For a long while I was absent from Facebook. I'd been an early adopter, but after a while became frustrated with it and with a number of friends that I otherwise get along well with. The quality of content and proliferation of timeline spam from innumerable inconsequential apps used to drive me into a somewhat unusual rage.
So I stopped using it, deleted my account, and was somewhat happier.
It used to irk me a little when friends would organise things on Facebook and neglect to inform us luddites, but that's the price you pay for opting out. It was never really a major problem. I'd usually find out through the grapevine or eventually someone would remember. It was never a wilful exclusion.
So to cut a very long and quite dull story short, I was persuaded to give Facebook another go. There are a couple of things being organised on there that I wanted to be more involved in, I'd been hearing that the timeline/spam level had been largely improved and there was also the upcoming iOS/OS X integration that I know I'll want to at least try out. So I signed back up.
I spent the first day tinkering in settings and selectively adding friends. and waited a couple of days before opening the flood gates to all and sundry. It seems to me that Facebook has a completely different tone to it; it seems somewhat quieter, and the early abundance of apps and app spam is gone. I don't think i've seen a single Facebook game invade my feed.
At the same time the social aspect of Facebook has changed. It feels a lot more like Twitter in a sense. I tend to see shared content from YouTube or wherever, and far less of the social life organisation/updates that used to be pretty prominent. It feels somewhat subdued I guess and far slower - somewhat less relevant. It is however, immeasurably more pleasant to use. That could be in part to my less all-inclusive friends list.
How much value I really get from it is hard to judge. I don't actually interact with people much. That may be a result of just being more selective and not feeling the same pressure to involve myself that there was in Facebook's earlier days. I have been pretty involved in a select number of discussions and one or two groups; perhaps it's a matter of quality over quantity, with my time being better spent.
I'll be hanging around for a while, at least until I can really answer the question of whether there's much benefit to my participation. I think that integration into the App Store on iOS could be a big deal for app discovery, which is something I'd like to see play out. With a number of friends moving out of the city in the next few months, it's likely to become a more important social tool. Time will tell.