Ever feel like the Internet has become void of significant social dialog?

That would be because you are correct. And by “the Internet” I mean “Facebook.”

It’s not so much a social networking site as it is a tool built for pushing (and absorbing) corporate media.

For one, if you’d like to network and actually try to get to know someone, you need to check out their profile. However, there you’ll find absolutely nothing about who they are unless you click their Info tab and then scroll through hundreds of “Liked” products to get to the very bottom of the page. If you’re lucky, the person has actually filled out the information down there (though I don’t know why they would–no one goes there).

Facebook once allowed you to put a few lines of text off to the left where you could tell people about yourself but they’ve taken that away, too. Apparently a few lines of text pointing Web surfers to someone’s Web site (where they can actually talk about themselves) were cutting too far into Facebook’s success at directing people toward merchandise.

Of course, if you’re on Facebook, chances are you’re not looking at people’s profiles. You’re staring at something called a “Feed” (an obviously insulting term by the way).

The Feed is a mechanism for Facebook to decide who you get to pay attention to. Forget it if you absolutely love every status update your friend Happy McSlapperstein posts. Facebook will show you a few of those and mix them with a side of irrelevance. And if you don’t keep “Liking” Happy’s posts, then three months later, you’ll wonder if Happy is dead because you haven’t seen any new posts from your dear friend lately (a quick study of their Wall will reveal they have always been there doing their thing; Facebook has just decided you don’t like them enough).

It doesn’t really matter, though, that you never see Happy’s posts, because even if you had seen one, and commented on it, and developed a quick witty banter with Happy, and eventually solved the world’s energy crisis, it wouldn’t matter. After a few hours, that post disappears into the ether, never to be seen by a human soul ever again.

Status updates aren’t searchable or archived in any useful way, so they’re essentially a new form of a mandala sand painting. Go ahead and have a meaningful conversation there, but it will be gone in hours. Then, you’ll just have to rely on your memory to carry the development of all human knowledge, just like people did before literacy caught on. With Facebook, you get to relive the dark ages…online!

So…how does Facebook or the next big social networking site (Google+ perhaps?) resolve these issues?


  • Give users more control over the presentation of their profile.
  • Give users the ability to create user-created content that is visible (or even dominant) from their profile.
  • Encourage dialog that can be referenced and expanded on (such as through blogs or prominent forums).
  • Give users control over who they want to pay attention to (through blog subscriptions or other mechanisms).

Wait a minute…I’ve just described the formula for MySpace around the year 2006.

And that’s not a mistake, because truthfully MySpace was a powerful and successful social networking site. Remember when people were all excited about user-generated content and about people of all types having increasingly powerful voices on the Internet? That was because of MySpace.

MySpace was a true social networking site, and a game changer. Facebook has delivered the game back to the corporations.

Look at it this way: People ended up meeting other people through MySpace. In contrast, Facebook is a site where people go to friend each other after they already know each other in real life.

Vital statistics:

People I’ve met through MySpace before meeting in person: 46.

People I’ve met through Facebook before meeting in person: 9.

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AARON DIETZ is the author of Super, a novel from Emergency Press about commitment, crisis, paperwork, and heartbreak. Dietz's super powers include a high metabolism and the ability to put things back where he got them. He's also pretty good at math. As an instructional designer, Dietz has written online high school courses on computer programming, green design, and 3-D video game creation. It’s natural for him to write quizzes. He’s worked a decade in libraries. He’s also been paid to count traffic and once failed a personality test. Dietz writes for TheNervousBreakdown.com, blogs at aarondietz.us, and is an advisory editor of KNOCK Magazine.

64 responses to “Facebook Is Dumb”

  1. Jeffro says:

    Facebook sucks balls. I deleted my account in November for a variety of reasons, mainly because of timesuck. I hope Google+ destroys Facebook. I also hope people will spend less time on social networking and more time being social… in real life. I remember a world before Excite chatrooms, AIM, Geocities, cellphones, MySpace, and Facebook — and it was wonderful. It was called the mid 1990’s.

    • Aaron Dietz says:

      Congratulations on deleting the timesuck account, Jeffro! I haven’t been willing, primarily because I keep holding on to the idea that it can be used to promote my writing, despite very little actual evidence that supports that.

      I would agree that the world before all those online tools became available was wonderful except for the fact that I had to use the phone all the time, which I abhor…. For me it was a constant socially awkward thorn in my side, though I didn’t know it until not using the phone actually became an option.

      • Jeffro says:

        I hear you. Promoting my writing was the crutch I leaned on in keeping Facebook for as long as I did (I was part of the first wave in 2004). My decision to delete (not deactivate but delete) grew out of the cons outweighing the pros, and quite literally the prose as well. I don’t consider myself an accomplished writer. I don’t have a book already out or soon coming out to promote. You, on the other hand, do with Super already under your belt. I want to taste that success, that feeling of accomplishment; and in order to do so I got rid of many things in my life I felt were in the way of achieving that end — technological in nature or not. I’m actually writing my first novel by hand in a notebook and using the Internet the way I predominantly used it five or ten years ago — for research.

