I don't know about you, but I'm finding that increasingly, the bulk of the inbox and notification messages I get on Facebook are what seem to be "mass-mail" invitations to various events to attend, groups to join, or applications to install. And most of these "applications" seem to be games, fun-walls, killing zombies and other relatively light distractions.
It takes 10-15 minutes every day to sort through this stuff, before one can get anything useful out of Facebook at all.
At any other time, one might dismiss these as spam, but I'm finding that a lot of these are from friends (mostly real ones, not just Facebook acquaintances).
Call it friendly spam, for lack of a better term.
I guess it's no different than getting a deluge of emails from friends in the mid-nineties when email was new to mainstream users, with some witty joke to read, or photo to peruse. And of course there was always this encouragement to pass it on and share the joy.
In that sense, the Facebook version of this experience is a bit of deja vu.
The difference is that unlike with email, that one could just ignore and not read, every one of these messages asks for an action by the user before being dismissed. You know, "attending", "maybe attending", "not attending" for events, "join"/"don't join" for groups, and "install"/"don't install" for applications.
A couple of physical clicks are required to dismiss and navigate away from them, and even then, you're never sure if the friend that sent them is going to get a message saying "your so-called friend dismissed your invitation to such and such group, event or application".
With over 50 million Facebook users now, it may be time for a Facebook etiquette book, not unlike Emily Post's "Etiquette" book published in 1922. It'd lay down the proper etiquette for both senders and receivers of communications on Facebook.
Any violation would be punishable by having to clear out the inbox of a Facebook whale for a week. A Facebook whale, of course, is someone like Robert Scoble or Mark Cuban, who've reached the Facebook max of 5000 friends. Clearing those inboxes every day has got to be a chore that'd make a good deterrent.
The book would also need to cover what the heck to do if you're getting "pokes" from people on a regular basis, and you're over 30 and have never experienced the joys of Facebook poking in your twenties.
I guess I should poke someone back if they poke me, but what does one do if they poke back again? Do you poke back again? What to do when they poke back again and again? When does it stop? Or does it ever stop?
The same question of course applies to zombie bites.
Then there's the issue of those invitations to play Scrabulous or online poker or some such thing, most of them coming during working hours in a workday. I mean do economists now need to factor in the effect of Facebook games on productivity growth in the economy in coming quarters?
There's even a blog called Proper Facebook Etiquette.
What I'm talking about here though, is a hefty, meaty, beefy tome. At least a couple of hundred pages and a few pictures (color preferably).
Something with a real-life publisher. Something someone would need to shell out good money for.
And not a Kindle only version either.
Something someone can then physically grab and throw* at a real life friend in real life for having spammed you that morning with an invitation to install yet another Facebook funwall.
Damn, I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.
* Throw to miss of course. This blog would never condone actual attacks that may result in physical injury**.
**Is that enough fine print?