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The Psychology of Facebook Examined

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the what-goes-on-in-a-websites-head dept.

189

jg21 writes "In this analysis of the psychology of Facebook, a British FB user makes some telling points about how simple the reasons behind its success are. Among them, fear of 'online social failure' features prominently. From the article: 'Facebook also digs away at the insecurities in people...your peers can see your profile on Facebook, and while they may have 50, 100, 200 friends they will mockingly see that you have a pathetically small number, confirming your worst fears about the low opinion they have probably held of you over all those years etc.'"

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Executive Summary (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814387)

So I think the only thing worth mentioning from this article is something that's obvious to the youth but apparently not so obvious to the older crowd--that younger people today use social networking sites (like Facebook) as a kind of status symbol.

That's about it.

Now, the author could go on to discuss the quality of those friends or some deeper psychological impact that this has on youth today (you know, like the title might lead you to believe). But, unfortunately, the second part reads more like an ad for Facebook than even an objective quantifiable analysis at what makes it better than other sites. I enjoyed this gem:

FR looks AWFUL. Not in a vile MySpace way, but in a "My first attempt at HTML" way. Facebook is slick and so 2007. Friends Reunited is clunky and basic, so 1997. There is no way any self-respecting net user is going to evangelise about FR.
So you claim that the looks are disgusting but not bad like MySpace (which is possibly the most successful social site so far) but bad like "My first attempt at HMTL" ... like all the customized pages on MySpace? I'm so confused, if you're going to knock them for bad looks, don't compare them to the top dog. Obviously looks don't make or break a social networking site. In fact, I would wager that marketing (movies have their own MySpace pages now, what?) has much more to do with it than usability or functionality.

Well, that sounds pretty opinionated and also very unhelpful. After reading this article selling Facebook, I feel like I need to use Facebook for social networking but I don't even know why ...

They also criticize ad placement in Facebook with a graphic that reads: "Facebook Ads! Yuck!" while on their site I notice a top banner, a left hand 'ads by Google' and also Advertisement boxes on the right. Um, you probably want to lay off the way that Facebook earns their income, especially when A) you say they're great for being 'free' and B) the site you publish on is using the same method.

So, a borderline Slashvertisement that is hilariously hypocritical and undertakes a psychological analysis of users on a social networking site without doing any surveys or real research that is often necessary to be able to say anything about your 'psychological studies' since any assumptions in the field can be as crazy as Sigmund Freud's Penis Envy Complex [wikipedia.org] .

In this analysis of the psychology of Facebook, a British FB user makes some telling points about how simple the reasons behind its success are.
No, no it does not. It is not an 'analysis' even by the loosest sense of the word & it certainly does nothing more than bash sites I've never heard about and avoid tackling the biggest obstacles for Facebook (MySpace and the zombie-back-from-the-grave-Friendster). Things must be awfully different between here and England for this to be frontpaged on Slashdot.

I'm going to go ahead and give this article an F and ask for the last ten minutes of my life back.

Re:Executive Summary (5, Funny)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814457)

See, that's why you should be like everyone else and not RTFA.

Don't Read The Frickin' Article! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814763)

Don't read goatse [goat.com] either. (Warning, not even a legitimate goatse link! I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS!)

Re:Executive Summary (1)

vimh42 (981236) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815509)

But we need someone to RTFA so we don't have to. You have made a great sacrifice. I salute you.

Re:Executive Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814465)

Thanks! Now I don't need to

I liken Facebook to Goatse... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814467)

...it's just about the GAYEST [goatse.cx] thing on the earth.

Re:Executive Summary (1)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814477)

I didn't get the disdain for the ads, either. The site is not charging its users, so something has to pay the bills. If there's no membership fee, it's got to come from advertising. I don't see the big deal there.

Re:Executive Summary (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814553)

I read your comment.. But I didn't heed your warning, and now I also want the last 10 minutes of my life back.

Re:Executive Summary (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814731)

Frankly I didn't know anything about facebook other than the name until a couple weeks ago until an old college buddy and I were IMing. He was chatting about some of the old faces and names from our graduating class including some of my ex-college flings, etc. I poked around for 5 minutes on a lark, found it to be a nigh bit frustrating on getting access to groups, etc. and said the hell with it.

