Friday, October 30, 2020

Musings on Facebook

Facebook is going to cancel their notes feature, which is where some of you read these postings of mine. The 250 or so notes I have posted here will remain, but if I want to post my writing on Facebook in the future, I'll have to copy them into Facebook posts ("What's on your mind, Rick?"), or post a link to my BLOG.

This update from Facebook had me thinking about how different things were before Facebook. Back then, in order for people to share their thoughts they'd have to post on specialty websites, or post on pre-browser communities like email lists, IRC or even USENET. In the end, the mass audience ended up on Facebook. And everyone wants the audience.

Mark Zuckerberg succeeded in making the web a lot more relatable, by creating a platform that was so easy to use that practically everyone I know in my immediate and extended family is on it. I was naive back in the 1990s, thinking that everyone would have their own websites, and people would largely communicate by email or through links.

I remember a co-worker in the early 2000s complaining that he'd have to get on Facebook eventually, because he kept missing out on party invitations. I did a quick check and sure enough he's on Facebook. Eventually, people succumb to the network effect: the more people on a network, the more useful the network. Facebook has become a mandatory online destination.

I do admire people who have managed to stay off of Facebook, despite its wide reach. One of my favorite pieces of writing is Steve Pavlina's 30-day Facebook fast. It's worth reading for its reminder that Facebook isn't everything: cultivate and cherish your real relationships, your real experiences.

All that said, I'm still on Facebook, perhaps now a bit more begrudgingly.

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