Thursday, March 11, 2010

Comments on Facebook

Note to Vee: I'm not trying to change your opinion that FB is a huge, time-sucking frivolity. I understand not wanting to get entangled with it.

That being said, I just had to share a recent discovery that has steered my Facebook time toward what I wanted it to do -- connect with friends -- instead of getting sucked into Facebook's cyber clutter.

Facebook has this feature called a "news feed." It's supposed to let you read updates of what your friends are doing or thinking, and it's a nifty little feature. The bad part about the news feed is that everything you do gets posted there if you're not careful.

For a time I got sucked into Fish World, a cutesy little time killer that starts you out with a fish tank and a few fish. Sell the fish for cyber money to buy more fish, tank decorations, and eventually more fish tanks. Feed your fish, clean the tank, give your fish cyber love (by clicking the "love my fish" button), and eventually you become a tycoon of sorts.

Really, though, you're trapped a s a Fish World slave. If you don't feed the fish, they go belly up, and you wind up flushing all that cyber money down the cyber drain. Your friends can revive your dead fish for you, but when you're housing hundreds of fish in a tank, it's a pretty hefty undertaking. Go a weekend without feeding the dumb cyber fish, and they're dead by Monday. It annoyed me so much that I actually created a fake FB user that I befriended and put onto Fish World for the sole purpose of reviving my dead fish. (In a tacky bit of humor, her password is "Lazarus.")

Back to the news feed. Fish World is a prime example of news feed clutter. Everything you do -- buy new fish, feed a friend's fish, clean your tanks, sell fish -- gets a pop-up request to publish to your friends' FB pages. Now, you can click one button one time to clutter your friends' feeds ad infinitum, but you have to refuse publication every single time. There is no one-button fix to reject this nonsense. I got so annoyed with it that I sold the last of my fish and abandoned my empty tanks to the cyber algae.

Facebook has a lot of clutter, and it took me a while to learn to ignore the cyber guilt that comes with not reciprocating with the game tokens, cyber flowers/smiles/hugs/hearts, pillow-fight and water-gun attacks. I do not care if "a lonely cow" has wandered from its farm and needs a home. I'm not interested in someone's latest high score in Bejeweled Blitz or Farkle or Word Twist.

What some FB users may not know is this: On every bit of cyber clutter in your news feed, hover to the right of the unwanted entry, and FB will reveal the word, "Hide." Click and it gives you the choice of hiding the game or hiding that person's news.

I've hidden countless applications (fish, farming, horoscopes, daily luck (whatever that is), restaurants, knights and dragons, you name it) and my news feed is becoming what I want it to be. I can check FB, respond to my friends' posts, and get out of Dodge in under a half an hour unless I start a chat session with somebody who happens to be online.

And now that I've figured it out, Facebook will probably undergo another major overhaul and I'll have to start from scratch.

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