Tag Archives: facebook

Don’t all go away at once


According to statistics from Inside Facebook Gold analytics service … new Facebook users totaled 11.8 million people in May — an impressive number by any stretch of the imagination. But that compares to the 13.9 million who joined in April, and an average of about 20 million in the 12 months prior.

This drop is primarily due to a plunge in registered users in the US. The number of US Facebook users fell from 155.2 million to 149.4 million during the month of May alone. That’s nearly 6 million people who decided they no longer need to stay connected through the service, and is the first time Facebook has lost users in the last year.

Only 149.4 million more to go!

I’m not holding my breath. But I am holding out for the next wave: MyBrainSpaceBook. When someone even so much as thinks of me, I want it to be tagged and I wanna be notified via NeuralPoke technology.


If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest, behind only China and India. It started out as a lark, a diversion, but it has turned into something real, something that has changed the way human beings relate to one another on a species-wide scale. We are now running our social lives through a for-profit network that, on paper at least, has made Zuckerberg a billionaire six times over.

Dude, make that man Person of the Year.

Anyway, the phenomenon has me thinking of Killing Joke songs (of course), which are often filled with global apocalyptic paranoia that’s good for a thought and a laugh. This time I was struck by a funny thought: What if the unseen conspiratorial forces Jaz sings about turned out to be not the shadow government, not the oil barons or the bankers, but…the Facebook!

World population mass has reached the critical
Humanity shall function as a single cell
Machines design and clone a different race of man
Who is the architect, who is the hidden hand?

~Here Comes the Singularity

The Facebook! Facebook’s the hidden hand!

While the shadow governments are busy spending billions on their military industrial complex to carry out 007-style plots, they will be blindsided by an awkward global army of Facebookers playing Farmville, having pillow fights, and destroying human spirit with repeated (and sponsored) pokes! Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh…the true killing joke!

Oh, please make it stop

A kick-ass review of a film I don’t want to see about a network I don’t want to know describes the crux of the matter like this:

His opacity leads to an irony that’s not quite tragic but, in light of how many of us share it, still plenty sad. Zuckerberg and his employees spend enormous time and energy trying to make people connect to each other via their online social network, but they’ve got the situation backward.

The route to a happy life, let alone a meaningful one, doesn’t lie in escaping loneliness. As Wilder tried to tell his audience, it is an inescapable part of living in a country as big and free and unencumbered as this one. (See also the testimony of Hank Williams Sr., Billie Holiday, Edward Hopper, Bessie Smith.) The trick for us, and for the people around the world living as we do, lies in using our loneliness.

Wilder stated the challenge best and for all time when he described “the typical American battle of trying to convert a loneliness into an enriched and fruitful solitude.” Like the Berglunds—or another touchstone of contemporary culture, Don Draper—these characters can’t get along with each other because they haven’t learned to get along with, and don’t even really know, themselves.

I am foolish for thinking this, but I hope the making of a meta-movie about the founding of the meta-“friend” network signals that network’s peak as a cultural phenomenon, it’s final bright flash as an “It” topic before it follows the many MySpace’s that came before it by becoming just another medium — and not The Medium, über alles.

(Oh, how  it really kills me that it’s said to be a good movie!)

Here is meta-irony: To promote the movie about the world’s biggest network of friends who aren’t friends, they pitched other social networks and made a trailer using a remake (a good, haunting choral remake, I must admit) of a song by the world’s most famous band that didn’t want to be famous, using the uncharacteristic single that first made them famous, the single they didn’t actually like to play.

[No one — and I mean NO ONE — captured the “Creep” phenomenon better than Beavis & Butthead in their hilarious bit.]

Better yet, the trailer version uses the cleansed adverb “so very” (instead of the original “so fucking” [special]), which is exactly the bit of nod-to-Wal-Mart censorship that enabled that single so much airplay in the first place, a perfect dose of homogenization for a movie about a network that homogenizes human relationships.

I’m not a total ass: I don’t mind Facebook itself or all my friends who use it. I just mind how so many people choose to use it (feeding its dominance in the process), bleeding real-life relationships into the kind of self-promotion and use-you relationships that make one turn away from people in the first place. And working in a time and place where FB is the latest “powerful” phenomenon that MUST be utilized, I get well over my nauseating fill of just how people, um, utilize it.

It’s possible I just like the “loneliness” (used with positive connotation) too much to stomach a world where “friends” are coming out of the woodwork in every waking moment, including your smartphone-connected walk between the car and the store. But when I see the way so many people spam these networks with fleeting pleas for attention, I get the feeling that — like that review says — they are desperately trying to escape the loneliness rather than first try to know themselves.

Social media’s TMI generator

First, quickly: Damn, Facebook is teh awesome: The things people will say when they don’t realize the company’s privacy settings require constant monitoring like the water run-off that’s eating at your foundation. [That link picks a different potentially revealing search term each time you hit it. My god there are some brilliant ones … “cheated” … “skipped work”… and “my vibrator,” naturally. ]

*  *  *

Not related, but sort of related…

It’s the same every time: Whenever the newest Next Big Social Media Thing comes around, I hear about it first in passing references on a tech blog or through a Twitter-addict who claims to be a social media expert with expertise we just cannot live without. Then it pops up in a random mainstream media or pop culture context. Eventually, I click around to find out more so that I can “know” about it for my job.

Sometimes they fade away, sometimes they stick around. Always, I find them to be of little use to my born-a-52-year-old-man needs.

But I need to know, because the people we try to reach in my job use these things. (It is really weird to understand social media more than the older people in my office, yet be less inclined to personally use the new media than they are. “I heard this from Allysa Milano’s Twitter,” I’ve been told a time or two by a woman who remembers Eisenhower.)

My problem isn’t some anti-technology stance; rather, it’s my contentment: I’m curious, I want to learn stuff and try new things, I want to explore this fine world, but I’m pretty damn content with the existing avenues to doing so. Those existing routes do not require a service fee, a plan upgrade, or 300 more virtual friends.

Witness Foursquare (oh wait, I’m sorry: It’s “foursquare” — it must be lowercased even at the beginning of sentences, ’cause that’s cuter. even n 2010 lol.):

What is foursquare?

foursquare is a cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things.

Oh god-no-run! Run!