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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Social networks are becoming boring

My musings about Google+, Facebook and real life networking

Vegetable vendors in Chishan probably haven't yet been convinced by Google+.

Those who follow my online presence for a little while now might have noticed, that I've become rather antisocial of recent. By that I mean my lack of engagement in sites like Facebook, Twitter, Plurk and co. And on top of that, I was recently lured by Google+, that offered me to share irrelevant things on its platform, but I somehow haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet. I have to say that I can't see myself becoming more "social" online, the trend goes backwards with me. And that has a lot to do with my recent immigration to Taiwan and a job, that is so time consuming and stressful, that I appreciate every free minute I have, let alone a whole day. And I do not necessarily want to waste it on irrelevant things. Maybe sometimes, but not every day from morning to evening like a lot of lost souls out there.

Before I came to Formosa, I was a freelancer, I could work from home and I wasn't as busy as now in Taipei. The difference in the way of life for me is so vast, I fee like I've moved to another planet, not just to a different continent. Maybe I'm still processing all the changes I've gone through in the past 6 months, but somehow I have realized this already before I came to Taiwan: Online social networks are becoming more and more boring. Kudos to Google for it's newest platform, but where were you 2 years ago, when I needed you? I'm so bored with Facebook already, so bored with sharing in general and so fed up with seeing a lot of people doing the same thing over and over again, like: Extensively like-ing (not liking), writing platitudes, linking to boring stuff, daily changing profile photos, posting their kid or puppy photos over and over again... I mean, good for you, if that's what makes your life more interesting... (yawn), but all in all, it just keeps me away from those sites.

However, those people are nothing compared to another group, that doesn't use social networks only for killing time, but for recreating themselves. Some people spend more time on Facebook than in the real world, they give themselves a new, a virtual identity, which is gravely different from their offline persona of a most likely very boring individual with insecurity issues. These people want to be admired, they behave like celebrities, they use the power of their sheep followers to gang up on their supposed "online enemies" and create fake drama, spread false rumors - all online, mind you. What a bunch of losers. And there are those, who seriously judge every of your messages, even if you have meant something completely different and give you a reply that makes you think wtf. All these online fellows make the social network experience very unpleasant and even Google+ won't be able to change that.

The virtual world is becoming less and less important to me. The only thing I really love and care about is my blog, because I feel like I am creating something with my own hands fingers. I surely won't stop writing here, but everything else might see me slowly disappear. Sorry, Google+, you really got me there... for like 5 minutes - but that was the old geeky me, the one that is slowly fading away. It's kinda funny, when I roam around Taiwan's villages and see people living the simple life and "networking" on the street by helping each other or just chatting in real life. Oh yes! I've seen it with my own eyes: Real life networking really exists, but it is threatened by the expansion of broadband internet into every small village. Taipei is already long lost, I mostly see virtual people here, spending more time to talk through the internet, instead of talking face to face.

Do we really need all these virtual networks? I don't know. But I'm gonna tweet about it very soon and share this post on Facebook. How about you?

[My LIFE IN TAIWAN page][Photo by MKL, 2011]

26 COMMENTS:

oh my gosh, you're like reading my mind in this post, cause I actually feel the same way too.. :(
Thank God that I still have my blog and I always love to blog (except when hectic life coming in the way) but yeah, i think we all need a virtual life & networks, because there are some things that we can't simply express in the real world. :)

@Ceecile ~Priscilla Clara~: Great comment! :) I agree with you in your last statement and I admit I do need to express myself online from time to time too (my last sentence was meant as irony), but I use this blog and Twitter as the platform for that, very less so Facebook and other sites, I am much less active there. How about you?

thats okey, you'll feel same thing about everything you have been involved too much in the past, take a break, social networks, forums, online gaming... they all will be annoying if you once actively participate, but later get "exhausted"

You know what i find the most annoying about these social networks?? The way people feel the need to tell you where they are every single minute. I mean first of all.....no one gives a shit!!! And second of all....how dumb are you to want to tell everyone where you are all the time??? I mean if i wanted to rob your house i would simply follow you on twitter so that i'd know how long i had and how much i could take before you got back home. Stooopid!

The third paragraph, THE WHOLE THING, is so true. Love it! I agree. I hate those bloggers/twitterers (is that what they call it? :p ) who THINK they are celebrities. There are even some who would use or pretend to be online friends with others to gain popularity or to win some celebrity hunt sort of thing.

DISGUSTING.

But I still love my online friends. There are just a few that I hate. Just like in real life. I love some, I hate some. :)

@Lulu: I'm burned out :P

@Saby: Haha.. yeah. I already scold my wife, why she must use Foursquare :S It's like you allow to be tracked and monitored for free. Kinda don't like the concept. Hope one day she sees it same as me.

