I first joined Facebook when I ran into a friend I hadn't seen for ages and she asked me why I wasn't on it. When I first saw joined I enjoyed catching up with friends I hadn't heard from in years and keeping up to date with family members scattered across the country. It was a quick and easy way to keep in touch with family and friends.
And then someone sent me an invitation to join Farmville. It seemed harmless enough at first -you build a virtual farm with animals, crops, trees, etc. to earn “coins” that you can use to get more animals, crops, trees, etc. I fooled around with it at first but didn't spend a lot of time on it and was a bit puzzled by family members who spent hours tending their crops. I didn't have a lot of Farmville neighbors so I was a little stuck in building my farm.
And then I started getting more and more invitations to be a Farmville neighbor. People started to send me gifts so of course I had to send gifts back. Then I started looking closer at my farm to see where I could place those gifts. I realized that with more neighbors I could upgrade my farm and with the larger farm I started planting crops, timing when they'd be ready so I could grow some more. I started decorating my farm, putting up a white picket fence, bought a tractor, harvester, and seeder to aid me in planting my crops and figuring out ways to get more fuel and neighbors. I was hooked!
To be sure Farmville isn't perfect (I'm not talking about the issues with Zynga the company that created Farmville – that’s another story for another time). It is far too busy - besides planting crops and accumulating “coins”, you can get ribbons for achieving certain tasks (like adopting farm animals); there are certain collectibles to be found while working on the farm; there is fuel to find; you get experience points and coins for helping a neighbor's farm; you have a stable to build (and more recently a mansion); there are various items offered at different times for only a short period of time. In addition there are the holiday promotions: at Christmas time you could send virtual presents to your friends that contained items like trees, animals, fuel; for Valentine’s Day you could send Valentines; for St. Patrick's Day, you could send “gold” - if you collect enough of any of these you can turn them in for more items for your farm. All of this is fun, but frustrating when you need 50 items for your stable, for example, and are getting gold instead.
“Farmville” is an addicting Facebook game that can easily eat up hours of your time. I'd write more but my crops are ready!