        I’m not against social networking or technology by any means. (Heck, if Brad Listi hadn’t friended me on MySpace in 2005/6, I probably wouldn’t know about TNB or have read some of the books by writers here). But I needed a break. Deleting Facebook and Twitter, for me, was an exercise in liberation as a writer. And I’m with you on the phone. I hate phones too. If my wife would let me get rid of my cell phone, I would. Paying that monthly bill kills me. Hopefully, I’ll be on Google+ in a few years promoting my new novel that defines a generation. Or not. I might still be writing in my notebook.

        • Aaron Dietz says:

          Sometimes I fantasize about cutting myself off from the Internet to write the next novel. But…I also picture an island. I’m waiting for the island.

          I’m happy to hear of your liberation. Go with it. And rock out that book. I look forward to reading it.

  2. Becky Palapala says:

    I’d say among all the hullabaloo about privacy and Zuckerberg maybe being the antichrist and all that, what pisses me off the most about facebook is its hubris in declaring “personalization” and other words generally meant to indicate it is a celebrator and facilitator of individuality and/or agency while it simultaneously acts in ways that are nothing other than hostile to user empowerment & prerogative.

    Facebook’s deciding who you want to hear from represents only a tiny fraction of the ways in which it crafts an alternate reality for people via “filter bubbles.”

    But Google does it too. At least the search engine does.

    It is, indeed, tailored to the individual, but it’s tailored to a sort of caricature of any given individual. And it’s self-perpetuating. It encourages, I think, a person to become that individual when his/her clicks on alread-tailored information begin to reinforce the algorithms, leading to a kind of slippery slope of ignorance and provincialism. Part of me wonders to what degree this makes the internet a contributor to cultural and ideological entrenchment rather than, as is conventionally held, a broadener of minds, but that’s a whole other conversation.

    It’s a fascinating study in perception, anyway. I could talk about it all day.

    There’s a fairly tidy TED vid about it that I found fascinating. Good brain fodder.


    That is my long answer.

    My short answer:

    Yeah. Facebook sucks. I’m excited for us to all move on to the next thing.

    • Aaron Dietz says:

      I love that TED talk! And you’re right – the phenomena so significant. “Number 1 on Google” doesn’t even mean anything anymore. At the very least, the system should be more transparent and give you more obvious ways to exclude yourself from the filtering (like, I’d love an option I could click to search without my personalized filters without logging out–of course this should also exclude the filters that come in to play because of my OS, IP address, etc. It would be nice to have control over all of those!).

      I remember reading a few articles a while back about how the Internet encouraged extremism just because extremists could camp out in online areas where people actually shared their views, and so they wouldn’t be exposed to any other ideas. And now with obsessive filtering going on those characteristics are implemented. And then there’s always the corporations and even agencies of governments that are actually paying people to go and pretend to be extremists, which just blows my mind.

      The world of the Internet – it has a lot of promise, but every inch of promise has to be defended like heck.

      • Becky Palapala says:

        But it’s not even like you have to be an extremist or even interested in actively camping out away from competing or challenging ideologies (though most people, at some basic level, ARE interested in being free of that kind of cognitive dissonance and internet or not, prefer–and work–to be surrounded by people and ideas that affirm their existing beliefs).

        Even if you are not “camping out” anywhere, this algorithmic filtering will cause a camp to just sort of spring up around you wherever you go. A bubble of your own consciousness–or a bullet-point summary of your consciousness–following you all over the internet.

        People get cocky when they start to confuse their perceptions with reality. There gets to be a mentality of obviation–it is as plain as day, it seems to them from everything they’re reading and seeing, that their opinion is not only the prevailing one but the verifiably correct one. The problem is, of course, that the relentless flood of information confirming their beliefs so overwhelmingly to them is, at least in the case of the internet, visible only to them.

        Just this incredible echo chamber that we have to take extremely deliberate steps to wrest our brains and perceptions from, and for the most part, for most people, just as a function of human nature, the motivation isn’t there to bother.

        Messed. Up.

        The internet is messed up.

        • Aaron Dietz says:

          A “bubble of my own consciousness” – I can’t think of anything worse!

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Kind of redundant, I guess.

          We are all, I suppose, walking around in a bubble of our own consciousness, internet or no.

          But you get what I mean.

          I’m kind of curious what the bulletpoint list of my consciousness looks like.

          I want to “ask an algorithm.”

        • Aaron Dietz says:

          Mine is probably like:

          * Numbers are cool.
          * Stuff I gotta do today.
          * Food.
          * Sex.

          Yes, Google. I am that simple. I will get bored of me soon so stop it with the intense no-opting-out filtering. Thanks!

  3. I”d like this piece, and I would in fact share this piece on my page, if doing so didn’t seem to fly in the face of the piece itself. It is a dilemmathompson of epic proportions.

