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Facebook Applications Are Fun… Until They Ruin Your Friendships

Facebook Applications Spam

Social networking has accomplished a feat hardly possible by any other means of communication in the last century: bringing different generations, lifestyles and schools of thought together under one umbrella of technology. MySpace can still claim the historical significance of being the first major social media site. Membership is waning, however, mostly due to more sophisticated sites like Facebook, which offer more features and an all-inclusive ‘neighborhood’ feel to their platform.

Part of the attraction for Facebook users is the plethora of applications available to download and share. Facebook has encouraged users to download applications by sending them unsolicited notices when a new one is developed, using a newly-patented algorithm to determine how many ads the developers can send. Obviously the problem with that tactic is an overabundance of spammy e-mails. Facebook recently made a change in policy which removes the annoyance of developer spam in the ‘notifications’ section.

The best advertising is word-of-mouth, and now that is what developers will have to count on to promote their applications. The idea is simple: when a user gets an application they like, they can share it with their network connections. However, we all know those Facebook junkies who apparently have no qualms about sending out fifteen ‘iHearts’ in one day, to all six-thousand of their very favorite Facebook friends. So, how do you share your favorite applications with your network buddies without overwhelming their inboxes? Here are a few tips for making the most of your Facebook experience without ruining friendships:

  • Consider your recipient’s tastes and lifestyle. Does your friend enjoy playing games and having their fortune told? If so, then by all means send them the daily horoscope application and Farmville. Do they enjoy taking polls and receiving friendly notes and cards? Of course you should send them the polling application and eHug. However, if your friend is a Rhodes Scholar (we all know a few, right?) and an atheist, it hardly makes sense to send them the ‘What’s on your mind?’ application or ‘The Bible’.
  • Does your friend even ‘do’ applications? Some Facebook users are there for reasons other than just socializing. If your connection uses Facebook for marketing and advertising, they are probably not interested in your baby lemur at Petville. In such a case it doesn’t make sense to bombard their inbox with requests for virtual pet food or an invitation to download MyDailyKarma. Before you start trying to convert all your connections into virtual farmers or restauranteurs, a quick note asking permission would probably be the best idea.
  • Check the validity of your application before you share it with your Facebook connections. One of the main down points for applications is their propensity for unusable. If an application is merely a pretty icon, and doesn’t really do anything worthwhile, it’s a waste of time. There are plenty of useful, fun applications being developed every day. It is up to you to validate their usability before you share them
  • Don’t overwhelm your friends. You wouldn’t stuff every magazine you ever thought your friend would like in their home mailbox, so why do it to their virtual one? Ten applications in a user’s inbox in one day will lead that user to disconnect with you. Rather, a new application every couple of days will be appreciated as good taste rather than annoying overabundance.
  • YOU don’t have to download or share every application you receive. Some Facebook users feel obligated to download every application sent to them. Do you accept every dinner invitation you get? So why do you feel obligated to waste your time on things you are not interested in? Think about it like this: you paid for the computer, the internet time, and the electricity. Why should you let anyone tell you what to do with your playtime? If you don’t want the application, don’t download it; if you don’t care for the application, don’t share it.

The new technology that gives us so much more to keep our minds occupied can sometimes be the wholly-detested ‘brain drain’. While internet users are certainly free to do nearly whatever their hearts desires online, it is not always best to share EVERY. SINGLE. THING. you enjoy about your online time. Sometimes it’s best to be choosy, especially in our constantly changing, ever-evolving cyber-culture.

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