Cory Doctorow writes a pithy yet readable analysis of Facebook and its ilk, pointing out that these sites bind is us in ways that seem useful but are in fact perfunctory and useless.
You’d think that Facebook would be the perfect tool for handling all this. It’s not. For every long-lost chum who reaches out to me on Facebook, there’s a guy who beat me up on a weekly basis through the whole seventh grade but now wants to be my buddy; or the crazy person who was fun in college but is now kind of sad; or the creepy ex-co-worker who I’d cross the street to avoid but who now wants to know, “Am I your friend?” yes or no, this instant, please.
I’m not going to say having lots of Facebook friends isn’t fun. I’ve hooked up with lots of old high school and college buddies thanks to social networks, even though I use the site as more of an address book than a way to keep in touch. Once people find you, the usefulness of the site falls dramatically in terms of messaging, poking, and whatever else these kids are into.
How Your Creepy Ex-Co-Workers Will Kill Facebook [InformationWeek]