The Perfect Match
When the relationship ended, all I could think about were the good traits. I’d wander around, searching for someone, something that could mimic those things that had kept us connected in a way that brought such joy and vision.
In a way, I knew my search was naive. I would never find another that would fulfill everything I wanted perfectly. It’s a pipe dream; a fantasy. But look I did.
Eventually, I gave up. I stopped thinking about what was over and done with and began planning my world tour. I wrapped up what I could and lost myself in the task at hand. But somewhere in my unconscious, I still had that desire.
When I returned from my trip, it was only a few weeks before that email from Megan appeared in my inbox. I was skeptical at first. I wasn’t about to delve deeply into what she was offering, not after how I was hurt the last time.
I tried to do my research and find out as much as I could. Nothing I discovered contradicted what she said.
I still had my reservations, but I gave it a shot anyway.
It was true. Goodreads had everything I wanted in a Book Review website.
Over a year ago, I was goaded into installing an application on Facebook to track my reading. At the time, I was trying to force myself to finish Phillip Pullman‘s Dark Materials Trilogy, of which the Golden Compass went quickly before I realized how mediocre the latter books were.
Having the app staring at me and offering the chance to review the books helped me stay on track. After all, I have spent years at Radio 1190 listening to and ranking CDs, and I watched 166 movies in 2006, ranking them as I went.
Keeping these lists made these fun tasks that lacked any real goal feel like they were substantial. At the end of the day, as I slapped a star rating or short review down on the internet, I felt accomplished, which is more than I can say when I usually spend a full day watching movies or listening to CDs.
Facebook, like most social media, doesn’t really seem to serve a purpose to me. Up until I was nudged onto Twitter and began my rapid decent into the murky mire of social media, I avoided Facebook like the plague.
When I did log in, I would find my friends posting pictures of getting drunk or doing drugs or partying so hard they broke their arm along with their heart thanks to a bad night of VD-ladled sex. Those that weren’t idiotic college kids jumping to join the latest Facebook Fraternity with their impulsive antics were posting status updates to how lonely or fucked up or angry they were, magically twisting their visage from pleasant to emo right before my eyes.
I didn’t even hit 10 books before I broke up with Facebook. My books still sit there in a box on the side of my page, reminding me of that brief but fateful fling I had.
My page on Goodreads has a few dozen books. I’m trying to keep it updated, but it’s hard when some of my favorite books I read years ago. I don’t know if I’d rate R.A. Salvatore’s shitty fantasy novels five stars like I did when I was in middle school. I have no idea when I read some of the great books in history, not even approximately.
As books pile up for me to read, I add them to the to-read list. Every time I finish a book, I see those others sitting there and am reminded what I need to read next. Plus, if I’m busy bouncing from book to book, going through Goodreads I don’t have to deal with the 30 million other things happening on Facebook that I don’t care about it.
Therein lies the key. So many of these social networking sites are trying to be a cureall for my needs. The Jeff pointed out the CNN integration with Facebook and how it’s trying to become Twitter 2. It’s disturbing and overwhelming.
I’d much rather go to Goodreads for books, Yelp! for restaurants, IMDB for movies, etc. It may mean multiple stops, but by separating each task and breaking it down, it allows me to focus on one aspect. I don’t want to see blog posts mirrored on BriteKite posts mirrored on Twitter posts mirrored on Facebook (which is actually possible and creepy; not only that, but I can create an endless loop by having Twitter and Facebook post those updates back to my blog).
There’s a certain irony to my argument that I prefer separation. After all, I argued yesterday that I wanted BriteKite to integrate some of Yelp!’s features and combine those services. I use Pidgin for instant messaging because it combines the different services into one simple to use client. I read my news at Slashdot and Shacknews because they collect different sources into an easy to navigate single source. Why, if I like this integration, would I want separation.
It comes down to one thing: purpose. There are so many options out there. Instant messaging is pretty much the same no matter what service I use, so why bother with different ones? BriteKite is intended to be location specific and reviews are about a location so it makes sense to combine those. Unless a service is offering the same or a similar thing, it doesn’t need to be integrated into a bunch of other services.
As Twittip says in their Twitter vs. Facebook post, “In the end, both Twitter and Facebook are simply communication tools.” Maybe one day one will beat the other or they’ll end up merging. Until then, Facebook needs to figure out what it really wants to be and Twitter needs to figure what it really wants to do.
I finished Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn the other day. I was tepid about popping over to Goodreads and entering my review. When I clicked the link and the page finally loaded, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was perfectly calm; no friend requests, no invites, no posts to read, no status updates, no birthdays, no quizzes, no memes. All I had to worry about was the beauty of the book I had finished and what I wanted to say about it.
I think Goodreads and I will be together for quite some time.