Is there life OUTSIDE of Facebook?

As an avid user of things OUTSIDE of Facebook, especially the various specialist interest fora dedicated to ‘anoraks’ or old-stylee enthusiasts of radio and techie things, I have noticed it getting quieter and quieter on the ‘anoraking’ front.
Everywhere OUTSIDE of Facebook is becoming like a grave.
It’s like everybody’s gone to a party and left only a few behind who were asleep when the invite arrived (or maybe it’s that they just weren’t invited so all the others sneaked off quietly without them knowing!).
Whenever I have something techie or new media or radio-ish to say, even if I’ve said it elsewhere, I will always plonk a copy on Anorak Nation for others to read, comment on or put me right about.  I think others do the same.
Apart from these, and the folk who kindly reply and respond, Anorak Nation, like almost everywhere OUTSIDE of Facebook, is as good as dead.
From time to time I’ve wondered about where ‘so-and-so’ has gone, maybe even musing they might have snuffed it, as I can’t see any contributions from them anywhere OUTSIDE of Facebook on any of the fora that the usual suspects always used to haunt. The more I looked at conventional ‘anoraky’ boards across the entire internet the more I realised that apart from the three or four dedicated few, everybody else had gone.
In some places the multiple personalities of the three or four there, designed really to just be cruel about people no longer there, gave the illusion that there was far more activity than there actually was. But really, the anoraky world OUTSIDE of Facebook is seriously dead.
Even the old faithful’s Yahoogroups based Radio Caroline discussion group/mailing list thingie is now 98% just lists of what has been recorded from various radio stations and stored on a server for others to download.
Actual anorak speaking unto anorak is really no more.
Or so I thought.
Spurred on by the annoying news that Facebook now has half a billion users I decided to spend a while poking around a bit deeper than I normally bother, you know, kinda spying on people not my ‘Friends’ (why are they called ‘Friends’? Most of the people don’t actually know each other, some never even met in the flesh!  Anyway, I’m a Facebook whore desperate for ‘friends’, so please make me your friend – – now then, where was I?). 
Well, blow me down, most anoraks are alive and well and burbling away on Facebook. They are huddled in little groups happily chattering away and sharing memories and photos, and (mainly) there’s none of the anonymous viciousness that fora suffers from OUTSIDE of Facebook.
Aha, I think I see why they are there.
Methinks that only a very few of the older less able folk are the diehards who refuse to embrace Facebook and so are not part of where absolutely everybody has migrated to.  They are the people still using CB whilst everybody else has a mobile phone.
I say this as an observation, not as a Facebook anorak. My well-known pathological hatred of Facebook exceeds that of shiny shiny iSheep products, as you may have read here before!
So, what will happen to places like Anorak Nation, etc., when the last diehards have, er, died, or given up on being OUTSIDE of Facebook and have been assimilated into the Borg that is Facebook? Will the only place for chatter and reminiscing be Facebook?
Is that it?
I just don’t feel comfortable with this future with nothing OUTSIDE of Facebook.  I’ve written before about how Facebook really is the ultimate Big Brother, structuring how and what you do, with no room for anything different or adventurous or, dare I suggest it, individualistic.
Indeed, with generations now growing up not knowing how to access anything OUTSIDE of Facebook, I can’t really see a non-Facebook future.
Should I be concerned about this or is this all just a phase we are going through?  

One comment

  1. Some good points Chris, I wish there was a viable alternative to Facebook which allowed much more freedom and a individualistic way of presenting yourself. I know there are a few projects on the go, but none have yet made it to mainstream have they?

    I do worry that in time most of the sort of alternatives to Facebook such as bulletin boards and forums will wither away.

    However I am a member of a football forum and even though it has a Facebook presence, nearly all discussion (and there is a lot of it!) takes place on the bulletin board. So maybe I am being too pessimistic?


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