One New Year's resolution checked off: I'm finally on Facebook

welcome_3-thumb.gif

Iâ''m usually the early adopter in my family (among the adults, anyway), so I was a bit chagrined late last year when my husband got a Facebook page before me. And then, at CES, a few people, besides handing me a business card, said â''Friend me on Facebook.â'' Clearly, I needed to do this. It went to the top of my to-do list for 2008; I didnâ''t care if â''Over 40 is Facebook Creepy.â''

It wasnâ''t as simple as it was supposed to be. First, Facebook didnâ''t like my name; apparently, and flagged it as fake. I had to send an email to customer service and wait for a real person to override the system and let me sign up. Then, since I typically use Eudora (I know, old tech, but Iâ''m not the only one hanging on to it), it couldnâ''t hunt my web-based email list to automatically find friends. Instead, I cut and paste a few of my mailing lists into Facebookâ''s Friendfinder. The first list it sorted the addresses into two sections, indicating who among my friends were on Facebook and would be contacted. The second time I loaded a list it choked; I wasnâ''t sure if any invites went out, but later got a few responses, so it apparently worked.

In spite of those glitches, it was pretty simple, and I now have a Facebook page and 35 friends. I now know that one of my friends is addicted to online scrabble and another

reads a lot of blogs.

The first few days on Facebook I checked pretty frequently; it was fun watching peopleâ''s pictures pop up in my friend screen. I definitely need a much hipper picture, the classic Facebook photo seems to be something involving a tilted head partially obscured by a door or a computer or a hand; mine is boring, though I changed it to black and white to make it a little more artsy. I scanned through some of the more popular applications; none really grabbed me. I donâ''t really want to take movie quizzes, collect virtual fish in an aquarium, or track my reading on a virtual bookshelf. But Iâ''d better pick a few soon, my page is pretty dull.

Iâ''m not sure how useful Facebook is going to turn out to be. When Iâ''m traveling, I expect Iâ''ll flag that information in my â''statusâ'' line; every now and then I find out that someone I know and I crossed paths during travel; it would be great to know that ahead of time. And likely when my son goes to college in a year and a half, I may come to love Facebookâ''s updates on his activities.

Advertisement

Tech Talk

IEEE Spectrum’s general technology blog, featuring news, analysis, and opinions about engineering, consumer electronics, and technology and society, from the editorial staff and freelance contributors.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for the Tech Alert newsletter and receive ground-breaking technology and science news from IEEE Spectrum every Thursday.

Advertisement