Aaron Brazell aka Technosailor has dropped Facebook. You can read about it here, Facebook, You’re Banished.
For instance, earlier today I went in and declined 17 application requests and ignored 32 “Which Bible Character are you?” kinds of questions. It’s pointless noise that is distracting.
Aaron made not just a blanket statement about it, but provides a short video as well. His comment above summarizes the main frustration well. It’s all about usefulness.
Facebook applications are significantly more focused on games, quizzes and other time wasters than productivity oriented. Chris Brogan shared only a handful when asked. I find only a few add real value to my life and my objectives.
Facebook may soon be in a battle to keep it’s high end users, like Aaron, Scoble, and Brogan. Those users don’t just desire sites to provide productivity enhancing environments, but require it. Even sites such as LinkedIn and Dopplr might be in trouble if the time spent there isn’t directly resulting in new knowledge, bringing in business, or otherwise making lives easier.
OpenSocial claims to be a boon to social networking sites. Ultimately though, if the quality and usefulness of the applications doesn’t increase, then OpenSocial may only bring a geometric growth of the noise over value. Are we doomed have all social networking sites become useless?
The question is really not will there be more game and quiz applications, that’s a given. The real question is will sites find more real tool applications to use. Behind that even, what might drive their development.
The big problem is that application developers are driven mostly be ad revenue right now. This is even true of sites such as LinkedIn, which I use. Sadly, game players are apparently into clicking on ads.
My suggestion is to create services where the value is high enough that even everyday folks like me will join up as a paying member. Those sites then need to make their objects available to me where I want and need them, not just on their website. If I want a Dopplr widget on my browser, that’s common enough it should already be there. Or how about Widgets on my desktop? Where’s my Grand Central notifier? The concept of sites that users must visit might be fine for folks that have lots of time to spare visiting them, but busy people needs apps that will come to them. Mobile application versions is just one aspect. They need not to forget desktop and laptop users like me, that don’t want to open 10 tabs to see all my stuff.
Yes, I’ve ranted off course a bit, but it comes down to usefulness versus noise. The noise isn’t just a steady trickle on Facebook, it’s a flood. The pace is just picking up. Aaron isn’t the first to weigh anchor and move on but he’s a strong sign of the movement away from such sites.
What’s your line? 10 invites? 100? 1000? What’s your camel back breaking app you’ll freak out over and drop Facebook for?