But my friend kept going on and on and on about who was on it, what they were doing, John Smith is now a Lawyer, Jane Doe is getting her MD, Bob married Suzie, etc.. Seemed like most of the folks on there wanted to brag about something. Whether it was family and how happy they were, or look at my killer job and car, etc.. I just guess I don't care enough to really make the time to add a page or whatever it is you do. I don't have time. I'm busy writing on slashdot while I wait for video clips to render.

Re:Executive Summary (4, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815087)

"But my friend kept going on and on and on about who was on it, what they were doing, John Smith is now a Lawyer, Jane Doe is getting her MD, Bob married Suzie, etc.. Seemed like most of the folks on there wanted to brag about something. Whether it was family and how happy they were, or look at my killer job and car, etc."

You know...rather than trying to gather 100-300 online 'friends', I guess I've just been busy with my 10-15 REAL friends. Most of them, I've known for over 20 years. I already know if their married, kids or not, what they do for a living. We all keep in touch by varios means, but, nothing is better than the face to face visit.

The important people (some I've known since I was 11yrs old), are the ones that I'd toss my house keys to, trust with my dog and other worldy possessions. These are people that I'd trust to help me in a life or death situation...people that I'd loan money to without hesitiation if they asked. I'd much rather spend my time on those friends rather than trying to rack up 100's of names for a website.

Don't get me wrong, I love to find old acquantences from the past...and hope they grow into friends, but, in general time spent grooming and promoting real friendships is time better spent.

Re:Executive Summary (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816101)

I agree. As I said, it was a lark to see what some of the people I knew were up to these days, but it's not anything that interests me that often. I kept up with 8 people from college. (and 4 are married to another). We even get together once every two years for a weekend somewhere. But that's getting harder as people are married and starting to have kids. Then there are some of us loosers who spent 5 years working and then went back to graduate school.

Re:Executive Summary (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815649)

I don't understand why people would use myspace or similar sites to let people know what's going on in their life. Isn't that what a telephone is for? Or.. you know.. hanging out or going out with your friends?

I don't read people's myspace pages or newsletters or anything else to keep up on their lives. If you have something going on in your life or some interesting news to report, then you can talk to me one-on-one. You're not so god damned important that you need to broadcast your life and thoughts to the masses. You can call me. Visit me. Even write me a letter or an email. Imagine that...

Re:Executive Summary (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814815)

I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Facebook fanatics? I've been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of Facebook for about 20 minutes now while it attempts to copy 17 friends from one group on the site to another group. 20 minutes. At home, on my Orkut account, which by all standards should be a lot slower than Facebook, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.

In addition, during this transfer, Netscape will not work. And everything else has ground to a halt. Even Notes is straining to keep up as I type this.

I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while working on Facebook, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen Facebook run faster than its social networking counterparts, despite Facebook's faster Web 2.0 architecture. My 486/66 with 8 megs of ram runs Orkut faster than this 300 mhz machine does Facebook at times. From a productivity standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that the Facebook is a superior social networking site.

Facebook addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use Facebook over other faster, cheaper, more stable systems.

Re:Executive Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815037)

I lol'd.

Re:Executive Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815961)

Nice.

Can you do a "Get Some Priorities" parody, too?

Re:Executive Summary (2, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815079)

Obviously looks don't make or break a social networking site. In fact, I would wager that marketing (movies have their own MySpace pages now, what?) has much more to do with it than usability or functionality.

MySpace has a significant advantage over facebook - that is the length of time it has been running and the user base. People will put up with something that isn't so great if all their friends are using it (insert IM client you think is lousy here).

If MySpace and facebook launched at the same time today - it wouldn't surprise me if facebook would be more popular.

Re:Executive Summary (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815709)

The only news I've ever heard about Facebook is when one idiot highschool or college kid or another has photos of themselves doing something retarded and gets in trouble for it with their school, parents or police. I already have that on myspace. Why would I want to shift from one popularity contest full of fucking morons to another? Also, I'm not 18 years old. Why do I want a site that is geared toward highschool and college twits? So I can read for countless hours about how they need to beg mommy and daddy for more money and find out their latest top ramen recipe?

Re:Executive Summary (0, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815623)

Anyone who didn't already know that the entire point of youtube, facebook, myspace and other social networking sites is to cater to self-involved, narcissistic, attention-whores with low self-esteem obviously has had their head buried in the sand. It's a nonstop stream of idiots posting bulletins about every single thought they have or thing they do, putting up idiotic pictures to get attention and putting up long retarded videos from their bedrooms where they blather on about how hard life is or shake their ass to some brainless music so that a bunch of middle aged men will pay attention to them.

