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Facebook, the ubiquitous, in-your-face social [cough] networking website, has acquired Parakey, a startup run by the co-founders of Mozilla Firefox. Financial terms of the deal, which was announced on 19 July, were not disclosed. It's the first acquisition made by California-based Facebook since it launched in 2004. …

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Facebook might be ubiquitous, but it sure is dull....

Given that I am, one, in the internet business and, two, someone who like networking, I thought I would set up a Facebook page.

Having given MySpace a wide berth because of its horrendous design, I tried Virb first and have left a profile there in the hope that it gets busy soon as it is a great design, easy to re-skin and works great.

Facebook was next and I was really encouraged by what I saw; nice clean design. loads of apps so that I could plug my Flickr pics in, my Last.fm account and stacks more.

I joined a few groups [just half a dozen related to photography, the other part of my work] and that's where the wheels fell off Facebook for me.

One week later, even in one group with over 4000 members, there is not a single response to my helpful and engaging postings, not a single comment on any of the really cool pics that I uploaded [i always leave comments on other people's] and the 'wall', where people post notes, is populated entirely by people saying 'Hi, just joined....'.

In seven days on Flickr I could expect a raft of responses to material posted and would engage typically in any number of good conversations with people.

My conclusion: having a Facebook profile seems to be the latest fad. But, as for actually using it, well that seems to be another thing entirely.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Facebook might be ubiquitous, but it sure is dull....

Perhaps you're just incredibly boring?

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@ AlfieGoodrich

Maybe you just have no friends - or at least those that do don't find you interesting enough to actually want to talk to you?

I've recently joined Facebook after a few friends at work were discussing it and have found it a great way to keep in touch with friends and even found some old friends I'd lost contact with - a particularly good friend whilst I was growing up has invited us out for a beer this weekend.

Seems to work pretty well for me :D

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Facebook is more about *real* friends for me

I love facebook, but not for it's "make new friends" capabilities. I generally use it to keep in touch with people I know in real life and who I've met on various travels etc. For me this is where Facebook shines. Making new online friends is all well and good but I'll leave that to more interactive means like IRC...

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Friends?

Anyone who uses Facebook for business purposes needs their head examining - it looks about as professional as my spelling!

Whether or not AlfieGoodrich is a billy-no-mates ain't the issue - Stalkboo... sorry, Facebook only works if you add people you know IRL - it's not a place to meet people online, more a means of keeping in touch with friends old and new.

And yes, some people, especially university students, use it to organise their social life* to such an extent that they no longer bother with, say, text messages (SMS to you continentals) - they're sooo 2002!

As for groups -nobody contributes to them - they're for joining and that's it. The exception to this rule is the (now sadly deceased) 'Boob Appreciation Society' (Possibly after complaints from German bus drivers).

*E.g. "Party in the Engineering block, bring beer. And girls." Well, they are engineers - they can hope. Or was that just my uni days?

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Anonymous Coward

Facebook Groups

I think it is universally acknowledged that the facebook 'groups' concept is rubbish.

However as others have noted, it's a good way of keeping in touch with your friends, or anyway those people who are kind of friends but you can't be arsed phoning or e-mailing them to find out what they're up to/who they're snogging/whether they have had kids yet.

It's also handy for stalking ex-girlfriends without violating restraining orders... :-)

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Silver badge

...and have found it a great way to keep in touch with friends ...

...unlike email, which has far more customisible and useable interfaces for messaging than the facebook one which is rather unappetising, tiny, format-free entry boxes, none of the useful resources of (say) hotmail, gmail, etc

I rather had the wheels falling off thing too. Just sitting thinking 'is that it?' - yes, my friends (who have far better ways of keeping in touch than facebook) post their XXXX is ..... updates which are sometimes entertaining, but frankly do I care if Cliff is in bed/drinking tea/whatever - naaah. Bored now - get the core social bits nice to use and I may like it more, but right now I find it a bit less useful than email/other open-web tools. And all the stupid 'applications' which seem to do not much between them - zombies, vampires, tag, food fight, etc - very very dull.

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Missed opportunity

It would have been funnier if nobody else had commented on this story.

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Anonymous Coward

Yawn...

I must admit, Facebook is becoming tiring. Hearing about Facebook is becoming tiring. Hearing Facebook fans who spend company resources looking at personal resources on company time is becoming tiring.

To hear that the founder is in trouble because may have stolen the idea from others, now that is actually quite entertaining (and not at all surprising).

There have been over the years a number of products or services offered that have, upon examination, left me with a feeling of "don't go there, its wrong". Napster left me with that feeling... Torrent left me with that feeling... Facebook leaves me with that feeling as well.

Being a BOFH myself, I finds Facebook may also turn out be a security disaster waiting to happen. It seems incredibly vulnerable due to its plugin nature, and has already suffered massive cross-scripting attacks.

But, perhaps the real threat is to privacy. What is being done with the massive amount of demographic (and sociological) information generated? If you believe the answer to that is "nothing", well then... might I interest you in a slightly used bridge? Its in London. I am selling it cheap, to help my doorman's sister's husband's mother's Nigerian maid get a million dollar inheritance from her former boss, but which is locked up in a Nigerian court proceeding...

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Footprints in the sands of the internet

In my last two job interviews, the VP of consulting Googled me (is that a real word?). In one case, it was a careless perfunctory job that revealed nothing of any real value. The other was an expert job that turned up quite a bit, including Usenet posts for five or six years ago. I can see the postings from the various "Web 2.0" sites coming back to haunt people in a few years.

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@Cliff

What's wrong with the lack of format in a messaging system exactly? I manage with plain-text SMS and not a single Outlook template (*shudder*) in sight.

The added benefit of Facebook over e-mail is that I can centralise my contacts and THEY update their addresses (rather than me repeatedly losing them due to loss/theft/accident/laziness).

I agree on the application side though. Where the hell did they all come from suddenly? Was much happier when Facebook was a simple but effective tool.

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S

Very Useful

Being at university right now, it's great for keeping in touch with friends, finding old friends from yonks ago and sharing photos, organising events etc. MySpace is horrible by comparison, it just spam. Plus nearly all my friends use Facebook, so it's one destination, and easy to contact anyone I know - without worrying (as someone said above) whether their phone number is current, or they still live in the same city etc.

Applications on Facebook do have the potential to ruin it, but I like the way they've made everything take a Facebook-like appearance, the thing that turned me off MySpace was all the flashing boxes everywhere...but they're a great way of implementing features which you wish had already been put in (like Last.FM integration).

I still talk to everyone on IM, but if you want to leave someone a non-urgent message that you're certain they will get, then Facebook is so much preferred.

I can't say that I've ever met anyone on Facebook itself - I don't think it's for that really.

I do agree with the privacy point though - we are all putting a lot of personal information up about ourselves, and although Facebook lets you limit who can access it, once you accidentally grant the wrong person access to it...addresses, phone numbers, email address, relationship status, hobbies, too much potential for wrongdoing.

+ It's a great source of procrastination!

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Anyone who says Facebook is boring...

...obviously hasn't added the Scrabulous application. Seriously, that sh1t is addictive.

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