Panel of Experts: Facebook
Question: What do you think of Facebook, its current role, and its future?
Facebook seems to be winning the SNS battle for the hearts and time-sucks of horror professionals. We worry about privacy issues on Facebook and we worry about how much creativity energy it can use up. But we love the elegant user-friendly interface. It is just so easy to use Facebook. Plus, although a few of us boycott the site or visit it very rarely, most horror writers and editors and artists seem to have accounts on there. Ultimately, who adopts a platform like Facebook makes all the difference in who it is useful for and the horror community is definitely on Facebook.
I hope something better and open source comes along. For now though, if we want to be on the large platform where everyone else is, we’re stuck with pointless upgrades, privacy concerns every few months and all the other excitement that comes along with it.
—Lon Prater, writer
I dislike that Facebook has become so pervasive that their TOS tend to dictate what kinds of content many people ever see on the web. I think Facebook-centric people today are like AOL users used to be, in how limited their view of the internet tends to be. A lot of creative people I know seem to think Facebook is great for promo, but individuals have a limit of like 5,000 people they can post to. A combination of Twitter and a blog, for example, can reach so many more people. When MySpace was king, I had 60,000 “friends” on there and I could actually see the traffic coming in when links posted. Maybe my perspective is different because I run multiple sites with millions of visitors per month and, as an old school zinester, I believe many other people could do the same and reach a lot more potential readers or art buyers or whatever than with Facebook. I have to give props to the elegant and simple Facebook interface though. I think the promo aspect of Facebook somewhat puts me off because I initially joined Facebook back when you had to have a dot edu email in order to sign up. Because my intention was just to get in touch with friends from school, I didn’t really think of it as a promotional tool. Then, when Facebook wanted to grow their userbase, they got pretty lax about people using their real names and all that. Of course, I also dislike that Facebook is bad on privacy issues. Alas, sometimes it can be an enjoyable way to stay in touch, despite all that.
—Amelia G, writer
I love Facebook, but it’s like any other tool, like a hammer or saw: If you use it correctly, it’s awesome. If you don’t, it just causes unnecessary damage.
—Chad Savage, dark artist
Facebook is a medium where you share more, and at length, so it has its place in the ego-centric over-sharing online market. The problem with Facebook is its lack of security – no matter how many “features” they implement for you to make your data secure, they violate trust mark corporation certification guidelines on a regular basis, and their rampant allowance (only somewhat regulated) of third party applications also allows for virus issues and data insecurity, too. While it’s the user’s choice to engage in those features, I think it could be better regulated by Facebook. As for its future? I can’t say. I would like to see the next best thing first, and see if it kills Twitter the way Facebook killed Myspace.
—Rain Graves, writer
Only slightly better than Twitter, though it’s still filled with nonsense and empty calories. I’m told it’s good for an author’s career to be available on Facebook. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s why I finally joined up after years of resistance. Now, after seeing how much time it devours in my day, and for very little return on investment, I kind of wish I’d kept resisting.
—Nicholas Kaufmann, writer
If tweets are commercials, then Facebook is gossip tv. It’s been super great for me, not only in getting my works out there to hundreds of potential fans, but also in re-connecting with old friends. But it’s a social thing, primarily. In the future, I think you’ll see something that’s a combination of LinkedIn and Facebook being key in marketing of books and other entertainment.
—J. G. Faherty, writer
I’m a big Facebook booster. I love the interface. It’s so easy to post links which include photos and page summaries. It’s so easy to share information from and with others. I like the fact that I can connect with colleagues, fans, family, and friends, all in one spot. You never know what’s going to be the next great thing with technology, but I’d say Facebook’s future looks pretty bright.
—Karen A. Romanko, writer
Gah, stop with the apps! I don’t want to be in your mafia, I don’t want to know about your farm, and I don’t care about how sexy your username is. PLus, as I already mentioned, my family and friends of the family are following me out there, so I have to behave a little more, and we all know that’s no fun. I think Facebook will explode and die. Oh wait, that was just wishful thinking.
—Marcy Italiano, writer
Facebook is fun, a great way to stay in touch with people (both from long ago and far away, and just-saw-em-earlier and across town) and a very easy way to spend several hours slaloming back and forth between desperate, crotchety boredom and relentless waves of awesome. I have no ability to speculate where it’s going.
