Facebook Family Tree: Water it or chop it down

Hate or like it, there’s no denying that the social networking scene is fast picking up pace. And among the scores of socially amiable websites slapped on our face, Facebook by far has emerged as a favorite. Conversations, on the site are actually interesting statuses like ‘Had yummy dinner with x…thank you x’ or ‘Slept like a baby last night…feeling so hungry’, or ‘Got my new x Android device…oh my god I’m so happy’ and so on. Everyone from a complete stranger to friends and their boyfriends/girlfriends will feel like they’re bound by duty to comment or like the said status. There’s obviously more to this terrain with games like the Farmville and Mafia Wars having visitors hooked. If you’ve been following up the doings of visitors on the site lately, you would have noticed the increased use of the Facebook Family Tree application. Yes, we’ve put in under the scanner and here’s what our analysis of the application says.

Facebook Family Tree

For starters, the Facebook Family Tree application created by Familybuilder has been tailored to keep users connected with their family members. Keeping to its namesake, the tool lets you create a hierarchy of your family members which means they’re obviously part of your social network. Besides letting you search for relatives, the free and fun tool gives you the opportunity to build your family tree, preserve your family history and in a way do your family some good. Well, at least your mum will no longer be screaming ‘Get off that annoying social network, will you?’ if you have her jump on it too. What’s more, you can show your love by scrapping the lives of family members. But nosy cousins who know there are no other ways you’d have them in your friend list sure put you in a social dilemma. It could all get quite messy if left to decide whether practical sense should take over family ties. So what happens when you post content that you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with family members? Or better worst you have inquisitive cousins and random relatives in your friend list though you’d rather strangle them if you met them in person!

As Bertsy Nodriquez, Facebook enthusiast mentions, “I don’t mind other people having a family tree on Facebook; it’s just plain funny to see my friends’ parents out on a holiday and dressed in shorts. But it’s embarrassing to have your own family out there, especially if they’re much older and too fond of Facebook. The relationship status is as far as it should go in my opinion. As for relatives, as if it’s not bad that a lot of people feel coerced into socializing with them in the real world without having to put up with friend requests on Facebook.”

According to Adeley Tinsung, “I certainly mind having a family tree on Facebook as all my plans and actions will no more be under the wraps. On the contrary, the relationship status should be the way it is and not just simply flushed off with something delusive.”

But then there are many who seem to have found a liking towards the application. Claiming it to be a great genealogy research tool, it is simple to install as a widget on your Facebook profile page. The makers also reveal to give it an overhaul every now and then while many users are amazed at the number of people they are linked to in real life. For some it’s the thrill of adding their BFFs or just random associates as siblings or mother/father that has them exploring what more can they do with the application. Though, many users would prefer if the application came with more relationship options, especially those who boast of considerably large families and would like to label them. As a complaint, users of this application would also prefer if it stopped giving suggestions on possible family members.

Shinoy Barivele, a travel freak says “I love the family tree option. It keeps me posted about all my relatives, their kids and even what’s happening in their professional lives. It’s great to stay firmly rooted to your family history and know about your great-grandfather or someone you didn’t even know was actually related to you.”

As a primary requirement, those intending to use the application need to have a Facebook account themselves. Though adding family members on the application may seem effortless, a detailed look says no. Much unlike other genealogy resources on the social network, this tool is based largely on participation. You will be required to send family members you wish to add an invite, with obviously each of them already using it. From a drop down menu that puts forth the relation, it is difficult for the application to add a person. So yes an incorrect label of a relative isn’t corrected automatically. Another glitch with using the application is that every time you wish to show off your newly found relative, you will have to permit it to do so. The application fails to make an identification if the permission for it to do this has been denied.

“Though many of my friends loved the app, I personally don’t find it great. The concept of adding friends as family members doesn’t sound really cool to me. Indeed, it hybridized everything and made it confusing for me. At times, I was asked to give an explanation since not everyone in my friend list is acquainted. I have never sent anyone a request to form a family tree simply because it doesn’t make any sense to me,” adds Daksharon Thapar.

If seen from a sole genealogy perspective, creating your own family tree can also be a hassle. Well, not every one of our parents would be too keen on being exhibited on a social and might we say very public platform. Developing the family tree will first require users to add their mother and father which will take much longer than anticipated if your parents aren’t already on Facebook. The application makers are reportedly also working on a gaming component within the application which would involve the construction of a virtual representation of the family.

What might seem like something very exciting on the front for just about any social network enthusiast, a deeper look and you might just get the picture. In what appears to be a very strategic move by Zuckerberg and buddies, Facebook is doing just what it does right – encouraging us to flash more of our private lives on a very public platform. It’s obviously what has kept the cash flowing so far and with the amount of fodder we have to feed, they’re just going to keep having more. But, to think of it how many of us on Facebook really care about privacy. Remember we wouldn’t be on the social network in the first place if we really did.