Monday, February 16, 2009

Geek Toy Friday - Facebook

Hey... better late than never, right?

I never thought I'd ever, ever be writing anything positive about social networking.  Anyone who knows me has heard about how much I loath and despise MySpace (sorry Tom), so my speaking out in favor of a social networking platform is, well, pretty much unheard of.  That being said, I've been a member of Facebook for about three months now, and it is, in fact, growing on me.

The first thing I've got to say about Facebook is, in the organization department, that it is everything that MySpace is not.  It is clean, organized, and free of junk.  It is only what you make it and nothing more.  You are not forced to listen to someone else's musical choices, and your computer is not burdened by all the background graphics and moving text that users on MySpace want to subject you to.  In other words, Facebook is exactly what MySpace set out to be: a place for people to interact.

I'm not sure where MySpace went wrong.  Perhaps it was when they got loose with their API, letting anybody who wants to interface and mess around.  Whenever it was, they lost control of their own site, letting it degenerate into a mess of cluttered backgrounds and viruses, where no man, woman, or child is safe.  It is the first website I've ever been on where you can actually get lost, with no hope of finding your way back.

Now, let's talk about Facebook.

They seem to have done everything right, or at least not done too many things wrong.  They keep their site clean, only allowing users to change the content of their area, not the structure or backgrounds, so no matter where you go, everything looks the same, just as it should.  They value security, asking you for image authentication whenever you are going to request someone's friendship, so as to prevent robots from trashing the place.

But what, you might ask, makes them worthy of rising from mere social networking tool to "geek toy"?  Simple: Mobile Facebook.

They have an actual GOOD mobile website, which works with any small-scale browser, such as Internet Explorer on my HP iPAQ h4155 PocketPC.  It's well organized, very functional, and easy to use.  You can try it by going to on your Windows Mobile phone.  It really is pretty cool.

So that's it for this (well, really last) week.  Here's to Mobile Facebook!

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