Facebook? More like Assbook
Let’s say, for entertainment’s sake, Facebook is going to be the next Microsoft, or the next Google. Let’s forget about the fact that, with 50 million fewer monthly visits, it’s not even close to being the next MySpace, and that 23-year-old Mark Zuckerberg is embroiled in what could turn out to be a steaming pile of legal crap over potential copyright infringements after he very much appeared to rip off the ConnectU idea he was paid to help execute. Let’s put that aside and agree with uber-blogger Robert Scoble that Facebook is worth all the geek love it’s getting right now and that a rumoured price-tag of US$6 billion or an IPO aren’t to be scoffed at.
And then let’s ask why.
I mean, what is it about Facebook that you couldn’t live without?
So it now offers a much-lauded platform for third-party developers to ply their applications. Good for the developers — it’s an instant user-base of potentially millions, and a great way to generate exposure and, possibly, a lot of cash. But, really, as far as the end-user goes, it’s so far, so shitty. Now I can see what songs people are currently listening to, and I can buy them on-the-spot. Or I can find out what they think of films they’ve recently seen. Or, if I really gave a shit, I can find out where some of the lucky, and gloating, bastards have travelled. Or, I can get a ‘fortune cookie’ that dispenses algorithmically-determined wisdoms on a daily basis, enlightening me none and crowding up what I’m proudly nurturing as a minimalist space.
Some of that’s fun. But I can live without it.
What else about Facebook? The poke? The poke is about the most useless thing ever invented. So I click a button that results in a auto-generated message being sent to a friend. It means nothing, it results in nothing, and it engenders feelings of nothingness.
I can live without that.
Facebook email? What’s the point of sending a friend an email that then triggers an email sent to an actual email account where said friend can click on a link that leads to the original email? That’s two more steps than necessary and further fragmentation of my online communications that I can live without.
The wall? Short, impersonal messages that have to be so benign that they can safely be read by all my listed ‘friends’? Someone point me to the good in that.
Now, the shared photos and the tagging is something I like, and it’s a great way to see what friends have been up to. I also love being able to re-connect with old friends, who, while once happy enough to drop correspondence for a long period of non-contact, are all-of-a-sudden gung-ho for communicating through the novelty of Facebook. That’ll wear off.
I can also live without the increasing blurring of the line between my personal friends and my professional contacts that Facebook is facilitating. The word “friends” in this case is wafty to say the least. And don’t let me forget to add that Facebook’s ads — which have abysmal click-through-rates — represent the worst kind of internet ads: ones that aren’t contextual or relevant but are ugly.
For the time-being I still like Facebook. It’s still a novelty. The photos are great. I’ll hang around for a while just to see my friend-count go up (in tandem with my ego), and to see what the next big moves are. But if someone were to tell me tomorrow that I have to close my account immediately, I wouldn’t be sad for long.
On the other hand, if someone were to take search away from me, or my Google Maps, or Google News, or YouTube, or… well… the internet wouldn’t quite be the internet, would it? And I couldn’t live without that.
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