Loving Facebook (or leaving it)

Yesterday was my first no-blog day in more than a month and a half. I’m a little annoyed – I was hoping to clear December – but it’s a good reminder too. I was feeling stressed about getting up a post, even after we came back from dinner at 8:30 p.m. “There’s gotta be something I can say about that steak!”

The thing about blogging, though, is that it shouldn’t be stressful. That’s not to say it’s not useful to keep up a routine and set deadlines, but it’s okay to give it a miss once in a while. Just like it’s a good feeling to realize you can post every day, it’s a good feeling to realize you can not post every day.

Shifting gears, I read a Facebook update today dealing with another of Facebook’s new privacy and information management changes. Have you noticed you don’t seem to hear from certain friends, and wonder why either 1) they’re so quiet, or 2) they’ve defriended you? Maybe neither.

Facebook defaults to only displaying posts from a set number of your friend list (the friend who tipped me to this said it was set at 200, but mine was 250). To change it:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of your news feed
  2. Click “Edit Options” (on the right side)
  3. Under “Number of Friends,” update the number (I chose a number larger than my current number of friends)

I also noticed the option to “View Recommended Friends.” I clicked it but it seemed to include everyone. Wonder what the criteria for being a “recommended friend” is?

Here are a few more Facebook pearls for your consideration:

My Year in Status: I haven’t done one of these yet, but it essentially aggregates your status updates from the past year. It’s not exactly a word cloud because words aren’t larger/smaller by frequency, but kind of a neat retrospective.

(If you’re looking for word clouds, try wordle.net. I plugged my entire dissertation in to this, and the result was probably more interesting than the dissertation itself.)

Starting over on Facebook: Jedi Master Dan Gillmor took the nuclear approach to Facebook’s new privacy regulations: Tear it down and start over. Gillmor deleted his account and started fresh. Also notable is that he ACTUALLY was able to the account – if you’ve ever ragequit Facebook, you’ve probably discovered that your account was only deactivated.

This is probably a good thing, both for them and for you. Deleting an entire identity is something you’ll possibly think better on at a later date. But it also brings us to …

Defriending Facebook: Maybe you’ve just had it with your Facebook obsession, or with the obsessives who populate it (see next point). What (if any) are the drawbacks of cutting the cord? Some of you who are considering the option may have been motivated in part by …

Eighteen People You’re Scared of on Facebook: Surprisingly thorough. There’ve been a number of these lists, but what I like about this one is its style (well, it IS from GQ) – rather than lengthy descriptions, each one is just a representative post by that person. Clear and simple.

UPDATE (316p 12/22): Facebook will get you divorced! Well, that’s hyperbole – you’ve actually got a one-in-five chance. Get a load of this:

Conference organiser Emma Brady was distraught to read that her marriage was over when he updated his status on the site to read: “Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady.”

When it comes to status updates, sharing isn’t always caring.

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