@Gnetch: Someone close to me had some problems with those kind of people, hence I wrote that part. Of course there are always exceptions and you can always find great online buddies. I just don't have much time to invest in these things, but good friends understand that, right? You will still like me, if I tweet less, won't you? :)

I can understand people who want to further their careers by "social networking" (can't judge if that is really a promising approach, though), but not really otherwise. Tried facebook myself, for a month or six weeks, but found it weird. Never got it why I should "poke" people or "like" things.

I never entered my real ID or data, and when facebook asked me for my birthday "for security reasons", I had forgotten that faked bit of information and was locked out.

Thought about tweeting, too, but it would be a hassle to take turns in tweeting other peoples' stuff and promoting my own - blogging should be for ones own pleasure, and for the pleasure of some readers, ideally. It's a nice, old-fashioned thing. You sit down and think about something, and you write it down in the best way you can.

That's why blogging is less likely to become boring than other forms of communication. If there are no real issues, and when it's just me, me, me, (which isn't actually "social", btw), it has to become boring, sooner or later.

I like so much the way you write that even if I don`t totally agree with you I might give it a think. Facebook is boring, you`re right... but I try to make it more interesting for me, maybe I use it because I don`t have a blog. Would you mind I`ve just given it a share on my wall..

I still like to tweet, but I don't care too much about Facebook or Google+.

And blogging is still my first love! : )

@Justrecently: I agree with you. Blogging is fun, when there's a heated debate, but social networks are not a good venue for that, if you ask me.

@Ramona: Sure you can share it any time :) Thanks for commenting.

@foongpc: Yay! :)

Yippeeeeee!! I haven't explored Google+ and do not intend to, I can't be bothered for similar reasons to those which you give here in this really self-affirming post.

My only reason for connecting with Facebook is to very occasionally say 'hi' to people I would not have contact with otherwise, but, they are people I know, not imaginary cyber space personalities.

I am so pleased to see you write that out of all the cyber putsches there are, you will stay with your blog. If you write more in this vein, you will have one ongoing avid fan...me!

It was enjoyable reading your thoughts. I don't know how you deal with your weariness. All I can say is, I had 18 months of complete change in my life. with so much going on, it all seemed topsy- turvey. Even now, when I think back to that time, some of which was so demanding, I have submerged it into my semi-conscious brain, I think, I wonder how I got through it. Age and energy was one factor. You will find love and your new family could be the great other.

xx

I've already gotten an invite from one of my friends and it just didn't excite me as well.
The only reason I really keep a fb account is to keep in contact with my sister and find out what she's up to because she doesn't always have the time to keep in contact with me often sometimes.
I don't update it much myself but I like the fact that I can keep in contact with all of my friends who are far away in different countries. I don't add anybody I don't know.

I do prefer face-to-face interaction though and it kinda sucks when people are doing it less since you see so many get on their phones right when they get out of class :P
Wish people would say 'hi' a little more often sometimes haha :P

I know what you mean. Why message your friends online when you can just say hi to them face to face?

It's really about ease of use. The ability to be social over the Internet is MUCH easier than going to actually see them. Sure, in a perfect world they wouldn't exist and everybody would meet each other face to face. But we as a species are naturally lazy, IMO, and so that will never become a reality.

Unfortunately. :(

Also, Google+ is currently the best social network because it strips it down to the bare essentials and doesn't have anything pointless i.e. FB apps or adverts.

I think we should continue this discussion on FB! LOL!

I'm on FB, though I certainly agree with you about some aspects of it. People using it like it's Twitter, telling you such earth shattering information like "At the movies right now."

I do keep my FB persona separate from my blogging persona, especially since a bunch of my Filipina wife's relatives are devout Catholics and I'm an atheist.

It is a convenient way to keep in touch with people, especially ones you don't get to see often. I don't make a point of being a friend collector though who tries to friend every person I've ever known. Some people have in the high hundreds or even over a thousand.

Of course, I can't wait to share my pictures on FB of my upcoming scuba diving trip to the Bahamas next week and then our trip later this summer to the Philippines and Taipei. I anticipate getting some great photos while dining at Modern Toilet!

I have to say it all depends on your situation and what you're looking to get out of these things.

"posting their kid or puppy photos over and over again... I mean, good for you, if that's what makes your life more interesting..."

I know you're just trying to emphasize the annoyingness of people posting mundane crap and I certainly agree in terms of lame updates and links.

But in reverse order:

3) I'm not sure that it makes my life "more interesting", but it has definitely been a godsend for my mother back in the UK who misses her grandkids so. She got the hang of FB pretty quickly and has been able to keep tabs on how they'te getting on and even chat with my eldest (he's 8 and - yep - has an account - his mum's doing, I should add!)

