(subtitle - Cool and Ugh!)
I first heard about it about 3 years ago when I attended an MS sponsored event for college students at University of Southern California. I asked some of the students what cool sites they used in an attempt to go to them and try to connect with a younger audience. Facebook was by and far the most mentioned app. At the time it was not available to the public so the trail went cold.
Now, it is open to everyone and I just spent a couple hours creating my account, updating the profile, trying to locate "Friends", joining networks and (this next part was a major time suck) trying to locate interesting Groups.
Facebook looks to be interesting as a social networking application. But I have three big issues with it -
No one I personally know uses it
I lived most of my life in Dallas, Tx and all of my family and long term friends live there. But I now live in Redmond, WA. Why can't I be a part of two regional networks?
It is impossible to narrow the search criteria to easily locate groups you might be interested in joining.
I decided to add friends using my initial networks of "Microsoft" and "Seattle, WA". Few of my immediate co-workers actually live in Seattle, so I used the Microsoft network. None of my immediate co-workers are registered.
With one exception....my boss! So as of right now I have made two friend requests - Robert Scoble (because he essentially dared the entire world to add him) and my boss.
Regions - as noted above, most of the people I know live in the Dallas area. But if i want to keep up with my friends here in the Seattle are I have to try to find a Seattle groups or groups they are a part of.
Which leads me to....
The absolutely, astoundingly, horrible filtering feature for finding groups. If there is one thing that the Yahoo!'s, Googles, and Live's of the worl have done for us, it is making things discoverable. Facebook falls flat on it's face in this area. And there really isn't any excuse for it in this day and age. I can find my interest income on my 1987 tax return faster than I can find relevant groups I am interested in on Facebook. That is probably why there are some many crap groups on Facebook - Can't find it? Make a new one!
Sorry to sound down on it. It's just that when you hear all the hype and want to take part and then run into obstacles that shouldn't even exist, it puts a big damper on things.
I am sure the people at Facebook have heard this feedback before, but if not.....well.....I send them a link to this post through their feedback mechanism.
ps.....not that I want to compete with Scoble, but I generally like to be accessible. Feel free to add me if you like....