The fee for admission to social networking sites should be sterilization.

Re:Executive Summary (1)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816123)

Sounds like this dude was looking for a reason to get a grant.

HTML problems with Slashdot (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816271)

Side tracking slightly but on the subject of HTML, how do I get Slashdot to fix theirs?
I've been given moderation points about 6 times now but haven't been able to use any of them because I'm using IE6 and trying to give a moderation point to someone just results in a javascript error (when error reporting is turned on). On a similar note, the main Slashdot logo at the top of each page isn't completely clickable, the search bar on the right invisibly overlaps the center of the main logo.
"Upgrade!" I hear you cry, but apart from this small problem I don't have any others whilst browsing so I have no real reason of going to IE7 (which I've used on other people's machines and don't particularly like) or a non-MS browser.

Re:Executive Summary (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816275)

FR looks AWFUL. Not in a vile MySpace way, but in a "My first attempt at HTML" way. Facebook is slick and so 2007. Friends Reunited is clunky and basic, so 1997. There is no way any self-respecting net user is going to evangelise about FR.

So you claim that the looks are disgusting but not bad like MySpace (which is possibly the most successful social site so far) but bad like "My first attempt at HMTL" ... like all the customized pages on MySpace?

It's not expressed well, but I think the same thing. It's not so much the looks of Friends Reunited as the interface style. Back in the 90s, people made absolutely shocking design decisions that just left sites confusing and crippled. These days, there's at least some pretense at making things fairly well organised and easy to use.

Now sure, MySpace is really ugly, but that's because normal people choose to make it that way by customising their pages. You still have the standard interface elements that makes it (fairly) easy to navigate through the site. Friends Reunited, on the other hand, is designed by supposed professionals, and just gives you a headache trying to work out how to get from A to B. I don't think any thought whatsoever has gone into how people use the site, it seems they had an original idea that worked well, and then every expansion since has geared around finding a place to stuff a link to a new feature or finding a place to stuff an advert or charge money.

The real reason (3, Insightful)

Jaaay (1124197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814429)

behind the success of all SN sites is most people prefer to sit at home sending messages to everyone they may or may not know instead of picking up the phone. It's more impersonal so people find it easier to waste time casually instead of calling up 30 people and going out so much.

Re:The real reason (5, Funny)

wallyhall (665610) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814491)

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comici d=877 [phdcomics.com]

I see this every day. For real.

For those who don't know what facebook is... (1)

wallyhall (665610) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814643)

For those who don't know what Facebook is http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mvepYYNjfBk [ttp] ... sums it up quite nicely imo.

Re:The real reason (3, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814661)

With all the comparing of friend-counts as a measure of social status, I treat Facebook and other social networking sites like a game of Global Thermonuclear War: the only way to win is not to play.

Or, to paraphrase an old military recruitment campaign slogan, all I need is a few good friends.

Re:The real reason (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815745)

I treat sites like that as Dweeb detectors. You haveto be some kind of dweeb that is not interesting to need everyone to come to you with a big counter of the number of friends you have.

I am a member on at least 30 forums as well as email groups and usnet threads and have many friends out there built the old fashoned way. IRC,USENET, and participation in discussions.

This crap that is the "social" websites today are utter crap. Get on a biking forum, fishing forum, monkey spanking forum and talk. posting useless drivel to a website and adding every stranger that comes along to your friends list is simply sad.

Re:The real reason (1)

Indefinite, Ephemera (970817) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815799)

I have exactly five friends listed on my Facebook list -- all genuine, and to my knowledge not caring about having such an exclusive status. What bothers me are the seven requests I got from people I knew a bit in secondary school but was never really 'friends' with -- especially those who didn't bother to reply when I messaged them.

Re:The real reason (2, Insightful)

kaleco (801384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815143)

I find social networking (in my case using Bebo) to be an excellent way of keeping in touch with casual acquaintences, like people I work beside, friends who have moved away or general people I don't really have a need to phone. Some people treat friends like Pokemon cards, and the sites certainly encourage this. When you log in to Bebo you're presented with an 'Updates' page which shows the latest developments in your contacts' social arms race- a list of who's added who to their friends list. However, I'm content to just use it as a way to keep in touch with my colleagues. Cheaper than a text message too.

