Why Facebook Sucks and Why Facebook Doesn’t Suck

Why Facebook sucks (Scripting News) Dave Winer has a post out called “Why Facebook Sucks.” Dave says that Facebook basically sucks because like many social networks it’s a silo. Lots of input but not so easy output.

From Dave:
“I mean, I understand why they want me to tell them everyone I know, but how about letting me download a copy to my computer, so I can back it up, use it on my iPhone or Blackberry, bequeath it to my heirs, write a book about it, or give a copy to Google or Netflix or Yahoo, or you get the idea.

It’s the last thing they don’t want me to do, give a copy to a competitor of theirs. And they hope I won’t notice that I’m doing all this work and not insisting on at least being their equal when it comes to my data.”

Personally I agree with Dave about this. The fact that Facebook data is not so easily portable sucks. The first time I got really burned with non portability of data was with Flickr. I spent hours and hours and hours and hours tagging my photos on Flickr. Only to learn later that portability of this data was not an easy thing at all. What’s worse Flickr forced me to downsize many of my photographs (Flickr has a 10MB file size limit, which is smaller than many of my photo files from my 5D). So even if I could find a suitable download option that would somehow reunite my photos on my hard drive with my meta data it would be a near impossible task and I wouldn’t want to replace my larger size better quality originals with lesser quality Flickr copies with meta data.

I learned this lesson the hard way and now I enter all my meta data at the file level. This way when I upload the files the meta data goes with it but is still owned and controlled by me at the file level. Same goes for geotags on my photos. I geotag locally with GeoTagr for the Mac and Google Earth.

So the question is am I digging myself into another hole by investing time and energy in stuff on Facebook when the system is closed. The answer is probably yes. But I spend far less time on Facebook than I ever did on Flickr.

But so while Dave’s right and this sucks about Facebook, I still use it. Why? Because there are a lot of things that don’t suck.

First and foremost Facebook has become an adjunct sort of email for me. So many people are on it. The difference is though that only my contacts can email me on Facebook.

My regular email is all but dead. Well, since my Mac just died and the hard drive will likely be replaced I probably will actually be committing email suicide. That’s not so bad though. I had over 5,000 emails in my inbox. Most of them useless worthless things that do nothing but waste time. It is hard using my old email because navigating through so much spam proved so difficult. I had fairly aggressive spam filtering on my email client on my Mac. When I lost my Mac I tried using the webmail associated with my hosting. Impossible. Completely overwhelmed by spam. I probably get at least 400 spam messages a day. Then there is all that email from PR people wanting me to look at their latest gizmo or gadget, people wanting to use my photos for free, and lots and lots of Zooomr related email.

So one way that Facebook doesn’t suck is as a place that I can go to get email that has sort of a built in only people I know can email me filter sort of thing. I suppose I could try to find a solution for my actual email but I’m lazy and haven’t gotten that far with it yet.

Another way that Facebook doesn’t suck is with their API. Dave says that Faebook is kind of closed with their address book. But with the API you can make Facebook less closed. For instance. I don’t post photos on Facebook. Their photo sharing sucks. Their file size limits are worse than Flickr and I don’t really like the presentation.

But.

With the recent Facebook API stuff, John Wesley made a really cool Zooomr RSS app that puts my Zooomr stream right on my Facebook profile. So I still get my photos on Facebook, but don’t have to actually do any work to get them on there. So that’s kind of cool. More on that here.

So another way that Facebook sucks though is with all the outside development I get invited to so much crap that I’m not interested in and it clutters my righthand sidebar on my main facebook page. Purity test invitations, movie compatibility requests, human pets invitiation, etc. I suppose I could just unfriend the worst offenders, but that just doesn’t feel very nice to me.

The main thing that Facebook does right though is the personal news feed. I don’t know how they do it. But they filter it kind of just right. They focus on things that are interesting to anyone. People hooking up or breaking up, some people that you are more interested than others etc.

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13 Comments

  1. Thomas, if you’re overwhealmed by spam I’d really recommend using Gmail. I have Gmail set up to collect mail from three old accounts, all of which have been flooded by spam. It filters them all clean, clean enough to use again.

  2. Levois says:

    You’re right Facebook is a very great tool.

  3. You’re right. Facebook does suck.

  4. g says:

    i know what you mean about tagging zillions of photos on Flickr. i did that since i joined early 2005.

    it was only a few months ago i started tagging at the file level. i still have so many older photos that are tagged online but untagged on my computer.

    another reason why Facebook is kind of sucking now, are the thousands of variations of “Person X has invited you to share a drink with them!” apps and “my zombie killed your vampire who attacked Person Z’s ninja” things.

    i mean it was fun when there was just one or two of these, but now these have mutated endlessly and just clog up the notification box.

  5. TranceMist says:

    How about a link to the GeoTagr you’re using on OSX? Google doesn’t find what it sounds like you’re using.

