In general, social networks can be a good thing; the only problem is when the noise level becomes too high to have any meaning when it comes to sharing information. Over the last few months, Facebook games have exploded as Farmville and Mafia Wars get more and more players. The only problem with this is the amount of spam messages these games send across the reading pane of people who really do not care that your duck became a swan in Farmville.
There is no way to suppress these kinds of messages. People are stuck with a never ending string of success stories from people who need help in Mafia Wars, got some new prize in Farmville, or some other prize, flair, junk, or otherwise that tend to drown out the things I do want to see and why I have made people friends.
There has to be a way to suppress game messages and other flair, junk, other stuff but once you make someone your friend – you are stuck with the inanity of the crowds. You are stuck with the constant chatter of the games that people are playing when you would much rather be watching or reading something different. The number of game feedbacks and success levels that people achieve on the system quickly replaces the people that are posting good information. Stuff I want to read, which is one of the reasons why I am a huge FriendFeed fan, the signal is much better there and there is little in the way of noise unless someone goes into some shirtless or hairless meme again.
This is not just a problem with Facebook, but also a problem with how people use social networking; I use it for news, not necessarily keeping track of flair, mafia wars or Farmville. The reason why I am an occasional Facebook user is the level of noise. And while I tend to like my friends in general, it might be time to have a separate profile where my friends can do all the flair, Farmville, poker palace, pillow fights, pokes, zombies, and other noise and still keep in touch. The only real option is to have a professional Facebook account, where I can keep track of the signal better, and follow the people who are changing the world, not milking fake cows.
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(Cross-posted @ TechWag)