Re:The real reason (2)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815365)

No its because going to a movie costs like $10-12 for the ticket. Then another $20 for a supersized popcorn and pop that'd make McDonald's jealous.

Total cost for 2 people to go: $60-70.

Coincidentally the MPAA is losing money as social networking sites gain popularity :P might as well blame it on that instead of piracy.

I don't have to worry about this (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814439)

I have 2,874 friends on MySpace, and they are all super cool. All the women are constantly trying to get me to look at them naked (girls, please, one at a time! I'm not a machine!) and the guys are always trying to give me free stuff (iPods, Wiis, you name it!). I am truly blessed to have so many generous and caring friends.

Re:I don't have to worry about this (4, Funny)

phatvw (996438) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814671)

Wow you are popular!

Does anyone remember the days where having your own website on Geocities or whatever automatically made you a big nerd? Man, I even had my own free top-level domain name back then... If only I knew how cool that actually was, I could have built a an empire and I would be getting mad p-ssay!

Re:I don't have to worry about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19816007)

Bill Gate is my friend too! He gave me a free evaluation copy of Windows XP :).

Orkut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814447)

I use Orkut you insensitive clod.

50 friends (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814453)

A person should have 50 friends, max. Problem solved.

Re:50 friends (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814513)

So you're saying 50 friends should be enough for anyone? ...I'm so sorry

Re:50 friends (1)

genner (694963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814545)

Social programs that require more than 50 friends to run are bloated.

Re:50 friends (5, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814727)

You already have fifty friends. To add more friends, please first select one or more of your existing friends and drag them to the Dead To Me folder.

NOTE: Subscribers can have up to 500 friends!
[x] Tell me more

Re:50 friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815105)

DOUBLE NOTE: Gold plan subscribers automatically get 500 friends. Subscribe now for an extra 50 friend bonus.

Re:50 friends (2, Funny)

jagdish (981925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815449)

Actually, 64 friends ought to be enough for anyone.

Re:50 friends (1)

wallyhall (665610) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814551)

And with an attitude like that, I bet you have no problem meeting that limit!

Re:50 friends (1)

FieroEtnl (773481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814615)

There definitely are people on Facebook/Myspace/whatever social networking utility you want to examine that simply go through people and add them because they want to seem popular. I love that on one of the possible choices for friend details, you can click "I don't even know this person," and if you do, it comes back saying something like "Then why are you friends with them?" The people who could select that for the majority of their "friends" need to find real friends rather than bumping up their online friend count. I will say that it's a great tool for people who want to get back in touch with friends from high school or further back. My high school class is using Facebook to organize a reunion for the end of the summer because it allows much easier communication than making sure each alumni has their address updated with the high school.

Re:50 friends (2, Insightful)

Analogy Man (601298) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814773)

It has been said that if you need more than one hand to count your true friends, you should consider yourself blessed.

Of course this definition of friend is the sort that would bring you chicken soup when you had the flu, help you dig an old oil tank out of your yard, take your kids up to their cabin so you could have a quite weekend with your spouse, help you get through the loss of a family member or divorce...

Re:50 friends (2, Interesting)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815671)

Okay, while I agree 100%, that was WAY to deep for a discussion about Facebook.

Facebook is a place mainly for people to keep track of old never-going-to-see-in-person-again friends' contact information, and for college kids to send out party invites. That's the extent of it.

If you only talk to your closest friends on facebook, you probably need counseling for depression.

Re:50 friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814797)

I agree. 50 friends ought to be enough for anybody.

Re:50 friends (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815125)

50 friends, or some space on a server allocated to an array of 50 strings of alphanumeric characters? There is a difference. What's the point of Facebook again?

large number of friends? (4, Funny)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814547)

while they may have 50, 100, 200 friends they will mockingly see that you have a pathetically small number,

They can see I have a pathetically small member?!? I *knew* I shouldn't have bought that webcam.

Oh.. number... sorry... :-)

Well, who cares if I don't have any friends - I mean, why else would I be using Facebook.




* disclaimer: I happen not to have a webcam, or use Facebook. And fortunately I was blessed by God. Still don't have any friends though, why else would I be posting on /. ?