  6. Tuan says:

    Here’s another issue. As a photographer, I am sure you don’t like to give full rights to any posted images. See this excerpt:

    “By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically
    grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant,
    to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable,
    fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use,
    copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt
    (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose
    on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare
    derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content,
    and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing. You may remove
    your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove
    your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire,
    however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of
    your User Content.”

  7. John Eje Thelin says:

    Facebook is like if someone invented this great thing where you can buy an intercom system you can use to get in touch with all your friends who also buy an intercomo n the same syste; just dandy, but I already have a telephone.

    Facebook is made for people who don’t know how to use the internet – a point proven rather well when someone did a random phishing expedition of Facebook users and got a staggering 80% hit rate.

  8. ko says:

    For TranceMist and others, the geo tagging software that I think Thomas is using is linked below. It’s called GeoTagger and not GeoTagr.

    http://craig.stanton.net.nz/software/Geotagger.html

  9. Ann says:

    I would much rather use Yuwie or Myspace compared to Facebook. I use them to meet new people, not to “play” useless/stupid games like on Facebook.

  10. Bernard Jari says:

    I placed “Facebook Sucks” into the Google search field and this site was in the results.

    I want to say that I was on both MySpace and Facebook for a long time.

    I preferred MySpace to Facebook at first because it seemed as though more was going on on MySpace, I had or made friends there, even with a few bands, and all of the other things I won’t mention or talk about at this time.

    However, I started to like Facebook more when I found a few more friends there, school classmates for example, plus the quizzes you could take, along with other things.

    I think that the quizzes were made up by other Facebook users, which I set one up myself, but it won’t show anywhere, because it says that something like 10 people per week, or something like that, need to use the quiz, or no one will see it listed, so it sits there not being seen by anyone because in order to start it out, I’d need to send it to at least 10 people first that would take the quiz, and at that time I didn’t even have 10 people that were friends on Facebook.

    Anyway, I also started to like Facebook more when I started to play games like Mafia Wars, Vampire Wars, Castle Age, My Zoo, Street Racing, along with maybe another 8 to 10 more that I started playing.

    The only thing about playing the games was that you had to be Facebook friends with the people you play with, not against as that’s a different story or category, like Mafia Wars for example, your “Mafia Wars Family” friends play against other “families,” so since I only had two friends that would or could play the games with me, I decided to make “new” friends so we could play games together.

    Well, what happens, I played for three weeks and two days, the last day was last Sunday, I started adding friends so we could play the games, and what was Facebook’s response, to threaten to delete my account.

    I made about 288 friends in three weeks, it was actually 305 but only 288 decided to keep my friendship.

    I started taking the quizzes and posted the results, Facebook’s response was threaten to delete my account.

    In taking the quizzes there is the option of posting and comparing the results with your friends, and in the games, there’s the option of posting your “Wish List,” like what you’re looking for in Mafia Wars for example, there’s also the option to post missons that you can request help in finishing the mission, benefitting both the person doing the mission and the other members of the person’s “Mafia Family.”

    These are “natural” or “normal” features and functions of the quizzes and of the Zynga Games that are on Facebook, and for that matter, the games are also on MySpace, and a few others, even Yahoo, and requesting friends to play the games, and posting quiz results, etc, all result in Facebook accusing me of misusing Facebook and violating the Terms Of Service.

    Well I say that if the “normal” operations of the quizzes and of the games causes me to violate the TOS of Facebook, or the Terms Of Service of Facebook, then Facebook should “go after” Zynga and whomever is responsible for setting up quizzes and not “come down on me!”

    The warnings came slowly at first, but by last Sunday, June 7, 2009, three weeks after starting to play games and taking quizzes, the warnings were on my screen all the time, no matter what Facebook page I went to, so I told people that I was logging out for the day, but after logging out and checking my e-mail, I had not one, not even two, but three e-mail messages telling me that I was violating Facebook’s TOS or Terms Of Service, so I logged back into Facebook and told people that I was sorry, but that I was going to “do it to Facebook” before they do it to me and I said goodbye to them.

    I couldn’t delete my Facebook account myself, I could only deactivate it, and I did check the “other” box and I told them why I was deactivating my account, and so far I have not received any response from Facebook, but I now dislike Facebook.

    Facebook says that I was misusing the posting feature or function on what was called SuperWall but it’s called something else now, they also stated that I was violating the Terms Of Service, and gave a page number to look at and/or to read, so I did and I found nothing at all that had anything to do with the warning messages, except for maybe, possibly, one thing, and that is spamming.

    Facebook sees the sending out of the same or similar message as spam, and that’s against their TOS, so since the quizzes are similar in the way they post, and since the games also post in the same way, I suppose it’s seen as spam, but the way I feel is that the postings are normal for the quizzes and games, and the games wouldn’t be worth playing if you can’t ask for help from your Mafia Family for example with missions, or if you can’t ask for help if a member of a different mafia family is robbing you over and over again, especially like the other day for example, where I kept buying health because I was being attacked for over 4 hours straight and I was Level 48 or so and one guy that was robbing and/or attacking me was a Level 494, another one was a Level 190, and I didn’t see anything wrong with asking my mafia family by posting the link to the guy, it’s what most of us were doing and it seemed to be a part of the game.

    So anyway, I’ve said goodbye to Facebook, and I now dislike it quite a bit.

    They have a statement where they say that it’s a place to get together with friends, but if you try to make friends there, you get threatened with account deletion.

    They talk about sharing things with your friends, but if you do so, you’re violating the TOS.

    If you post things using the games, which is a part of, and a “normal,” or “natural,” thing for the games to do, you get warned for not using the posting feature properly, which I think is totally rediculous.

    If you post the results of taking a quiz, for the purpose of sharing with friends what quiz you’re taking, and to compare results with, and which, again, is a part or an option of the quizzes, you again get warned about violating their Terms Of Service.

    To me it seems as though no matter where I turned and no matter what I did, even if it seemed as though it was a normal part of the games and quizzes, I was threatened with account deletion.

    So I have a very large thumbs down for Facebook right now, and I won’t have anything to do with them, unless they apologize to me and ask me to come back, AND if they promise they won’t warn me again for violating their TOS or for posting things, as I wasn’t spamming and was thinking that what I was doing was the normal thing to do, as far as quizzes and games go.

    Have a Great Day,
    Bernard (Pa Barker on Mafia Wars, Long John Silver on Pirates:Rule the Carribean, Street Monger on Street Racing, etc.)

  11. Bernard Jari says:

    Well, after being off of Facebook for about a week and 3 days, and after a couple of friends talked me into giving Facebook a second chance, and/or that I should reactivate my account and wait until Facebook deletes my account, I decided to reactivate my Facebook account.

    I did find the page or link where the deletion of my account was possible, I clicked on delete, then it asked me if I was sure and I waited for ten minutes before I cancelled the request.

    I have reactivated my Facebook account a day or so ago, and so far, no warning messages about TOS or Terms Of Service violations, and no misusing of the wall posting feature, yet anyway.

    So I’m giving Facebook a second chance.

    I did invite maybe 20 friends yesterday too to play along with my Mafia Wars family, and that game seems to be the one that’s most popular, but the other games seem to be “gaining ground” so to speak on the popularity scale, and some people get real serious with the games and some will almost beg you to add them so they can have partners to play the games with.

    So that’s where I’m at right now.

    They do sometimes share pretty private things with you, but you need to have a Facebook account, need to log in and you need to be friends with the person, so there is a measure of privacy there, although with so many friends, there is the possibility of people who like say don’t want to see cuss words for example, or don’t like it if you post too much, etc., so sometimes it’s hard to make everyone happy with everything, and yet satisfy yourself with your interests.

    As far as the games go, you don’t need to play them, and you can filter the people out, or filter the game “traffic” out, so you don’t need to watch that, plus there are other things than games, there are quizzes, people sometimes just talk to each other, etc.

    Have a Great Day,
    Bernard

  12. Bernard Jari says:

    Bernard Jari said on 21/Jun/2009@8:08 am

    Facebook Update…Well after playing a few games for about 4 days again, reactivating my account, games like Mafia Wars, Castle Age, Pirates Rule The Carribbean, Special Forces, Street Racing, Vampire Wars, Dragon Wars, Mob Wars, etc and after doing a few more quizzes, which seems like a normal thing to do, around 12:30 this morning Facebook disabled my account for violating their TOS, and they won’t tell me why or what I did to deserve the disabling and I do not think that I did anything at all wrong.

    As far as I’m concerned Facebook really does suck or stink and I’m a quiet, easy-going nice guy, and they’re not such a very social network at all as if I am social they disable my account.

    If any of my Mafia family sees this, and hopefully if your account hasn’t been disabled, if anyone wants to know where I am, then please tell them that Facebook disabled my account for no good reason that I can determine.

    Goodbye and Good Riddance Facelessbook,
    Bernard
    AKA
    Pa Barker on Mafia Wars
    Long John Silver on Pirates Rule The Carribbean
    Street Monger on Street Racing
    Count Chocula on Vampire Wars
    Etc.

  13. Bernard Jari says:

    I’m only writing this to be fair to Facebook and to let those of you who may be using Facebook, or have had their account disabled, that my account was re-enabled and here’s Facebook’s explanation as to why my account was disabled:

    Hi Bernard,

    Facebook has limits in place to prevent behavior that other users may find annoying or abusive. These limits restrict the rate at which you can use certain features on the site. Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with the specific rates that have been deemed abusive.

    Your account was disabled because you exceeded Facebook’s limits on multiple occasions when writing on Walls, despite having been warned to slow down.

    However, after reviewing your situation, we have reactivated your account, and you should now be able to log in. Please be aware that if your account is disabled again, we will not be able to reactivate it. Once logged in, please slow down the rate at which you write on Walls. We appreciate your cooperation going forward.

    Thanks for your understanding,

    Tatsuya
    User Operations
    Facebook

    Everyone Have a Great Day,
    Bernard