I spent an hour today browsing Facebook.
I looked at posts, pictures, links, etc. of friends and friends of those folks.
Facebook is starting to become noisy, and I don’t like it.
MySpace was just so much noise. Retina-burning profile graphics and music blasting you with every open of a profile page.
We don’t have that kind of noise with FB, but the quality of the conversation seems to be
Lots of cats.
Loads of wanna-be meme thumbnails.
Casual games everywhere, featuring imbecilic logos and spammy suggestions to join the “fun”.
I looked for true connections, and I indeed found some.
My friend Andy’s wife just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
Stacy is going to run San Francisco’s KBLX-FM. She’s back in the business, and the business is better with her in it.
Many parents posted pictures of their children. Cute pictures.
(I noticed that parents often completely stop posting pictures of themselves, preferring almost 100% profile pics of their offspring. I find that extremely interesting. I have to ask – when did you stop being you?)
I looked at my profile, measured the narcissism level, and decided I was of average self-indulgence. Perhaps you would disagree.
There is some connection, but it’s getting thinner, hype-loaded, more sugary and completely superficial.
Take a peek at this infographic from Mashable:
We talk less, so we have less to say.
There have been any number of social site startups that have flopped, sites that were perhaps “better” than Facebook, but their doom was pretty easy to predict. We have made Facebook the spine of our internet experience. We login by clicking that logo instead of a user name and password, because it’s frictionless. If you were to map your connections, and look at that picture, you’d be astonished how far and wide your name and likeness is splattered across the Web. This idea of frictionless sharing is starting to annoy some of us. Does everyone need to know everything always?
The prospect of “starting over” seems so daunting. We all signed up for Google Plus, but we don’t yet use it like we do Facebook. This may change, and G+ has plenty of potential daily users, and they are still getting gazillions of folks signing up.
We seek connections with people, but we simultaneously hide from them, launching words from a tablet, but remaining distant.
I believe that within five years, Facebook will be relegated to the same dustbin of history that its predecessors did. When the noise overwhelms the dialog, we’ll just stop looking. Facebook is a very mature brand, and disruptive technologies are shortening major companies’ life cycles. It’s supposed to happen.
What’s next, then?
How can we connect, have meaningful conversations, share stories and pictures without a) being hustled by annoying ads, b) having interlopers wreck the conversation string with earnest inanities and c) look forward to checking in often?
I know one way -meeting for coffee.
But someone, perhaps you, is plotting the next way to genuinely digitally connect, sans noise.
The next way to be “social” may be to simply pay for it every month.
When we invest in something that way, our discrimination level rises exponentially.