A lot of people, geeks especially, seem to have a deep seated hatred of Facebook. Often, when various tech writers rail against the scourge of Zuckerberg, I nodded my head in agreement. Lately though, something has occurred to me. If I hate Facebook so much, why am I still using it so much?
The only answer I can come up with is that it adds value.
I don't spend all day on Facebook like some do, but usually check in two or three times per day, mostly to see if I have any messages or notifications and to take a quick scroll through my timeline. It's pretty much an 'ambient awareness' type of thing. It's where a lot of the people that I care about share what's happening with them.
Facebook has actually done a pretty good job of giving users control over what kind of updates and content they see. If one of my friends keeps posting stupid stuff, or inviting me to Farmville, I can block those types of posts easily. I generally feel in control of what I'm spending my time and attention on. Now, with Facebook integration into iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion, it has become even more useful, mostly for sharing.
I also find that Facebook is an incredibly useful tool at work, for engaging Fanshawe College's alumni community. Obviously, it's not for everyone but the content we post there gets shared and talked about quite a bit. Facebook advertising actually works really, really well and it doesn't cost that much.
Anyways, just like any platform/distraction, Facebook is only as useful or as harmful as we allow it to be. Instead of complaining about it, I've given it a carefully controlled spot within my attention spectrum.