Friends (5, Interesting)

dunezone (899268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814555)

Facebook also digs away at the insecurities in people. "I have one friend" probably makes some people feel a bit insecure and Billy no-mates. In the deeply insecure, this may be amplified by the lie-awake-at-night worry that your peers can see your profile on Facebook, and while they may have 50, 100, 200 friends they will mockingly see that you have a pathetically small number, confirming your worst fears about the low opinion they have probably held of you over all those years etc.
The individual who has less friends is more likely to be secure with themselves, since you know they actually try to create some sort of friendship bond. Ive had facebook since 2005 when my university was added to the system. So far Ive realized that the individual who adds everyone as a friend, even when the two people have only said "Hi" once to each other, is usually the person who is insecure and just fucking crazy.

Re:Friends (1)

Finuance (1066546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814713)

Completely 100% true. Watch out for them crazies.

Re:Friends (4, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814781)

Too fucking true.

I only have 12 friends on facebook because...I only have twelve friends that USE facebook. I don't just add random people because they're from the same school/region, and I don't accept request from the same.

Re:Friends (1)

IgLou (732042) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814983)

Why does it seem like these useless articles keep getting posted by Zonk?

Seriously, it was a non-article. I'm not even thinking about how many friends I have on there but I am floored by how easy it has been to connect with people I haven't heard from in years and all the need applications that have been built on top of the platform.

But this article was just a piece of rubbish. He misses the point, people in my demographic don't collect friends. A lot of us look to reconnect. We've gone through iterations of lost contacts or losing touch and this is one way to reconnect without the chaos of some other sites.

Now if only that privacy policy was re-written so I'd feel a bit better about having my information there.

It's multiplayer Address Book. (4, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815175)

Seconded.

Where I really draw the line is in "friending" people that you've never met except via Facebook/Myspace, and that you have no real connection to otherwise. It seems like at that point, you've transformed what's basically a useful online addressbook into ego-boosting wankery.

I really like Facebook, but I guess I'm just not really into "social networking." (Whatever that means, exactly.) To me it's a good way to keep track of people's changing contact information (it was so much better back when they had an automatic export-to-VCard option) and occasionally to browse photos (although, if you have more than a handful there are better places to go, like Flickr).

Ultimately what I want out of Facebook is just a version of 'finger [gnu.org] ' that's simple enough for non-technical people to use. As they've gotten further away from that core functionality, it's become less compelling.

useful as an address book (1)

enos (627034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815913)

Facebook profiles tend to include cell phone numbers, emails and IM screennames. You can't look those up anywhere yet they're the best way to reach many people.

Re:useful as an address book (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816085)

Too bad FOAF [foaf-project.org] still hasn't taken off, then you could have the benefit of an address book you could reach at any time, but without the disadvantage of keeping it on a single site owned by a corporation that might just disappear down the line.

Re:Friends (1)

qdaku (729578) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815955)

I recently got sucked into adding it after I moved away from university and started working on the other end of the country. It's handy to keep in touch with old university friends. Hell, I tracked down the odd person from HS I used to hang out with and sometimes they pass through vancouver and we end up catching pints.

Probably 60-70 people on the friends list. Of which I regularly see maybe 15. Sometimes see another 20 and the rest barely ever see. I treat it as a really fancy version of IRC that just happens to be handy for people giving me random books to read and good events in my town (a few 'friends' on the list exist only to trade upcoming shows and bands, which is handy).

I tend to add most people as a friend if they happen to track me down.

Insecure? Hardly. Just fucking crazy? Doubtful.

Re:Friends (4, Insightful)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816293)

To be fair, though, one of my friends has tons of people on her Facebook page, and when I called her on it, she pointed out that a lot of random classmates/friends of friends/desperate guys sent her friend requests, and she would rather take the low cost step of adding them as a friend, rather than rejecting them and generating ill will. I guess you could classify that as insecurity, but personally I think it's a normal social reaction, given that it takes pretty much no effort/energy/thought to add someone as a friend.

I don't have hundreds of friends... (5, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814565)

Mostly because I don't friend every casual acquaintance.

Because I know I can't keep up with >100 people, I don't bother to try.
Not to mention that the feed would run for pages.

Soo, it seems I don't fit into TFA's first three, or last two categories.
For those of you who aren't going to read it, that leaves one category.

And not to attack the author, but this is a reprint of something he wrote for his blog.

friends list envy (2, Insightful)

Lazarian (906722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814591)

"and while they may have 50, 100, 200 friends they will mockingly see that you have a pathetically small number" I'd rather have 10 or so people who are worth communicating with than 200 who I could barely keep up with. Most people who have enormous lists of friends probably view themselves as being in a popularity contest anyway.

