John C. Kirk (johnckirk) wrote,
John C. Kirk


After some nudging, I've now signed up with Facebook. I wasn't too impressed by it at first, but it's grown on me. A few first impressions:

  • When I registered for an account, the first page asked me for my status (e.g. student vs working), so I said that I worked at a company. It then asked me for my work email address; I think not! I understand why they want it (to verify that you're part of a particular "network"), but I keep my work email and personal email separate, so I had to change my situation to "none of the above".

  • There's no "remember me" option, and it doesn't use a password box that IE recognises, so I need to retype my password every time I go back to the site, which is a bit tedious.

  • I got completely stuck when I tried to add my first friend. The "find friends" page gave me two options: I could either give them the password for my GMail account (so that they could access my address book) or I could upload a data file with my Outlook contacts list. Neither of these appealed to me; sharing my password seems ridiculously insecure, and I use Outlook with Exchange (so I'd have to create a new data file rather than uploading an existing one). What I wanted to do was just type in the email address of someone I knew, but the screen wouldn't let me do that. It turns out that you can use the "Search" box on the left to search by full name, but I didn't realise that; my solution was to get someone else to add me, and then once I had my first friend I could follow links to get others.

  • Every time I add a new friend, it asks me to type in a CAPTCHA code; it says that I can avoid this by verifying my account (i.e. letting them send me a text message), but they only recognise American mobile phones.

  • I think that the feature to identify faces in photos is very neat (you can then click on a face to get to that person's profile page). The only snag seems to be that if you identify people who aren't currently on Facebook then you need to go back through your photos later re-tagging them. There may be privacy issues here too: if Alice is my friend then I can see all photos of her, e.g. I can see pictures from Bob's photo album even though he isn't my friend, and those photos may include other people who don't know me. That's not a problem for me while I'm just looking at other people's photos, but I'll need to read up on how the settings work before I upload any photos of my own.

  • The Flixter link is quite clever: it provides a way to write short reviews of films. I've tended to put long reviews on my main website, but it seemed a bit silly to create a web page for a single paragraph. I haven't put any reviews on there yet, but I'll probably crosspost between there and my LJ in the future.

I must admit, I'm still not entirely sure what Facebook is actually for, but right now it's a nice fluffy way to be friendly. I certainly don't see it replacing LJ, since this is a place for me to write about things at length rather than leaving short messages. What it does offer is a way to keep in touch with non-LJ people (some of my younger friends), which is quite handy.
Tags: computers, facebook

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