—Jemiah Jefferson, writer
I like Facebook as a social networking tool, and I appreciate the functionality and general smoothness it has been able to maintain — which MySpace could not. It is not as buggy as MySpace and it is generally speaking reasonably easy to customize. However, I do not trust Facebook and I believe their commitment to customer privacy has been repeatedly demonstrated to be lacking.
—Thomas S. Roche, writer
I use it as one of my main store fronts. Yes, I have family and friends there but primarily I use all these social media sites to sell my paintings. If it wasn’t for that I don’t believe I’d have much use for any of them honestly.
—Vaughn Belak, dark artist
I’ve been trying for over two years to get on Facebook, but they won’t let me join because they think my name is fake. Facebook doesn’t have a problem posting a Wikipedia page about me on their website, or giving a page to Sas Quatch (Sasquatch, aka Bigfoot ), but they still won‘t let me join. Recently, a group of fellow horror writers heard about my problem, and started the Facebook page “Owl Goingback on Facebook Today!” It already has over seven hundred member, so maybe one day I’ll be able to come to the party.
—Owl Goingback, writer
I think it’s dumb and makes what Dorothy Parker called a do-dad world, but I’m on it.
—Sarah Langan, writer
Facebook is great. It keeps me connected to a lot of people that would be otherwise invisible to me.
—James Roy Daly, writer
OK, this one I got sucked into. I’m sure it will eventually fade, but for now, it’s serving as an invaluable source of info. and re-connection with scores of old friends.
—Jean Graham, writer
I think the ease of use draws people to Facebook. Especially those of us who aren’t as computer-savvy. It doesn’t seem to be slowing down, but I feel something will come along to supplant it, much like Facebook did to MySpace.
— Anthony Izzo, writer
I use it to promote only. I don’t feel the necessity to post everything I do, which seems to be what a lot of twitter is about. I’m suspicious of the information these formats collect and I’m a relatively private person. That might sound funny coming from a memoir writer, but in presenting uniformity can control how the message is presented and how that information is disseminated. The Facebook and Twitter data collection is far more dangerous than I think most people realize, but they are both necessary evils for marketing.
—Matt Kennedy, writer
I finally decided to join Facebook because so many of my professional friends are participating. I enjoy seeing what others are reading, movies they recommend or their creative projects.
—Jill Bauman, dark artist
Facebook is a work of genius. Again, too much of a time suck for me, but I don’t even think I have the intellectual capacity to describe its scope.
—Alexandra Sokoloff, writer
It’s fun. It’s a time suck. You have to find a balance as a writer or the networking can overtake the writing time.
—Angeline Hawkes, writer
For the most part, I see Facebook as a social network. I do post links to publications when they are available, but for me it’s more of a way to stay in touch with family and friends and to share funny videos and quirky news. Some people have latched onto it as a marketing platform, but it doesn’t really work that way for me yet.
—Bev Vincent, writer
TOO MUCH INFORMATION
—Bob Johnson, writer
I think Facebook is a good social networking tool because of its critical mass. It’s become such a large part of the culture that I think it’s here to stay, and as a writer, you would be foolish to ignore it.
—Carl Alves, writer
I like Facebook, but I need several lessons on why I couldn’t make my “invitation” work, etc. The picure would not upload.
—Connie Corcoran Wilson, writer
WORKS FOR ME AS A PR TOOL
—Del Howison, writer
It’s great that people can interact with authors they enjoy and these sites make that so much easier. The only problem is trying to keep them updated and get everything else done as well.
—Derek Gunn, writer
From the standpoint of being able to reconnect with old friends it’s fantastic but from a personal point I don’t think it’s necassary to constantly post about yourself (this goes for twitter too). There is a degree of egotism that I don’t think is healthy (at least for me).
—Ed Mironiuk, dark artist
I think Facebook runs the world now. If it ever goes away, the world will blow up. 😉 Seriously, Facebook is an incredible tool. Not only can you reach all of YOUR “friends” but you can also reach your friends’ friends, and then possibly their friends, and so on and so on.
—Elizabeth Blue, writer
Social Networking is a great tool to keep in touch with friends new and old and be up-to-date with their life. I’m just waiting for the next best social networking site to make its mark on the world for people will flock to once again.
—Eric Swartz, dark artist
Facebook is useful for keeping up with others, especially getting the word out about my current publishing high-points.
—G. O. Clark, writer
I think as long as Facebook continues to evolve it will be around for quite a long time. But it does need to continue to adapt and add new features such as a reliable music player. Otherwise, people will begin to lose interest just as they have begun to with MySpace.
