Thursday, February 26, 2009

Give me my notes back [The Book that is Face]

My response to a Tangelos posting about the abundance of note-memes on Facebook as of late:

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I admit, I got sucked into the 25 things note. At first I was annoyed, but then I started reading them and they were actually really entertaining and sometimes touching and insightful. I was entertained enough to feel guilty not giving back, so I even wrote my own. People who would NEVER participate in things like that were participating. In my circle, the titles gradually changed to “If [insert name of person who wouldn't be caught dead participating in a chain email] is doing this, I guess I have no excuse… 25 things about me.” Some of the material was so good I made a “top 25 25 things” post where I mixed up a list of all of my favorites from different friends. It was a “chain letter” by nature, but the content and inspired interaction felt like the rest of the Facebook experience.

But now it’s out of hand.

I’ve always taken great pains to explain to the Facebook-resistant that Facebook isn’t like MySpace. That if you choose to only add friends you actually know and avoid 3rd-party applications, the majority of interaction is actual interaction and not just clutter. But this whole note thing is threatening that, as notes are a native app and removing it means you miss out on actual notes. I wish they’d develop a “note game” app so this phenomenon can stop cluttering the note-sphere. And now the album game is encroaching on the photo-sphere.

I want my native apps to work like expect them to - when someone writes a new note I want to get excited about reading something substantive, random or at least original. When someone tags me in a photo I want it to be an actual photo of me, or of something specifically representative of me. Now I’m starting to ignore notes, and I’m glad my favorite American Idol re-capper has taken to the blogsphere so I don’t have to worry about missing his weekly wildly funny and original recap note in a sea of “My First Born” or “One Word” notes.

The thing I loved most about Facebook was the ability to control my experience. Until now, the expected user behavior has pretty much matched and remained consistent within each app. When there were variations they were at least in the same spirit. But this notes thing… it’s like the masses have found a way to work SuperPoke into a standard wall posting. Annoying.

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