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When did Facebook become a social obligation?

So at least once I week I get hit with the following:

“Did you see what so-and-so put on Facebook?”
“No.”
“Go look.”
“I don’t want to look right now.”
“Just go look.”

Don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook has a certain social value. A certain value. I’m not trying to downplay it, but unfortunately it’s turning into, or been turned into… well, something else. I hear a lot of people say “I use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends I don’t see very often.” or “I’ve met friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, using Facebook.” Good on you!

Unfortunately the real value of Facebook has been drowned in a sea of spam and junk. I had to have someone show me how to hide and block it, otherwise it’s almost impossible to sift through it.

Facebook is turning the corner (some would argue it passed it a few miles ago) of being more harmful than beneficial, but I suppose that can happen with anything that more than half-a-million people get involved in.

Friends you don’t know in real life, people you will never meet, people you may never want to meet, and you and your “friends” are sharing your life with them, around the clock. The “social obligation” of having Facebook friends reminds me of High School cliques.

There’s also the over-sharing: the Facebook status that just screams “I’m a loser!” The pointless random stupid Facebook “repost” crap. Whoever thought some of this up had a fantastic idea to bring Facebook page views and advertising revenue.Lastly, there’s the gossip. Nothing spreads faster on a social network than gossip. Gossip, rumor, stuff that’s made up and has little, if any, truth factor. You want to spread gossip, Facebook is the way. There’s also people who have lost their jobs, ended up in jail, or otherwise punished for something or other they’ve put on Facebook. Recently, a California judge ordered legal action against a juror because of their Facebook posts. Good. You shouldn’t have been discussing the case publicly, and you knew better.

Let’s also not forget the privacy issues surrounding Facebook. After all, Facebook started by stealing people’s personal information and sharing it. That’s what got them off the ground. Why should they stop a good thing? Not to mention the malicious apps that install viruses on your computer, in an effort to get just-that-much-more of your information.

I feel bad for the people that simply “live” on it, and forget that there was a time when it wasn’t around, and there will be a time where it won’t be. Social networks come and go all the time. Look at MySpace for a really good example. I think people have too easily forgotten this… what happened to the good old exchange of email addresses? Rather, it’s “I’m on Facebook.” If you’re using depending on Facebook as a way to share blurbs and photos with others, you might just want to keep your options open.

Businesses have been doing it too: I’ll see billboards and TV ads encouraging me to “Find us on Facebook.” Just the other day I got an email telling me that a business was having a drawing or a contest for something-or-other, and all I needed to do to enter was “like” them on Facebook. Really? So how are you honestly going to choose a “random” “winner” from all your Facebook groupies? I think businesses that do this do a discredit to themselves in an effort to get (or expand) a fan base. I’ll “like” a company on Facebook if I really want to get updates from them, not because you’re throwing me a teaser.

To Mark Elliot Zuckerberg and the rest of the Facebook devs: Well played.

What are your thoughts on Facebook, currently the largest, most controversial, and most profitable social media networking website ever?

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