Friday, November 21, 2008

Staring Disturbing In The Face(book)

So, I signed up for Facebook this afternoon.

Yeah, I know.

I'll give my handful of readers a chance to catch their collective breath.


I don't really believe it either.

Don't go looking for my page yet. I've added nothing, uploaded nary a thing and I've got my privacy settings on "Fort Knox".

As fantastic of a site as this might prove to be, I don't like anything that doesn't let me see what I'm getting into before signing up. As much as I disliked my first experience with MySpace (long story), at least I could check out a few other peoples' pages first before I took the plunge and typed in my email address and personal information.

I've been fighting signing up for Facebook as long as possible but the din of people asking me if I was on it yet has grown to a point where I'm finding it hard to concentrate.  Sure, I have a blog. And I'm on Twitter. And I'm on some photo sharing sites.

Nobody cares.

Apparently, if you're not on Facebook, you're a nobody. A prehistoric nobody.

Everyone seems to be on Facebook. Most of my actor friends from Japan and Florida use Facebook. I get that and respect that. It's a great way to keep in touch as well as network. But just because I know that doesn't mean I'm ready for it.  Plus, there's a very good risk that someone from high school could find me.


Anyway, my signing up is actually is the result of the confluence of 3 events:

1. I got a call from my best friend Mike the other day and he asked me if I was on Facebook.


For those of you who know him, you may be as shocked as I was. Mike!
The Mike who didn't want to sign up for MSN Messenger because of privacy issues.
The Mike who didn't bat an eye when he recommended that I just delete my newly-created MySpace account after a former-girlfriend I wasn't ready to reestablish contact with tried to reestablish contact with me.
"Mike" Mike.

Yeah, I don't believe it either.

2. My installation of Digsby yesterday. After reading so many good things about it on Lifehacker, I decided to give it a shot. It's been really nice having a program bring together 4 of my email accounts, 5 of my IM accounts AND my Twitter.

But I just didn't like seeing the Facebook line grayed out...

3. Finally, last night, while testing Digby, I chatted online with a friend and former roommate from college. She asked if I was on Facebook yet and I gave the usual "Not yet! A few more posts on my blog and I think I'll be ready." She raved about it, particularly because of all of the current pictures of people she hadn't seen in years. "It's great! You can see how FAT everybody got! And how ugly their kids are!"

Well, that sounded shallow and petty.  And delightful.

So, I signed up.

While you're signing up, it asks you if you want to Facebook to scan your address book to check to see if any of your contacts have pages. Since I wasn't required to connect with any of these people yet, I figured it wouldn't hurt to check, right? Besides, I'd had Twitter do the same thing when I signed up and it brought up a big, fat goose egg.

Not so with Facebook.

Holy GEEZ, I didn't realize I knew so many people! I couldn't believe it. I had started using Gmail in Japan so I didn't think there'd be a lot of people in my address book. Boy, was I wrong. Even worse, as I'm clicking through the pages on my site, it starts suggesting people I might know. Friends of friends kinda thing, I guess.

The disturbing part? I know all of them.

That's scary.

On top of that, there are the 13 other Matt Herolds on Facebook. Suddenly my oddly-spelt last name doesn't feel quite so unique anymore.

Man, I don't know if I'm ready for this, you know? Ironic that I've been working so hard to create content to attract new readers to my blog yet I'm so unwilling to tap into such a giant vat of ready-made audience.
The thing is, I know these people.  That actually feels more constrictive to me than blogging to complete strangers.

Well, we'll see how it goes.  To those handful of people out there who haven't gotten on Facebook yet (hi, Ken!), I'll keep you updated.

Wish me luck!

No comments: