Although I started this blog with the main intention to discuss Interactive Whiteboards, I would also like to use it from time to time to discuss other aspects of ICT.

I would like to have a little rant, if I may, about Facebook. Now I joined Facebook a few months back, initially with the idea that it would be a kind of Friends-Reunited kind of thing, or a way of keeping in touch with friends and family. And in that respect it’s quite handy.

But there are several things that annoy me about it..

1. Viral Facebook applications. I have friends who sign up for just about every application there can be – from ninjas to jedis to pirates to what kind of celebrity/Simpson/household appliance are you?. And when they sign up to this, they send it to every single friend on their list. Now I then get a request to add the application, but there is no way I can see a sneak preview of the application unless I add it and give it access to my profile. They are bloody annoying.

Problem is, there’s a whole new etiquette in play. And I am to polite to send them an email saying “stop spamming me”

2. Facebook Hoaxes. There are several of these doing the rounds. For example;

OMG, hit FORWARD if you want to see who looks at your profile the most. All you have to do is Forward the message and hit Ctrl F4.

or

Attention all Facebook membeRs .
Facebook is recently becoming very overpopulated,
There have been many members complaining that Facebook
is becoming very slow.Record shows that the reason is
that there are too many non-active Facebook members
And on the other side too many new Facebook members.
We will be sending this messages around to see if the
Members are active or not,If you’re active please send
to other users using Copy+Paste to show that you are active

This is the Facebook equivalent of the old “Bill Gates will give a dollar for every person this email is sent to” hoax which thankfully I haven’t received for a while.

When I used to get hoax emails in the past I always referred the sender to Snopes.com which is a fantastic way of checking on all these hoaxes. I just despair that people think that forwarding an email will somehow reveal some new software feature.

Taking a look at some of my friends’ message walls reveals they are getting this same message several times a day. One forwarded it to 280 of their friends! These messages are in essence a benign virus being propogated by people. The “virus” doesn’t do any actual damage but like spam email the system is beginning to struggle under the sheer weight of all these useless messages flying around.

Basically – if you get one of these a) check that its a true and b) do not forward it on. Let it die.

3. Chain Mail Messages. Basically the same as above. These crappy messages that tell you to forward it on to 10 friends to get good luck or you will die/have bad luck etc etc. Chain Mails are an evil thing and I wish people would stop forwarding them on. They prey on people’s superstitions and fears.

Like the hoaxes, please let these die. Don’t forward them on

4. How many walls do you need? I had a wall, a super wall, a fun wall and could probably get a load more walls too if I wanted. I liked the idea of a simple wall I could leave messages for friends on. But then one got a super wall and left messages for me on that. Unless I joined Super Wall I couldnt read them. So I joined. Then someone joined Fun Wall and left messages for me on that. So I joined that. It’s getting out of hand. And the bulk of what is left on there is the same old stuff that used to just be sent in an email. It’s got to the stage where I have taken most of my walls down.

I guess a lot of this makes me sound like a boring old fart. But I just wanted to get some of my frustrations off my chest. And I haven’t even started on the privacy aspects – and the fact that I get told about every message friend A sends friend B, even if I have no idea who Friend B is…..

Social networking can be a very effective tool. But it’s a bit like the Wild West out there right now, and is in need of a little taming before it can be really useful.