Re:friends list envy (2, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814805)

Yeah, I keep it exclusive. You've got to complete a 3 page off line application with supporting letters written by two friends already accepted. Got to keep the riff raff out you know.

Re:friends list envy (2)

thestreetmeat (1055390) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815857)

I have 211 friends, including an infant, a bronze statue, and Søren Kierkegaard. I don't see it as a popularity contest. I ignore 90% of them, but if I ever need a place to crash somewhere, I'm probably covered. It's not like all the extra friends are taking any time out of my day, and I like being able to contact casual acquaintances.

Oh noes! (2, Funny)

mecenday (1080691) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814605)

You have more strangers in your friends list than I!

low friend count? (3, Insightful)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814619)

I have around 70 facebook friends- most of which happen to be real friends. Anyone with 200/300+ facebook friends is most likely just adding anyone they know.

Re:low friend count? (1)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814717)

I was hanging out with a buddy of mine and I met a friend of a friend of his very briefly. They were from about 1000 kilometers away and I will never ever meet them again. They added me on facebook.

Re:low friend count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815751)

I'm not sure why everybody in this thread seems to think adding acquaintances as friends is such a bad thing. I'm not a compulsive adder but I will often add people I have just met because I hope that I will get to know them better in the future (possibly through Facebook). It's not like it costs anything to do so, and I don't see why I should be held back by people having the idea that I'm only trying to run up my friends count.

Re:low friend count? (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814865)

70 friends!? I only have 15. Man, I'm never going on facebook again!

Re:low friend count? (4, Funny)

whyde (123448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815291)

Definition of "freind":
  • Web 2.0: Someone who recognizes your name and is willing to click a mouse button.
  • Reality: Someone who will help you move.
  • Fiction: Someone who will help you move the body.

Re:low friend count? (1)

pohl (872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815741)

That could be true for a lot of people. On the other hand, they could legitimately have that many social connections, as in the concept of Connectors [wikipedia.org] .

Re:low friend count? (1)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816081)

"I have around 70 facebook friends- most of which happen to be real friends. Anyone with 200/300+ facebook friends is most likely just adding anyone they know."

I have around _15_ facebook friends most of which are real friends. Anyone with 60/70+ facebook friends is most likely just adding anyone they know ...

Re:low friend count? (1)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816189)

sorry... you just don't have any friends. would you like to be my friend? I mean-- i'll add you. :)

Thirty friends is more than I'll ever need (3, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814653)

I actually really like Facebook, even though I've been out of school for over a year, I still go there every day to catch up with friends. The thing is, I don't really have a lot of friends on Facebook, about 30 I think, which for me is more than enough. Everyone I'm friends with on Facebook, I'm actually friends with in real life, or know them very well through online forums. I don't indiscriminately accept friends from random people with the same last name, or kids who went to high school with me that I never talked to; I wasn't your friend then and I'm not your friend now. At one point, I had about 10 people in "friend limbo". People who wanted to be my friend but I didn't have the heart to deny them, but I denied them all one day, so that's that.

30 friends is a good number to keep up with for me. My "news feed" gets filled every day and I get to keep up with all of them easily.

Facebook is engineering their customer base (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814741)

Facebook already knew this. Their "slick appearance" and easy integration with schools, etc. is really just a way to rope in a lot of customers, and play on people's vanity and insecurity in order to create a rich and detailed advertising market. How else do you find out for sure what movies people like? One easy way is to let them advertise what they think is "cool" to their friends. Isn't everything on Facebook just a cleverly (or not) disguised ad? IMHO they hope to derive most of their income from ad revenue (a la Google).

Who Cares? (3, Interesting)

friend.ac (1071626) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814753)

Come on, who honestly cares whether someone has got 400 friends or 40, obviously it goes back to the old school days of "I've got more friends than you" but surely we've grown out of it - haven't we?

I run a small, free SN website, that I've tried match between MySpace and Facebook, people do click round and add random people to their friends list, but surely its a good thing to get to meet new people that you wouldn't normally do, whether its online or not?

I actually met my girlfriend, soon to be wife and mother online, so I think its a great thing and just some fun, but you have to admit all the news about Facebook groups and someone getting thrown out of school, reporting of bullying online as well as all the 'analysis' of Facebook or Myspace is all about publicity (positive or negative doesnt matter) for them - I'm sure half of it is marketing!

