I've been thinking about Facebook lately.
A brief history: my alma mater, not exactly a campus of Luddites, "got Facebook" in the fall of 2004, back when it was rolled out campus by campus. You couldn't join unless you had an email address for a participating campus. That was nifty, because it meant the only people who saw your profile were your fellow students and maybe some buddies at schools that were also participating. It was a little bit like a real-time yearbook.
A few years later—and I don't know when, exactly—Facebook suddenly and essentially sprung out of beta and into the real world. Now everyone could have a Facebook account: your professor, your little brother in the sixth grade, and, well, your mom. Things changed. Facebook profiles changed. Facebook privacy settings got complicated and have been steadily increasing in complicatedness since then (I read somewhere that the number of individual privacy settings on Facebook is now up to around two hundred).
All along, I've used Facebook happily as a way to stay in touch with many far-flung friends from my hometown and from college. I stay attuned to what's going on in my brother's life more easily (neither of us being phone people). Because most of the people I work with and many of my friends don't live in the same town as me, I get to keep up with them more easily through Facebook.
For those reasons, I don't see myself giving up Facebook any time soon. It's hardly an addiction. I don't go through withdrawal symptoms if I'm away from it. I go for days or even weeks without remembering to update my status. It's just a handy way to see what people have been up to and share cool stuff I find on the web. And, it's pretty useful for my career.
On the other hand, sometimes I get tired of it. The number of people I've hidden from my "friend feed" because of political bickering, incessant and dull updating, or just plain inanity is depressing. It would be nice to just shut it down and stop thinking about it.
Mashable is reporting that May 31 is going to be "Facebook Exodus" day, and asking if we're going to join up. I won't . . . but it's tempting. What about you?