2) I don't know anyone who posts things "over and over" unless you mean posting more (i.e. different pics). With the pics of the family, of course you'd be posting more - that's the point isn't it?

My family can chart the development of the various branches (my sis is in Chile and has just had twins and I love seeing their pics and vids).

You seem to be lumping the posting of family stuff in with general lame irrelevant posts because it bores YOU. It's not for YOU. It's for the people in my extended circle of friends and fam who are interested in how my fam and I are getting on.

I often come across people (not syaing you but it does pang of this) who think people who post pics of their kids are self-obsessed and desperate for confirmation of how great their kids are.

But the biggest joy for me is seeing the children of people I went to primary school with almost 30 years ago and how their lives and families are devloping. I know they feel the same. If that sounds sappy and lame, then I guess I am!

I don't know your situation MKL but it seems pretty obvious you don't have kids. If and when you do, and your folks back in Slovenia are desperate for a glimpse of their lovely Eurasian grandkids across the world, I suspect you might change your tune a bit!

Oh: 1)Equating kids with puppies? Come on mate ...

Another great aspect of FB for me has been making and keeping travel acquaintances. Yeah, you might never speak to them again but having someone in every corner of the globe to potentially hook up with in future can't be bad.

Then there is the news aspect, though this is obviously not unique to FB. As someone who has worked in and around the media for years, what social media has achieved in terms of news and information dessemination (blogging particularly) is nothing short of incredible.

All in all, I don't find the naysayers any less boring than the geeks who can't take a break (the games are incredibly crap). The same old tired arguments about not wanting to read people's boring updates are, yep, boring!

Just pick and choose what you want to read. Someone telling you what they had for breakfast might be idiotic but it hardly wastes up precious hours. You soon learn who has something interesting to contribute.

Finally, as I work online most of the time, it's very convenient for me to have it on in the office and at home and to chat, post or comment at my leisure.

Sorry for the gargantuan post again!

I completely agree with you. I have been MIA for awhile because I've been so busy with work, my studies, and now my volunteering is taking me overseas so I'll be online even less. I had to get off FB and have no plans to get back on. The tedium and abject banality of it depressed me. There's simply no other way for me to express it. I enjoy reading the blogs I used to visit regularly, ones that have always had something of substance to say (like yours ~.^) Twitter has become a playground for celebrity wanna-be brats. Seriously are they that starved of attention to constantly tweet random camwhore pix of themselves? I don't really care if you bought a new pair of LBs. Good for you. But geez, is there nothing else going on in your life? I mean seriously??!?!??! >.<
Sorry for the rant, but you touched my sore spot. LOL Good to see you're slowly adjusting to your new life.

@ZACL: Thanks for your support :) And I hope things become stable for us, who go through big changes recently. Good luck to both of us :)

@*~kAy~*: I also like to keep in touch with people, who live away from me, that's all :)

@GunGraveTZA: Facebook was similar at first. I wonder how long until Google starts with ads and apps... at one point they will monetize the hype.

@Tommykey: I also separate myself from certain people in my online life, it's much better. It is convenient to keep in touch, but there are so many other ways, from email to private messages, messengers... the possibilities are limitless. It all depends how you do it.

@James: Interesting reply. It seems that you recognized yourself in my post and you try to defend yourself. As we are not FB friends, I cannot verify your Facebook behavior, but all the things I have listed (Extensively like-ing (not liking), writing platitudes, linking to boring stuff, daily changing profile photos, posting their kid or puppy photos over and over again... etc) I or my wife have experienced lately. Consequence was hiding or removing people or lack of engagement on the platform. Now tell me, if you post your baby photo every day all the time to every of your followers, that's completely normal? Not in my world. See, this matter just shows how different we are. I also have my mom and sisters on Facebook and when I post stuff intended to them, I modify the privacy settings and only my family can see the photos or messages. And when I have kids and want to share photos with my folks back in Europe, I will mail them the photos, very simple.

I'm still spending time on these websites, so my last sentence was meant as a poke at myself. Even I can't escape the convenience of some of these websites, but my main point is: The experience has become more boring for me. If you have fun sharing and looking at other people's kids - good for you. But I don't. We're just different here, there's no right or wrong.

@Kay: Welcome back! :) I missed your comments. Haha.. good observation about Twitter, lol! You're so spot on :P I'm following only few selected celebs, and none of them bought LBs, haha :P

'It seems that you recognized yourself in my post and you try to defend yourself'

:) It's funny, that seems to be something of a stock response from you MKL. Like the only reason people responded to you on the food blogger post was because they ahd been exposed and were embarrassed, rather than disagreed with some of your analysis.

