Ahh, Facebook. What’s happened to you? You had such a bright future. You’re like the Macaulay Culkin of social networks, such a promising outlook but for some reason went on a life-long binge.
We all know there are some rather unsavory groups of the human race out there, but somehow Facebook attracts more than usual. Sort of like Applebees. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people love “the book”, and I am glad they found something useful – simple enough that even your mother could do it. But on the real, most Facebook content goes something like this:
…and that’s fine. But in general, Facebook makes me wonder if Idiocracy is actually a documentary – not a comedy. Admittedly, I do have a Facebook account to keep track of friends from high school and beyond, and log in every few weeks to see what they’re up to. My account is not registered with my real name, and I have no “likes,” and is not connected to any of my “real” accounts due to data collection concerns. And thus, I think many of you share these two common drawbacks of Facebook: low quality goings-on, and lingering questions about data collection.
But that’s ok. We don’t need Facebook. It tries to be everything to everyone, and as a consequence does not do any one thing very well. Which is why I am so thankful for every other social network/utility. Imagine if you will, your social identity on the internet is like a car. Some people buy cars that just fit in with everyone else’s, with all the standard bells and whistles. This is Facebook.
In contrast, by piecing together your social identity only through the specific media you want (and excluding those you don’t), it feels more authentic and without waste. In our analogy, this is like customizing your car, building it from the ground up. Some might have similar bases, but no two are alike. You want to share photos? Make an Instagram account and throw on some 20″ rims. You want to share your thoughts with anyone that has ears? Create a Twitter account and install a bangin’ stereo. Have a knack for traveling and visiting to new places? Create a Foursquare account and slap on another bumper sticker.
By dividing the media into separate networks, you can connect with different people according to the method by which they like to share. Not only can you avoid seemingly pointless status updates, but also save yourself from the shotgun-blasts of wide ranging topics and media. So don’t worry that you never want to use Facebook again. If what you have to say is truly interesting and worth while, your message will survive without it.
With that said, here’s the part where I double back on myself. As an internet marketer, Facebook is where the action is. Everyone and their mother (literally) has an account, and provides such ridiculous capability to target ads it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. The data collection which I despise is also the data collection I love. Call me hypocritical, but its true. I had a college roommate who worked at a fast-food restaurant, and after only a few days on the job, swore to never eat fast food again. His weekly paycheck was the result of people participating in something which he himself would never do. In the same regard, Facebook brings home the bacon, but I sure has hell won’t eat it myself.