Has Facebook Jumped the Shark for Adults, Too?

After looking at the past few days' worth of activity, I'm wondering whether Facebook has outlived its usefulness. I like letting people I haven't  met yet "friend" me, because most of the time they end up being fans of my column or of other things I've written and they just want to get to know me.  I always look to see if we have friends in common before I accept friend requests, because it's usually a good indicator if they're friends with Masha Geller, Mark Naples, Jim Meskauskas or other folks who write about the space.  Increasingly, I'm finding out that a few of the people I thought were casual fans are actually multilevel marketers and spammers who infiltrate friend networks a few levels deep and then start sending out wall spam and private messages about MLM Work from Home opportunities or whatnot.  So today when I get back from client meetings I'm going to have to de-friend a bunch of people.

Then there are the friend whores.  Most of them are just people who have no lives outside social networks, and you run into them in almost every social network.  They wear their number of friends like a badge and pretend that they actually have relationships with everyone in their network.  You look back at your interactions with these people and find out it's all artificial.  Or worse, creepy.  I've got a couple of people to de-friend that have done nothing but send me mail trying to get me to join their tangentially-related groups, or they've done weird stuff like dedicate strange songs to me on iLike.

I'm thinking a lot about the ways apps propagate through Facebook, too.  And I think that there's an unhealthy concentration on the numbers, kind of like there are a bunch of apps out there that weren't built to extend functionality, but to address the viral effect as an end unto itself.  So you get all these apps that go ahead and message everyone on your contact list without your permission, or try to trick you into spreading it to all your friends.  I guess app developers and the companies that underwrite them don't understand that once this flurry of useless apps becomes too burdensome, people are going to flee from Facebook in droves.

Facebook's January uniques are down, and I don't think that's just a continuation of the greying of social networks.  I think people are tired of maintaining their accounts, seeing as how the signal to noise ratio has decreased quite a bit.  Ask yourself this: What percentage of your requests have been declining useless apps?  Declining unknown "Friends?"  Clearing out spammy FunWall posts?