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July 30, 2007

Social Networking: It Ain’t For Everyone

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Jason Calacanis is complaining again, this time declaring Facebook bankruptcy. He’s had it with Facebook, he’s had it with blog comments, he’s had it with life and he’s taking his ball and going home. Okay. Everyone say goodbye to Jason.

[waves]

I pick on Jason a bit, but I really do find him to be an interesting guy. Anyone with the gall to walk into a search conference and declare that SEO is bull at least has my attention, right? I’m listening, Jason, I am. I just don’t get you.

Who knows what sparked Jason’s latest attack? Maybe he was feeling underappreciated, maybe he wanted some link love (ding ding ding!), or maybe he just wasn’t feeling pretty, but on Friday, there he was on his blog bellyaching over his 150 friend requests, his 22 friend detail requests, the Skype requests, and all the other nonsense Facebook users have become accustomed to getting. It’s hard being famous.

And I’m with Jason there (not about being famous. I’m not famous), my never-ending right Facebook side bar is annoying. The crazy spike in Facebook’s list of Ridiculous and Inane Applications has overwhelmed me. Don’t get me wrong, I like Facebook and I like my Facebook friends, but even I don’t want to turn them into zombies.

I also don’t care what movies you’ve just seen, I don’t want a pretend fortune cookie, I don’t care if I’m the nicest out of all your friends (as long as I’m the prettiest) and I don’t want to play Texas Hold’em with you. I understand 100 percent the frustration Jason is feeling with a platform that at the moment is expanding from all seams. Even so, I still feel like Jason is throwing the baby out with the bathwater here.

Turning your friends into zombies or buying them mojitos is not what Facebook is about. Facebook is about establishing relationships and building a community, two things Jason Calacanis should be very familiar with.

It’s disappointing to see Jason proclaiming that social networks like Facebook are a waste of time. Facebook, like your Web site, is a tool. Every internet marketer would agree that a Web site that is nothing more than a screen-sized business card is a waste of energy. However, if you make that site means something to users and provides them some use, then it’s actually quite valuable. Well, Facebook is the same way. It hasn’t been a waste for me or the folks behind iLike or any of the other applications that have been able to establish real brands behind the walls of Facebook. It is, however, a waste for the zombie-makers.

But that’s the thing: you have to know how to use it. And right now Facebook is still a relatively new area for internet branding. Marketers know they want in and they’re trying to bust through every door available because they’re not sure which one is the right one. As a result, we’re being cluttered. As Facebook matures, those who don’t know how to use it will fall away and the companies that are able to build relationships and form a real community wll survive. Every site has its growing pains.

You would think someone like Jason Calacanis would support that. Isn’t Mahalo about creating a community through human-powered search? Isn’t that why the tag line is "we’re here to help"? I thought so. Wasn’t Weblogs the same thing?

I think there’s a tremendous value to Facebook both for marketers and for your own social networking. It’s a mistake to turn yourself off from an entire community because you’re feeling a bit overloaded today. Instead, step away from Facebook for awhile. Don’t turn off the comments on your blog. Despite what people like Dave Winer have said recently, they really are important. Don’t cut off that connection, make it work for you.

What really kills me is that after Jason blogged about the vapidness of Facebook, he then spent two hours adding 948 friends (Jason, if it’s taking you two hours to add friends, you’re doing something wrong. Let’s chat.). How do I know he spent that much time adding that many friends?

Easy, he Twittered it.

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3 responses to “Social Networking: It Ain’t For Everyone”

  1. SEO Honolulu writes:

    This whole thing is ridiculous. Jason is comically predictable in his little rants and raves about not getting enough attention. boo-hoo.. let me call you a waaambulance

  2. pratt writes:

    “I also don’t care what movies you’ve just seen, I don’t want a pretend fortune cookie, I don’t care if I’m…”
    What about the ability to throw a sheep at a friend? Or take sexy back from them? I don’t care who you are, drop-kicking someone is a good time.

  3. Jane writes:

    Lisa! You idiot! He just wanted everyone to see his 150 friend requests and you fell for it!



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