I found facebook a lot less satisfying than fora, and have been wondering why. On facebook, before I kicked the habit, my friends were mostly people i knew or had known in real life; my social interaction with them was originally real. On the other hand, in the few internet fora I frequent, I’ve met very few in real life: most of other forumites insist on living more than a bus ride away. So perhaps fora feel more real because my interaction there is built from the net.
Even so, I find the time spent in those fora far more satisfying than facebook interaction, compared directly. I suspect that is a matter of format and expectation. With facebook, it’s not just farmville and other equivalents of having a nasty smell, it’s that an in–depth conversation is hardly possible. In those fora I inhabit, it’s both possible and frequent. Of course, that ‘in–depth’ is subjective, my in–depth might well be superficial to many others.
I suspect it’s partially because, in facebook, there’s no mechanism of identifying conversations without first reading them. They’re not labelled beyond the who. So if I’m looking to join in something substantive, how I do I know where it is? On fora, I go to the appropriate forum, in real life, I go to the appropriate bash.
I’d prefer to socialise with people in real life, always, not just because physical presence is always one hell of a lot better than virtual for communication, not just because we’d be able to knock back a decent plonk in a decent café (in the French sense), but, well, people getting together is way human communication evolved, it’s how it works best. It can go to many places than an internet conversation can’t.