Facebook is The Borg

Much of the activity that used to happen out in the wild unfettered Net, over email, open (XMPP-based) IM and blog posts is now happening inside the Facebook silo. It is AOL 2.0.

I avoid the place, but that’s getting harder. On this current visit I see 7 friend suggestions, 273 friend requests, 6 event invitations, 5 good karma from debo requests, 1 good karma request, 220 other requests, 4 new updates, 235 items in my inbox, 7 pokes and 522 friends to start with.

Okay, I just said yes to several friend requests, congratulated a friend on his new twins, and started chatting in FB for the first time.

To FB’s credit, it’s working on a Jabber/XMPP interface, so you can chat to FB-based friends through any client that talks XMPP. That’s cool, but The Borg still grows.

I also notice that FB now has a tiny pale gray thumbs-up and thumbs-down for its advertising. When I click on the down thumb (which I always do — I haven’t yet seen a relevant ad), it just says “Loading…” in a big box that won’t go away.

So I just punched out. I suspect I’ll be doing less of that.


  1. Alex Steed’s avatar

    Hilarious – I just referenced the Borg in this post:


    [And, as an even-further aside, it’s time to start reading again. I don’t just mean how-to nonsense; I mean nonfiction and fiction. In a video I’ve shown nearly a hundred time to a hundred different people for a hundred different reasons, Penelope Trunk [of Brazen Careerist] suggests that “your generation” (presumably Boomers) read the Catcher in the Rye or [On The Road, or some other somewhat accurate generational cliche], while our generation (Millennials) read books on organizational techniques. What are we, the f**king Borg? That’s the most depressing thing I have ever heard suggested about Millennials. And in my own anecdotal experience, at least in the early-adopter crowd (with some exceptions, of course), this is largely the case.

  2. Shawn Powers’s avatar

    I too have been avoiding Facebook. I have Twitter feed into my “Facebook Wall” — and I’m getting many replies via Facebook instead of Twitter.

    Twitter seems much more passive, which I like. It has its own failings, however, which I suppose will be blog fodder for me someday.

  3. Stephanie Booth’s avatar

    As I told you (very honoured to be part of your new facebook chatting experience) I’ve found myself going into facebook more and more these last weeks. That’s mainly because the “offline crowd” in my world are there: extended family, old friends and new ones, ex-colleagues — these are people I’d never got onto Twitter, who wouldn’t open a blog because they don’t see the point, and who probably don’t have any kind of IM account.

    I agree that the fact all this is taking place in the facebook silo is regrettable, though.

  4. Don Marti’s avatar

    My system is (1) accept all Facebook invitations (2) if I actually know the people make sure I have them on LinkedIn (3) export my LinkedIn contacts.

  5. Pat Tanzola’s avatar

    I knew that Facebook was the Borg the minute I signed up. Which is why in the section marked ‘About Me’, all I wrote was:

    “Facebook makes us all identical.”


  6. Marisol’s avatar

    Hallo there – love the borg metaphor – my time is so precious once the small boy in my life is finally in bed asleep, I get frustrated that the only next thing I can think of is visiting facebook. It’s addictive but somehow unpleasant. I think it’s nice to keep in touch with friends but then a phone call would be nicer.

    Doc – I have a question for you. I am preparing a paper on the future of government monitoring in the web2.0 era and wondered if you had any thoughts? The title question is:

    โ€œHow do you see the role of government monitoring developing, taking into account web developments and the changing media landscape?โ€

  7. Mary Schmidt’s avatar

    I like Facebook for one reason – it enables me to keep in touch with my real, real-world friends. (Okay, I’ve accepted a few friends because they were friends of really, really good friends.) I’ve become expert of ignoring everything else, including the ads.

    Hop in, spend a couple of minutes, hop out.

    Like any other techie tool – Facebook is what you make of it. (or don’t.)

    (If I’m assimilated – can I have one of those cool eye thingies like Captain Picard? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Chip’s avatar

    More fun than TV
    Fun in winter when it gets dark early
    Cocooning when it’s easier to stay home than get out
    Started for keeping up with my kids but found more and more “near peers”
    I only “friend” to folks I know in real life

    Brother in law was dissing it as too hard to maintain, but answer is you only need to spend the time you want
    Multi-task – quick check while listening to conference call, between newspaper articles (all online of course) etc etc etc

    We have one staffer who is using it to market, but very homey
    stuff, selling food stuff to foodies

    Not for anything highbrow !!!


  9. Steve Kleine’s avatar

    Love the Facebook=AOL 2.0 analogy. That is how I’ve been trying to explain it to friends who are not savvy in all things Web 2.0. It takes the big wild scary web and shrinks it to something more manageable…well not in your case! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Rocky’s avatar

    Hi Doc!

    Borg for myspace and Facebook is an accurate description.

    But this is to Marisol; I would love to read what you come up with on this…

    “How do you see the role of government monitoring developing, taking into account web developments and the changing media landscape?โ€

  11. Ed Brenegar’s avatar

    Facebook is like sitting in a coffee shop, and everyone has a different newspaper, and everyone is shouting out stories they are reading. I don’t find it sufficiently interactive.

    I find that Twitter is much more conversational because of its character limits. In fact, I’d say that we have a social network spectrum with sites like Ning on one end, Facebook in the middle and Blogs on the other, and the conversational glue is Twitter.

    One of the social network challenges is how to avoid any of these social network sites that you must go to and visit from becoming a closed, defensive network.

    The future belongs to those people who can foster a network of people that are from widely dispersed, non-redundant social settings.

    Twitter allows me to discover people from that much wider environment to get to know and engage. Then if we have a common interest, we go to Ning or Facebook and create a group. As a result, we have more control.

  12. cyrusnelson’s avatar

    So I thought Duke Nukem Forever would never come out, but I just saw this footage of it on http://jacehall.tv. Does this mean that it is going to come out.

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