I don't understand the logic that NS shouldn't move toward Facebook. Like it or not, the Internet as a whole is moving toward Facebook. And Newschoolers lacks the social networking and sharing tools that companies like Facebook and Twitter excel with.
Here's what I'd do to integrate social networking more deeply into NS.
*Link your Facebook account with your NS account using Facebook Connect. The comments system for videos, photos, and news/blog articles would move gradually toward the Facebook system. When you make a comment/post a photo/post a video/etc. on NS (not Forum replies), that would show up automatically in your Facebook feed (with appropriate user settings, of course). The Forums would continue along as they are, account-wise.
*"Share" buttons everywhere. Threads, comments, photos, videos, blogs, etc. Click the button to effortlessly post the item to Facebook. With appropriate user settings, of course.
*Newschoolers Notifications. These don't have to be ridiculous. Include appropriate user settings allowing people to specify for what types of things they want to receive notifications. Give options for everything from Thread replies (perfect for B/S/T) to Video/Photo comments, to Event invites, "Friend" adds, to PMs. And you could go further if you wanted to. Adopt the Facebook model. That is, give people total control over what they receive notifications for. And don't give excess notifications. 30 replies to a thread? Not 30 notifications--one will suffice. This can be done pretty reasonably without being annoying or irritating.
To be honest, if you don't like Facebook, then you shouldn't like NS, because it is, at its core, a social networking site. Not to mention the Web is headed toward Facebook more broadly. Like it or not, it's a trend that NS is going to have to consider as it moves into this decade.
And with a new parent company, Notifications are no longer something totally out of reach or unrealistic. Make it happen.
Formerly known as "ski.the.selkirks," "selkirks" is proud to be a WDFY/IDFY member. For more information about WDFY/IDFY, and to find out how to sign up, visit this link: http://bit.ly/11Zhyx