It’s funny that Facebook is considered a social site. For sure, it gives you a chance to interact with your friends and family, leaving messages or playing games with them.
It’s not so bad at first. People write on your “wall” and you answer back. Then you start getting “requests.”
Your auntie, for instance, may be collecting Rainbow Brite pictures from a Facebook application. The way it works is that your auntie sends a request to people on her friends list and then those people may or may not, send one back to Auntie. If they do, she gets more Rainbow Brite characters and, the more people that send them, the quicker she builds up her collection.
You may not give a hoot about Rainbow Brite but since your Aunt does, you go ahead with it. Then, more and more of your friends get into it and you end up with more and requests.
Eventually you start getting requests for different games. People want you to join their mafia, army, dragons weir, or whatever. Simple games where you basically just need to click on one button over and over until you run out of energy, fatigue, magic, or whatever. These games give you an option of sending a free “gift” that will help your friends. You’re getting a lot of them so you feel obligated to send some back.
Then there are the Flash based games. You suddenly find yourself drawn into games where you take care of your pets, fish tanks, restaurants, gardens, and farms. And these games are set up so that if you don’t keep a constant eye on them you’ll lose something, usually in-game credits.
For example, in Farmville, you need to plant crops. If they grow and you don’t harvest them in time they wither away and die. Different crops take different amounts of time to grow. There’s about two dozen different farming games on Facebook right now so if you find yourself playing more than one then you have a lot to start keeping straight.
You may find yourself figuring out schedules. You can’t cook a pot roast in Cafe World now, because you’ll be asleep by the time it’s cooked. Or you can’t go out after work with your co-workers because your eggplant will wither. And do you go to that meeting or do you feed your fish, who are about to go belly up?
You find yourself being more of a slave to a hundred Facebook applications rather than interacting with people on Facebook. Maybe even putting of real world events for the sake of your digital produce.
It begins to get not too social at that point; neither online nor off.