Social Networking

I was reading a post by Luis, who has just joined Facebook, after trying Orkut and finding that more or less no one in his social circle actually uses Orkut.

I’m most active on Facebook myself, though it’s hard to really say why. Part of it might be that it was the first social networking site I used (aside: for some reason I resisted Friendster and the others like the plague). Some time after joining Facebook, I also joined Orkut and Friendster, though that was because I was invited to by friends; I didn’t seek it out myself. I don’t quite recall if I found Facebook myself, or if a friend invited me. Probably the latter.

I guess Facebook is more relevant to me since it has a college focus (though they’ve expanded that to include high schools and employers). Granted, I’m not in college anymore, but more than half of my closest friends are still in college or still related to one in some way. (Hah, grad school: suckers! ^_^) Or maybe I just never gave Orkut or Friendster a chance since I was devoting energy to Facebook. On the other hand, I have around 100 ‘friends’ on Facebook, and less than 20 each on Orkut and Friendster, and I don’t think I’ve actually invited anyone on any of the services. So all my friends on any of the three are people who were already on the service that I found by searching, or who joined and found me.

So I guess, either by chance or by design, more people in my social circle tend to end up on Facebook than the other popular social networking sites.

Unfortunately, though, I don’t really get the feeling of any kind of participation level. I tend to participate passively: I’ll check out my friends’ pictures when they post new ones, skim their profiles when they update them, etc. I join ‘groups’ on Facebook not because I want to participate, but because it seems cool or funny, or it’s a topic I identify with. Even if I wanted to ‘participate’, I’m not even really sure what that means.

So I see Facebook as a window on some friends I don’t really keep in touch with as well as I’d like, as well as a way to reciprocate and let people know what I’m doing. But for the people that I see often in person, or talk to regularly on AIM or IRC, Facebook really does nothing for me.

Now, what would be cool is if there was some involvement with OSS-related people that I know. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure Facebook is more or less US-only (though I have seen Oxford and Cambridge on there), so that leaves out the majority of the Xfce and Lunar guys I know.

I dunno. While it’s somewhat fun to be a part of these little online communities, I don’t feel like my life would be in any way diminished without them.