—Gabrielle Faust, writer
I like Facebook reasonably well, it’s a good way to meet and keep up with a wide range of folks. It’s got flaws, and a fascist tendency thanks to its scummy creators, but hey, a man can be better than his descent, why can’t a social network be the same?
—Gene Stewart, writer
The impact has been astonishing and it has changed how we connect and sell pretty much everything, including books and ebooks. I’m sold. Having said that, it would surprise me if something blew it out of the water next year.
—Harry Shannon, writer
It has its place but it needs to by used sensibly. I think it will grow and grow in the future. Where after that, I have no idea.
—Helen McCabe, writer
I enjoy it to keep up with friends, though I find that some people are too self-involved with their postings.
—Jameson Currier, writer
I like Facebook because I can be on as little as a few minutes a day and be caught up. I don’t leave it queued.
—Jeanne C. Stein, writer
I think it has a lot of annoying aspects but some value to it as well. I’ve got 2400 facebook friends, many of them fans,a nd their ideas and feedback and our mutual accessibility has some value…
—John Shirley, writer
Facebook is key. It’s a perfect method for keeping in touch with fan bases, other writers, and top-notch talent. I literally get to share stuff directly to the people reading about Bucky Dennis. What better way to spread the word and hear back from the good folks reading you? If you don’t have a Facebook page, get one.
—J. R. Parks, writer
As a way of connecting with readers it’s amazing. I’ve been able to have online chats with readers, get their feedback, and their thoughts on sequels. I can’t speculate on what Facebook will be like in the future, but currently it’s making me think about discontinuing my Blog and just using Facebook to stay in touch with readers.
—Kevin David Anderson, writer
I love Facebook, it has help me connect to old and new friends. The future is bright for Facebook
—Larry Bradby, writer
I see the use of Facebook more clearly. I’ve found work through it. I’ve discovered new music, new TV, and new books through it. My friends there have given me good answers to questions I’ve posed. Best of all, I like checking in on my friends every day, without them knowing they’re being stalked. I wish Facebook stop changing the profile designs around, though. It makes it harder to find information, rather than easier.
—Loren Rhoads, writer
I personally find it kind of boring but necessary.
—Lisa Mannetti, writer
I greatly enjoy Facebook, and think the ability to easily integrate photos and videos is a wonderful function.
—Lisa Morton, writer
I feel much the same about Facebook as I do Twitter, only with Facebook there are the added advantages of notes, pictures, and other features that enhance the authors’ ability to promote themselves. However, Facebook’s privacy issues do make me somewhat leery. It’s another great way for readers and authors to connect, and for authors to promote their latest releases and news.
—Louise Bohmer, writer
Not for me, though I joined due to a high school reunion. That’s the sole reason. Seems a gathering place for everyone who is too lazy to write personal emails OR enjoys a commonality where they can play games, share their woes, etc. Future: may blossom still further. As long as I’m not forced to participate, fine by me.
—Marge Simon, writer
Facebook is useful in terms of keeping in touch with people, whether friends or fans – it’s also a very useful way of publicising your work to a wider audience. I shouldn’t think its future role would be that different.
—Marie O’Regan, writer
My goddaughter never reads her email, just FB – it’s be around until the next big thing
—Mark Onspaugh, writer
It is a great socializing tool for writers. It is here to stay.
—M. F. Korn, writer
Facebook has allowed me to connect with friends and family, but I am reluctant to personally use it in any significant way. On the other hand, I maintain and regularly update a fan page for one of my clients and have found it quite useful to promote their events.
—Michael Bracken, writer
Facebook is on top right now. I’ve connected with people I could never connect with before – great horror authors, film actors, directors, producers, and family I didn’t realize I had. Wow. I’m in awe of this. I want more. I want to make something happen.
—Michael J. Hultquist, writer
Growing. Great to use. Can be irritating. Useless and boring posts but invaluable for getting in touch with people.
—Mick Sims, writer
Beats the hell out of Myspace. Good marketing tool, and will probably continue to grow in the role until something newer, faster, and better knocks it out of the top slot. Just like it did to Myspace.
Also great for catching up with old friends.
