Call me Russ L

Soshul Meedja part #381 (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The ‘Book. Well, not ‘love’, as such…)

Posted in Modern Living, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 25 February, 2009

Twitter has been in the news lately thanks to sundry celebrities, and so the amount of discussion regarding it has increased. I found myself defending the ‘point’ of it on a messageboard recently – it’s just a way of talking to people, and so the ‘point’ is what you and your cohorts make of it. It’s not any different in that respect to any other social media website or even any other means of communication (and the Grauny seems to agree). Some social media tools are, of course, better in actual use than others (MySpace obviously has a lot of problems, for example), but the ‘point’ of them is down to the users. Or, more specifically, yourself and those you use it with.

I realised, however, that this (fairly self-evident, I would’ve thought) fact conflicts with my actual behaviour in other ways. I’d always steered away from Facebook – I really don’t like the half gated-community-to-keep-the-riff-raff-out / half Schrodinger’s cat feel of having to sign up before you can see anything at all. It doesn’t smell right to me.

Whilst I do genuinely think that’s a bad thing, the thought occurs that it doesn’t behove me to act all superior to FB (it annoys me enough when people do it about other things I like – expressing objections is one thing, it’s the condescension that gets on my wick). Should I try it, if only in the name of consistency? At least have a look? After all, if it’s not outright terrible then it can be given a purpose.

This train of thought alone probably wouldn’t have been enough to sway me, but it turns out that our local union branch have decided to use an FB group as a way of disseminating info. This is in spite of the fact that I helped them set up an actual blog a while ago (admittedly the chap I did that with has since resigned as a rep), which I think would be a far more open-to-all method than hiding things beyond the walls (pun partially intended). Maybe it’s not supposed to be free and open and that’s the point, though. Dunno.

Feeling slightly dirty, then, I signed up to the big Eff Bee. I was a bit disappointed that I had to register as ‘Russell Lowe’ rather than ‘Russ L’ but there we go, I’ll play the game. I was immediately impressed by the fact that it seems to try to steer Johnny User away from MySpace-esque “add more people add more people validate my worth as a human being by commenting on my pics plz”. I approve of this.

That’s about all that seems good so far, though. I’ve found plenty about it to dislike. I don’t find the workings of it to be particularly intuitive, but then again I suppose I rarely do with anything so there’s no point blaming Facebook for my failings. It’s not quite MySpace-esque chaos, but the ‘wall’ page definitely looks like a mess (here and elsewhere there are a tonne of things I would prefer to be in collapsible/removable boxes or tabs). The much vaunted status updates, meanwhile, are basically like a lesser version of Twitter. My main reason for actually joining the whole palava was for that group, meanwhile, but I can’t seem to jump straight to it straight from my ‘home’ or ‘wall’ pages – I have to go home>groups>then to the group page, which seems a bit silly.

There may of course be easy solutions to all of these problems that I just haven’t figured out yet (please feel free to let me know).

I’ll see how I get on, anyway. Never let it be said that I’m not prepared to admit I’m wrong if the circumstances dictate.


5 Responses

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  1. dunc said, on 25 February, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    I had the same defending twitter on a forum experience recently, which was weird as all of the non-celebrity arguments against twitter could have been levelled at a forum too.

    Have fun on facebook. Be prepared to know exactly what everyone is up to and when.

  2. Russ L said, on 25 February, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Well, that’s precisely it. “Talking to people on the internet is feeble” is a consistent argument, if not one I agree with. “Talking to people on some bits of the internet is OK, but not on others” is a completely baffling argument, and I must admit I was guilty of it to some extent.

  3. Dead Kenny said, on 26 February, 2009 at 1:20 am

    Russ, which of the many ‘Russell Lowe’ are you on FB, as none look like you unless you’ve had a drastic haircut lately. Or is it you hiding behind the Alan Partridge caricature? I think we should be told.

  4. Little old me said, on 26 February, 2009 at 6:31 am

    Now you can find Aunty Rach

  5. Russ L said, on 26 February, 2009 at 9:45 am

    DK – I’m the one behind the picture of Deirdre ‘LolDeirdre’ Alden. The very first one at the top, on the search I just did to see.


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