What makes one zombie attack meaningful and another meaningless?

In an earlier post I expressed a concern that Facebook seemed to be getting a bit out of control and wondered what motivated people to continue adding more and more applications to their profiles resulting in a deluge of pokes, superwall/funwall posts, zombie attacks, reviews blah blah raining down on all of us … I see that Hugh Macleod on Gaping Void echoes those concerns today.

I think Facebook is fantastic but wonder if the core functionality that I love so much is being swamped by increasingly trivial and annoying applications that will dilute the core value of the site to the point of turning people away from it. For me, one of the great advantages of Facebook over MySpace is the ‘neatness’ of it … the chaos of MySpace is a complete turn-off for me. Unfortunately, the Facebook experience is becoming increasingly chaotic by the day. I hate the fact that I can’t view or read a message that someone has sent me using an application without actually adding it to my profile. I hate the fact that I feel I am snubbing my ‘friends’ by not reading the stuff they send me because I don’t want my profile to become 300 metres long by adding every application  my friends choose to use (… I know I could add them and delete them afterwards but, frankly, I can’t be bothered).

On the other hand, I can see that Facebook is all about human interaction, which is supposedly what makes humans happy, and that all these applications are creating opportunities for more and different types of interactions between friends.

The problem for me is that my Facebook ‘interactions’ are at a tipping point between being ‘meaningful’ and becoming ‘meaningless’. I don’t want to be cut-off from my friends because I’m too boring to read and respond to zombie attacks … but I do want to interact with them in more ‘meaningful’ ways.

There’s a whole new complex set of social conventions emerging in the social networking space which I’m struggling to understand … I hope I find my feet before I’ve alienated all my friends!

Depressed and disconnected …

As we get wealthier as a society we get more miserable, disconnected and depressed … the economist Leoplod Kohr put it down to ‘size’ – ‘… there seems only one cause behind all forms of misery: bigness’ (i.e. as the organisations around us get bigger, we feel smaller, alienated, lose autonomy and control and become institutionalised – we become, ‘… dominated by gigantic, impersonal, bureaucratic, standardised entities’).

I wonder whether the phenomenal popularity of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are another manifestation of this malaise, or part of the solution?