Re:Who Cares? (3, Funny)

Icarus1919 (802533) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814809)

I don't know if it's a good thing to find a new mother online...

Re:Who Cares? (1)

friend.ac (1071626) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815091)

I don't know if it's a good thing to find a new mother online...
Yeah, erm, shuffles feet, erm, you can pick anything up online - Whoops :-|

Re:Who Cares? (4, Funny)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814877)

> I actually met my girlfriend, soon to be wife and mother online,

Dude, that's gross.

Where do you live, in a trailer park or something?

Re:Who Cares? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815147)

Come on, who honestly cares whether someone has got 400 friends or 40, obviously it goes back to the old school days of "I've got more friends than you" but surely we've grown out of it - haven't we?

In my experience, people only grow out of it if they have to. When given the option, most people will gladly stay at that high school level of emotional development for the rest of their lives.

Re:Who Cares? (2, Funny)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815447)

I actually met my girlfriend, soon to be wife and mother online,

I've seen plenty of people mentioning their girlfriends on Slashdot, but until now I had never yet seen anybody mention they knocked up an internet lady for ePenis++.

Wow (3, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814803)

Facebook also digs away at the insecurities in people...your peers can see your profile on Facebook, and while they may have 50, 100, 200 friends they will mockingly see that you have a pathetically small number, confirming your worst fears about the low opinion they have probably held of you over all those years etc.

So just like real life then.

As in, there are some people who think that the number of friends you have (however rare you see, speak or do anything with them) is more important than a smaller number of quality friends who you see, speak and socialise with more often.

Re:Wow (1)

ggKimmieGal (982958) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815127)

Yeah to be honest... I don't have that many friends on facebook, but that's more to protect my privacy. I only allow friends to view my profile. Therefore, I only allow my real friends to be my facebook friend... Not because my self esteem is low or whatever. One of my old roommates had a goal of having 300 friends. She ended up making a lot of people just angry and annoyed when she would ask them to be her friend for the 15th time.

I don't get it... (2, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814933)

I revel in the fact that I have a small number of friends on Facebook -- to me, it means that the friends I have listed are close associates, and not shallow acquaintances like someone who has hundreds.

I may be old fashioned... (2, Insightful)

Temtongkek (975742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814941)

I understand that these SNS are growing to a point where people are interested in analyzing the psychology behind them, but I still need to ask... What ever happened to meeting people in real life? What ever happened to "ring...ring... Hey, it's (name), let's grab a beer after work?" While I'm not qualified to go any deeper than casual, day-to-day observations, it's just astounding to me that so many people are placing that much emphasis on a certain arrangement of 1's and 0's that are interpreted a certain way through computers and networks. I have friends in real life. Granted, I even have a few that I talk to online, mostly because they live overseas. However, I still make damn sure to keep weekly, if not daily contact with my nearest and dearest here in the red, white and blue. This whole "I have more friends than you" bullshit is... well, exactly that, bullshit. GO OUT AND MAKE REAL FRIENDS. BEING SOCIAL AND FRIENDLY MAKES YOU MORE REAL FRIENDS. (and quite possibly gets you laid. ;) Just my 2 cents. I would like change back. heh.

I'm wondering... (1)

phreeza (1071714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814981)

why does "a friend of mine" hit refresh every 5 seconds, waiting for a friend to change his status, etc., instead of learning for his finals? Thats an intresting psychological phenomenon, too i guess...

Re:I'm wondering... (1)

kristinester (986170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815225)

Well, I'm going to pull a psychoanalytical / psychic explanation out of my ass and say that you're procrastinating for your finals because you're intimidated by the material. You believe that you work best under pressure and you will eventually start studying, but not until the very last minute. You'll end up getting a C on the final because of your inability to focus. Your friends will laugh at you, your significant other (if you have one) will leave you, your parents will be ashamed and then you'll be put on academic probation because you got C's on all of your finals. Eventually you'll get kicked out of school and begin a Web 2.0 company instead of finishing your degree.

It's not interesting. You're just being lazy. Go study.

Re:I'm wondering... (1)

sjobe (973329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815439)

I'm sorry. Have we met?

Re:I'm wondering... (1)

kristinester (986170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816015)

Not that I'm aware of.