—M. R. Sellars, writer
I think it has more potential than Twitter. I think it’s soon going to be a serious competitor for Google as the prime advertising vehicle on the web. When it goes public, I’ll probably buy stock in it. I think it’s a fine way to keep in touch with friends and family. Eventually, it will probably become the dominant web venue for blogging, thus making web pages for individuals troublesome and unnecessary. But I’m not sure it will ever replace direct email as a business tool for writers.
—Nancy Etchemendy, writer
Facebook seems to be evolving and i wonder how it will be in five years and ten. I also anticipate other social media sites to challenge them with new innovations yet conceived.
—P. S. Gifford, writer
I think Facebook definitely has its uses for people working in the genre, especially when you can reach so many fans and let them know about your latest book, film or whatever. It’s when there’s a crossover with actual friends and fans that you can get problems on occasion. Mates posting personal things that anybody can see and so on. As for its future, who knows?
—Paul Kane, writer
I’ve always wondered how Facebook makes money and still do. I’m guessing that in order to start delivering on its potential as a revenue generator, Facebook will need to expand its brand into something much, much bigger and far more diverse. They have to be careful exploiting their access to private information, though, because it could easily backfire and bury them in a matter of months. I think you’ll see them struggling to really generate money from Facebook in the near future. Right now, I think the only people poised to make long-term money from the company are its stakeholders, especially if Facebook goes public.
—Richard Dean Starr, writer
It’s becoming embedded in the fabric of our culture and our lives.
—Rick Reed, writer
I like Facebook, but I see it more as a place for sharing additional content, photos, etc. than Twitter.
—Ryan M. Williams, writer
I imagine it will continue to be an enjoyable timesuck. I do some promoting on there, but I’m not sure how much good it does.
—Sanford Allen, writer
Facebook is great for socializing and for finding out what fellow authors are doing. I wish there had been facebook when my kids were little. I would have been a much happier stay at home mom!
—Sèphera Girón, writer
I use Facebook to hear news from friends in the creative arts, from what they’re up to what they’re into to cool art they just found to new project starting up. I hate all the ads, I hate all the lame people who just need to cause problems. I fucking hate people who get offended so fucking much. Fuck their American offended shit. That shit fucks me so hard. Don’t read my Feed if you don’t want to get offended. Facebook will die like everything else because Americans get bored and want something different.
—Shade Rupe, writer
I like Facebook as I can interact with people and keep up with what they are up to. It also allows me to reach out to long lost friends. I think it will remain popular for a while yet.
—Shaun Jeffrey, writer
Everybody seems to be on facebook these days. I am not and I never will be. People like to feel connected and Facebook seem to be the ultimate way to do it. I think Facebook story is still only in its early chapters and that it will only get bigger.
—Steve Calvert, writer
Fabulous, especially the way things get linked and crossposted.
—Steve Burt, writer
I like Facebook simply because it draws so many people to it. I have found people I haven’t talked to in 25 years, so it’s good for that. It’s future? Because it’s a business, run by people who want money, it’s future isn’t my problem. Greed may lead it to the scrapyard of cyberspace with MySpace, but something else will come along and not last for an eye blink of eternity.
—Steve E. Wedel, writer
I don’t mind Facebook for reaching lots of people, but I tend to think it can be a time-waster if one spends too long checking on everyone’s updates. It’s just more time I could spend reading or writing. Right now, it has a strong hold on writers (and people in general), and it’s hard to see what will replace it. But something will…
—W. D. Gagliani, writer
Tags: alexandra sokoloff, amelia g, angeline hawkes, anthony izzo, bev vincent, bob johnson, carl alves, chad savage, connie corcoran wilson, del howison, derek gunn, ed mironiuk, elizabeth blue, eric swartz, forrest black, g o clark, gabrielle faust, gene stewart, harry shannon, helen mccabe, j g faherty, j r parks, james roy daly, jameson currier, jean graham, jeanne c stein, jemiah jefferson, jill bauman, john shirley, karen a romanko, kevin david anderson, larry bradby, lisa mannetti, lisa morton, lon prater, loren rhoads, louise bohmer, m f korn, m r sellars, marcy italiano, marge simon, marie oregan, mark onspaugh, matt kennedy, michael bracken, michael j hultquist, mick sims, nancy etchemendy, nicholas kaufmann, owl goingback, p s gifford, paul kane, rain graves, richard dean starr, rick reed, ryan m williams, sanford allen, sarah langan, sèphera girón, shade rupe, shaun jeffrey, steve burt, steve calvert, steve e wedel, thomas s roche, vaughn belak, w d gagliani