I'm not going to try and convince you but, honestly, no such thought ever occurred to me. It wouldn't be something serious enough for me to feel the need to defend, even if I were the kind of FBer you describe.

'If you have fun sharing and looking at other people's kids - good for you. But I don't.'

Really? You're 30-plus, right? So I reckon you must have some close friends with kids. And you're not interested in seeing ANY of them and how the little darls are developing.

I suppose you might say you're happy to see their pics in a private mail, but does the fact that everyone else can see them in some way diminish your enjoyment. That would be rather an odd argument.

Anyway, if you are really not interested in seeing yours friend's kids, it speaks volumes to me.

I have a couple of acquaintances from back in the UK who never once commented on or asked me about my two boys until they had kids themeselves.

Then suddenly it was all 'Oh, your boys are lovely too. How are they getting on ..? yadda yadda' Great, thanks, as the eldest has been for the last seven years.

Good luck with not having fun looking at other people's kids. If you genuinely have - and have shown -no interest in your friends' kids, I'm sure it won't stop them from been stoked about yours. They might remember your indifference with a tinge of sadness, though.

I can always tell what kind of people will be good with children. Those who aren't are not bad or 'wrong', as you say. Just missing out.

Thanks for surprising nomination for that 7 links thing btw. Think I'll have a tough time coming up with anything for some of those categories, though!

Ah - my mistake. Looks like the initial comment was awaiting moderation. Sorry.

@James: You went there into a very deep psychoanalysis, but I'm not impressed.

My original statement in the post was: posting their kid or puppy photos over and over again...

Let me stress again that it's about excessive daily posting of baby or pet photos. If someone posts photos once in a while, I have nothing against that. I hope you can distinguish between excessive daily posting and occasional posting. I am interested to see my friends' kids grow, but I prefer to see them in real, not on social networks. And for my friends back home in Europe, who I can't see too often, I still don't want to see 10 baby photos every single day. What's the difference? How much can a baby grow and change in a day? Not much, if you ask me. How about once a month? That sounds more reasonable to me.

And if you're hinting that I would be bad with children, you're dead wrong. I could list you several kids who would disagree with that.

I'll leave it as this now.

@James: Posts older than 7 days are moderated, so don't worry. I always confirm comments, only the spammers and trolls won't find a home here.

James, dare I say it, I think you are pounding into MKL rather unfairly. You are at a different stage of life to him and taking other aspects out of life that suit you. MKL is saying what he feels and what may or may not suit him now. That is perfectly acceptable in my book.

I am a parent and take a range of things from life and communications. I don't enthuse over other people's endless pix of their darlings or their endless great goings on. I accept it may be very important to them, and perhaps one day, it may have more meaning directly for me. Reams of doggie pix don't excite me either. I'd be polite and give the odd 'aaw' if I felt it pleased the other party, there would be a limit to that.

We all lead different lives, have varied priorities and interests, which change in different stages of life. I respect that.

It is fortunate that we are all different and have a breadth of outlooks. It makes life all the more interesting.

@ZACL: Thanks for the interesting comment and a different perspective on the issue. Really well put.

I totally agree ZACL and what you say in your opening paragraph was exactly MY point! In my very first post I say it all depends on what you want to get out if it.

It's not ME being unfair - I'm playing devil's advocate and saying MKL is the one being unfair by bemoaning FB bores when everyone has different ends in using this stuff.

It's like how Twitter started out and what it has now become. For on the ground news from, say, street protests in Damascus it's brilliant. The fact that some people still use it to remark on their most recent bowel movements, I agree it's completely lame. But as you've said, it's not a 'wrong' usage.

As for the one pic a month: like with your nice snaps on your blogs MKL, photos tends to work as a set for me. If my mate posts his shots from a day out at the park, is he really going to post one shot in isolation?

Will the fact that they have his kid in a couple of them put you off? On the contrary, they add to the atmosphere for me, telling me what his day was like.

Slightly off subject: On my blog, I almost never include personal snaps but I did recently make an exception with my piece about a lovely park not far from me, where I included a pic of my youngest scampering around as it was relevant and added to the piece, I thought.

And stop with the puppies vs. children, guys! Everyone knows dogs are much more important!

James, you appear to be very selective, like us all, in what you take out of comments. It is the way an argument or a reported event becomes changed and distorted. We see it time and time again in the media. My whole first paragraph stands on this issue not just the first half.

Devil's advocacy is not a tool to be played with lightly.

I am sure your blog will be very interesting James, you seem to be a very open writer. I shall visit sometime.

The more information you provide online, including social networking profiles, photos, posts and in live chats, the easier it is for criminals to use your details to steal your money or identity.

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