Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Death of Facebook?

I've just discovered It seems worthy of the occasional look.

One article that caught my attention is entitled The Death of Facebook. You can read it here. It begins with some thoughts - critical - about the Facebook '25 Random Things' phenomenon (I admit that I hadn't heard of it before) and goes on to pan social networking facilities, specifically Facebook and Twitter.

Would love to know what you think of the article, especially if you're on Facebook.

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Jon Sumner said...

Interesting stuff! Yes, the 25 random things is actually pretty narcissistic (which explains why at one point I thought of filling it in myself, ha ha!) My own personal inkling is that the whole Facebook/social networking tsunami is a product, rather than a cause, of our increasingly lonely society. People feel like they are uninteresting, or ugly, or shy, or any of the other labels we put on people we don't think resemble ourselves (and let's face it- half the time the reason we like people is because they remind us of ourselves) but the online world is one where people can be whatever they want to be, as we all know. Hence I can pretend to be an intelligent human being instead of a poor excuse for a teacher! Another thing about Facebook is people who had left our lives (either through moving on or just bad relationships) can catch up with us, even if we don't want that. So for example, a kid who was bullied at school ten years previously and has moved on can find himself receiving "friend requests" from the people who he was happy to no longer know. But aside from all the indications of an insular, self-obsessed society, I think Facebook is ultimately a really addictive way to kill time that should be used in a better way (I'm very guilty of this at work)! Notice that most Facebooking happens during the week, when people are skiving off doing any work... check Facebook at the weekend and it's like a ghost town. On the other hand, let's hear it for a website which actually tells people how many friends you have! Talk about unhealthy competetion!

Jon Sumner said...

Also, (I promise to stop in a minute), it would be interesting to log the amount of time that we spend online doing non-essential stuff (like most Facebook activity) compared to how much time we used to spend watching TV before the internet got going. My own inkling is that the internet is far more addictive and time-eating than TV ever was (since we can use it for whatever we want), but would be interesting to find out.

James said...

Thanks Jon. Your comments are full of perceptive insights. I am sure that Facebook et al reveal a lot about the way we live now and that they are an effect of that rather than a cause. Although my posts might have sounded a bit critical, I don't think these sites are a bad thing. I suppose we can invest too much time and importance in them and then they will fail to serve purposes for which they were never created and never could fulfil. I am sure St. Augustine would say something along the lines that the problem is not the sites themselves but that people love them (or themsleves?) too much and turn them into idols!

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I don't think it is going to happen in the near future.