I don’t get it! What makes those social media stupidness so appealing to so many people and even established companies? I was on Facebook (and a few localized clones) for some time. The reason: checking what everyone whom I used to know is actually doing … OK I checked that and it exited me for around a week or so. One or two moments of: wow I have never thought that she/he could do this. Sharing some delightful moments – the birth of my first child for example – felt somewhat … right. That were the positive things I recall.
Afterwards followed a long period of not looking at it. Introduced with a few weeks of decreasing interest in what else you can do there. Then Facebook began with this stupid games, where you could post “things”, that you actually did in the game, and get rewards when the receiver responds to this or enters the game or something. I never played games there, so I don’t exactly know. That was the point were it began to annoy me and shortly after I removed my Facebook account. Deep delete … I hope they really did it. I can understand, to some extent, why companies engage Facebook. After all their customers are there und you get a quite decent platform for almost free viral marketing and some more public relation and marketing tricks.
But why is the user base that large and so engaged? I even personally know people that are actually posting almost every step they are doing during the day. Is it simply that they are on a mission to spoil the world with their meaningless everyday actions? I asked them! But I couldn’t discern any, close to logical and even not an emotional explanation, at least that I could follow.
Maybe I’m too humble. I think I don’t have to say anything that anybody that I know must hear. You might say: “Hey, why are you writing this blog”. But that is a different story. Nobody I knew through Facebook would be interested in the things I wrote here so far. And even if they were, they could google this blog up on demand. Even if it is not on the first page, when you really try to find some in-depth information, you look at more than the first goole search page.
I wouldn’t have started to write if some of my colleagues, I consulted during my keyboard project, didn’t “force” me to write it down. Their reason: maybe someone else is trying to do the same. Making things accessible that I have done and problems I have encountered might help them along the way. Furthermore I write because I think it is an important skill in the IT business. And to become good at it, you have to practice. Wooaaah, what an exhausting workout …
Back to the topic. The last weekend I stumbled over the film “The Social Network”. It was on TV and because of the advertisement breaks I didn’t see it completely and even missed the last ca. 20 minutes. You get some explanations of why Facebook is working like it is. But you also get the impression that everyone – of coures, with the exception of Mark Zuckerberg, but that is hollywood-nerd-hero-pathos – is overwhelmed by how well Facebook is received by the users.
Psychologically it might be, that the essential embodied urge everybody (consciously or not) has, to give their live some meaning and to leave their traces in the ground, is the reason. Facebook might look like a cheap and easy way to achieve that. The almost instant feedback you receive from “friends” might even further encourage you. But what is the outcome, the purpose? Maybe one shouldn’t ask that question.
The title suggests that this post is about Twitter, too. And it is: You can apply almost everything that is true for Facebook evenly to Twitter. They will become essentially the same, they only begun from opposite directions. Twitter begun with meaningless chatter. Facebook with personal information. Now either moves in the direction of the other. I never used Twitter, so I don’t really know what else they are offering. But I often ask myself: how much time active twitterer (is that the right term?) spend on tweeting that could be spent much more productive?
I must admit I’m not completely out of the social stuff. I do have a Google+ account. The reason: they are not bothering me and my wife loves to share photos this way with our geographically spread family.