I have been thinking about what bugs me about the new Facebook applications. I like some of them. I think Extended info isn't a bad idea. I like the Twitter app since I have been twittering to no audience for weeks now and like to get it out there, my mini-blogging and "emitting" as Dan puts it. (I like that I can twitter at work and express those momentary small thoughts that are semi-interesting but not worthy of a blog post or a conversation. It helps me keep my brain from atrophying.) Some of the apps are totally useless, or just opportunities for branding or marketing, like the Red Bull Roshambull and the Fortune Cookie app. I wish there was a goodreads.com app, and I wish there was a shared-in-Google-reader app (I use del.icio.us as mobile bookmarks, but nothing I feel the need to share with anyone, so the del.icio.us app isn't useful to me though I definitely see how it could be for other people). Then there's the "what the fuck" app, Trakzor, which tracks visitors to your facebook site IF they choose to identify themselves, so that's a) nice for privacy and b) totally pointless. So there's a lot across the board.
However, the apps I was initially tempted to use were things like Flixster and iLike and then another one called EF Globalprint. I came very close to adding all of them. And then I realized what it is that bugs me about them. It's too much information. Yeah, I know, I am an oversharer and I have an excessively long facebook profile, especially for someone my age (shouldn't I be over that by now), but this is too much to the point where it actually takes away from potential conversation you may have with people off of the internet. Can't you see it? You are sitting with someone in a coffee shop and you mention that you are going to the Feist concert (woooooo!) and they say "Oh yeah, I saw that on Facebook." Either that, or they don't say it, they just think, "Shit, this person is boring." How often do you talk to people and say "I saw this movie last weekend" and they ask how it was and did you enjoy it and you relate it to the conversation at hand? Not all the time but it happens, especially with movies that make an impact on you or are particularly zeitgeisty ( Knocked Up, for example, or Pirates of the Caribbean, or Borat). But with Flixster, you will already have reviewed that movie online and said everything you thought of it. And I know I have lots of conversations with people about places we've traveled to and where we want to go next and it's one of the best things to talk about with people, and now if you have the EF Globalprint app, you don't need to reveal that information slowly. With all these new apps, you show your whole hand.
I realize that what really makes for human interaction is not what you like, but what you ARE like (that's the big lesson of the High Fidelity book), but a big piece of what brings people together and keeps things interesting is overlapping tastes, interests, and so on - or perhaps more than that, it's the discovery of those overlapping tastes and interests. I know one of the things that stood out to me the most early on with Sean was that he had also had the Spooky the Ghost typing game when he was a kid that I had had. And I love that my friend Santiago has also read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. And Rachel also listened a lot to Marc Cohn when she was on road trips with her parents. And Jordi and I just discovered last week that we both love Josh Ritter (and solidified our original friendship when we spent 30 minutes in the Stanford Bookstore perusing the Berenstain Bears books). And there are a million things that do NOT overlap and that provides for conversation and debate and connection as well. And so on. (I still haven't met anyone who read The Dwindling Party or Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe or saw The Christmas Toy when they were little.) So I object to putting all those cards on the table. I want Facebook to be a snapshot of me, not the whole photo album. I want it to be the cliffhanger and you have to wait the whole summer to get to the next season. The internet and social networking sites are good insofar as they bring people together OFF the internet. At least, that's the way I see it. ( #432.)