My Facebook experience (1, Insightful)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815047)

A friend sent me a link for his Facebook profile. The link wouldn't work unless I was registered with the site myself. What a crock of shit I thought, as I declined to join.

Re:My Facebook experience (1)

tighr (793277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815467)

Then he sent you the wrong link. Ask him to go on to facebook, access his profile, and scroll to the bottom. There is a link there for "public listing", and a URL to be used by non-members of facebook. That link can also be customized via privacy settings to allow/disallow certain aspects of your profile to be publicly visible.

Old dog... (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815081)

I know that I for one have never been affected by these influences until Facebook came along. It's not like it's just a normal part of peer group dynamics or anything, it's completely new!

Facebook doesn't take much to run (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815207)

The amazing thing about Facebook is that it's a tiny company. Facebook headquarters is in a little building at 170 Hamilton Avenue in Palo Alto, next to the yoga shop and nail salon, and across from the retro soda fountain. It doesn't take much in the way of staff to run the thing. The servers are in Northern Virginia, but most of the staff is in that little building in Palo Alto.

Now that's successful "Web 2.0".

Re:Facebook doesn't take much to run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815261)

While I like facebook, I must say that probably any company who got funded by the CIA would be succesful...

Avoiding Social Failure... (2, Insightful)

puppetman (131489) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815319)

If there is a fear of social failure, then wouldn't people avoid Facebook if they suspected that other hold a low opinion of them?

As for the 300 "friends" argument - I have little time in real life for people outside work who aren't good friends. I certainly don't have time to maintain tenuous relationships electronically with people I barely know or barely remember. It's the quality of your friendships, not the quantity.

10 Years ago (3, Interesting)

Tragedy4u (690579) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815453)

If you proclaimed you had 100 online friends you would've been branded a nerd and outcast. Now if you have 100 online friends you're a 'cool' person. The mentality of computers certainly has changed.

Re:10 Years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19816055)

Well, most of those are presumably people you met in person first, so it's a little different.

What is it? (0)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815531)

I have no reason to go to facebook. Never have, dont expect I ever will.

FB - ultimate stalking machine (1)

Cheesbo (1118487) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815567)

nobody said that the Facebook is the ultimate stalking machine!!!! I know people spending hours going through boys/girls that they like and look at their photos..wall messages, gifts etc. And people don't hesitate to put really personal photos on FB ;-) Sth like opening the magic social gate to the nerds!!! Now it is like an art... how to tell if sth is happening between 2 people on facebook? Either way, one thing is for sure now days. If you are a student and you are not on facebook you just don't exist... You want to be invited to the cool parties? Know where the cool events are taking place? Create an account now!!!!

Quality vs Quantity (2, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815603)

and while they may have 50, 100, 200 friends they will mockingly see that you have a pathetically small number

I'll take quality over quantity any day of the week

Re:Quality vs Quantity (2, Insightful)

zegota (1105649) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816145)

Agreed. I have never, EVER heard anyone brag about how many facebook friends they had. Maybe this is something more common in junior high and high school, but in college, it's used as social interaction, not as a status symbol. At least in my experience.

I'd rather have... (2, Insightful)

Fyre2012 (762907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815919)

... 5 good friends over 100+ 'Facebook' friends anyday.

Confirming your fears, or... (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815931)

Facebook also digs away at the insecurities in people...your peers can see your profile on Facebook, and while they may have 50, 100, 200 friends they will mockingly see that you have a pathetically small number, confirming your worst fears about the low opinion they have probably held of you over all those years etc.

Gee, I don't remember ever caring what other people thought of my social status in high school. Some people are fine with 200 shallow friendships and others just stay close with a dozen people. If you find yourself fearing for your social status a decade beyond high school, you still have some growing up to do.

Not Psychology (2, Informative)

Miang (1040408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816041)

What a disappointment, there wasn't anything 'psychological' about this analysis -- contrary to popular belief, mention of angst does not psychology make. :D

More's the pity, because psychology is (as always) a few years behind the times, but some work is finally starting to be done on the real principles governing social networking behavior. Wendi Gardner and one of her graduate students at Northwestern, whose name I am chagrined to admit I cannot recall, have some work in online social perception (though I don't believe it's published yet), and a couple of folks at Berkeley are studying online dating, but I haven't yet seen any good empirical research on Facebook and its ilk.

Load of crap (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816295)

If I have a small number of friends, it might also mean that I don't accept every yahoo, porn star, band, and idiot out there.
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