook and is a student at Stanford invited me into the network after Ruby on Rails Camp. I just didn't get it at all. What was the difference between a note, a message a wall message a poke? It just seemed silly to me but I knew it was all socially contextual and relevant to the kids using it. I 'felt old' because I didn't understand the tools (now I know how 'normal people feel' I thought when I show them all my tools).
So a month ago at CFP (Computers Freedom and Privacy). I took the opportunity to meet up with some of the women that I was on the Canadian National Waterpolo Team with.
They were both on facebook - wow I thought this is going mainstream. Apparently the Ontario Government had to block access to Facebook for employees it was going that mainstream.
So two weeks ago I started getting all sorts of friend request from folks in the tech community. So I dove in. Shortly there after my best friend from Grade 4 and 5 found me. 'Hey did you used to be Kaliya Young?' she asked - "yes" (I changed my name on the system to my current full legal name Kaliya Young Hamlin so that all my friends from my life in school know it is me). I also wondered if my sister would have a profile...SHE DID! Something is really going on with this platform.
I invited lots of folks in my google address book cause I could easily. This included Dennis Hamilton.
Today, I received a Facebook friend invitation from Kaliya Hamlin, Identity Woman. Oh oh, this is getting serious. I'm honored and touched that Kaliya would invite me. I figure it is time to pay attention and see how Facebook might fit into our mutual interest in identity topics.
So far I like most things about it. I like presence updates from people. It gives me a sense of what people are upto, thinking about etc. this is the same reason people like twitter (I am not on twitter cause 1) my phone doesn't do outgoing txt. 2) I can't figure out how to get it to work with my IM Client)
I like that they opened up to other developers. Many people are building interesting applications. I don't like that only 6 of them can show in my side toolbar without me clicking on the 'more' button.
I enjoy sending messages because it makes the whole conversation with you and the other person threaded.
Dennis has some concerns. (however he just posted a presence message this morning so I know he is using it daily still).
It is a Silo. - sure but people can build all sorts of stuff on it.
What will be interesting to see is how groups move about cyberspace - none of us is loyal to any of these platforms more then gamers are loyal to 'a game' they are loyal to the social groups that they play with. Raph Koster pointed this out at Supernova. We are loyal to the groups we do work with and socialize.
My what if is - What to do about those people who asked to be your friends who you don't want to be friends with? Or that you don't know at all? I am not sure. They get stuck in friend request purgatory? This could use some improvement.
The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.
MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. Teens who are really into music or in a band are on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.
Class divisions in military use
A month ago, the military banned MySpace but not Facebook. This was a very interesting move because there's a division, even in the military. Soldiers are on MySpace; officers are on Facebook. Facebook is extremely popular in the military, but it's not the SNS of choice for 18-year old soldiers, a group that is primarily from poorer, less educated communities. They are using MySpace. The officers, many of whom have already received college training, are using Facebook. The military ban appears to replicate the class divisions that exist throughout the military. I can't help but wonder if the reason for this goes beyond the purported concerns that those in the military are leaking information or spending too much time online or soaking up too much bandwidth with their MySpace usage.
The whole essay is very good. She writes at the end about her worries for teenagers today.