  4. Caleb Powell says:

    I agree, Aaron, but, as I told my dad, use Facebook, don’t let Facebook use you. I have reconnected with lost acquaintances, and attended writer happenings in Seattle, say at Hugo House, or even your Elliot Bay reading, hearing about them because of a Facebook invite. There are negatives to media/internet/Facebook, but it’s the individual user who can take advantage of the positives or let themself be swallowed up by the negatives.

    Facebook is way overvalued, and I’m not too savvy on IPO’s and market worth, but I suspect there will be new media in town. It may be overrated, and there are annoying aspects. Still, it’s got some neat apps.

    Becky: Yeah, there’s a messed up side. Still, I mean, here we are using the Internet, I’d like to think we’re enjoying it. That ain’t so messed up, is it?

    • Aaron Dietz says:

      Well put, Caleb. I try to think of it that way – Facebook, as a tool to be used. And I think I’m okay with that except that I see others getting sucked in. It’s like watching kids hop into vans without any hope of actually getting the candy.

      So yeah, sadly, I worry about the others. Especially since I know they vote sometimes and can have an impact on me.

  5. Bryan Fuhr says:

    Great rant. Reminds me of Jaron Lanier’s point of view. We are not gadgets. We should not behave like them. Nor should we let our software treat us like them. Thanks for sharing.

  6. dwoz says:

    It’s interesting to note that Facebook is a billion-dollar company now.

    Why that matters? Because when you look at the Facebook user page, it’s most definitely not a billion-dollar resource.

    In fact, it more resembles a poor-stepchild…tired boring layout…minimal functionality…byzantine user experience/user data management…barely functional.

    So, then what’s up with that? Basically, that the actual user experience has rather minimal relevance to Facebook.

    But even on the back-end, there is very little to “like” for the corporate informatics purchaser.

    It’s not the premier social site because it’s good, for any definition of good. It’s premier merely because it lacks credible competition.

    • Aaron Dietz says:

      I’m often curious about how much of their ad revenue is working for the companies that pay to advertise there. Seems like there are a lot of people experimenting with it, but a smaller percentage (of course) are actually seeing measurable returns from it. I’d be curious to know if Facebook is essentially surviving off of the experimenters.

      Love your company value / value of the resource comparison!

      • Darien says:

        As someone who has spent cash on Facebook ads in the past, I can attest to both its value to advertisers in ROI terms, AND it’s value as a platform for rapid experimentation on ad messaging. I’ve been able to A/B test two dozen different versions of my ads in a span of a day or two and whittle that messaging down to its most effective core.

        Also, I think everyone in this discussion has neglected FB’s value as a viral distribution platform, and you’re forgetting about their move into the virtual currency space. With regard to distribution — because FB built itself on the real-world identity of its users, it has been able to realize network effects that MySpace never could have. Count how many of the services you use now include Facebook Connect, and you’ll quickly realize that Facebook has become a utility.

        Love it or hate it, Facebook is the new electricity.

        If search data built Google to a sustainable $170+ billion market cap, the social data that Facebook is sitting on is definitely going to be able to sustain (and exceed) their present $100+ billion implied valuation.

        There are definitely inflated valuations in consumer tech right now — Facebook isn’t one of them.

        • Aaron Dietz says:

          Excellent comments, Darien. I know you know what you’re talking about.

          I suppose I don’t doubt it’s value as a way for people to push products (as well as other services such as Facebook Connect). I only lament its lack of value for me as a social networking site.

      • dwoz says:

        the advertising is worthless. What they pay for is access to the “user graph”.

        • Darien says:

          Saying it’s worthless doesn’t make it worthless. Show me the data.

        • dwoz says:

          Darien, saying it’s Orgasm2.0 doesn’t make it so either.

          You’re clearly invested in the Facebook model. That’s fine. It is what it is.

          Your comments about intentionally simplifying the user experience are apropos and salient. Do one thing really well instead of many things fairly well. But they are premised on the amazing, breathtaking assumption that the programmer knows what that exact thing that the user wants, is THIS.

          I’ve reviewed the Facebook APIs. All I can say is that nobody in their right mind would design a social networking site like that. It’s like a complete amateur was leading a team of SAP developers. With COBOL.

          And that model defines/drives what they can do with it. Here now, only a couple years in, we’re finding that the Amateur’s data model is hopelessly inadequate to actually represent or capture “social network”, whatever that is.

        • Aaron Dietz says:

          Heh. I think Facebook has a pretty good understanding of what the “user” wants, but I’d argue they consider the paying customer the most important “user”. And I can’t blame them. But it doesn’t change the fact that I made hundreds more friends through MySpace, in half as much time.

  7. You know I had a myspace page but haven’t seen in it a couple years. Who’s on myspace now? Are you not using it because no one else is? Maybe you should be a trend-setter, get back on myspace and revive the thing!

    • Aaron Dietz says:

      Rumor has it MySpace is getting shut down. Or at least, the old MySpace, and somehow eventually it will be turned in to something else that no one recognizes. Though I barely recognize it now. It takes me a few hours to find my blogs (exaggeration, but still).

      We should have known each other there! We missed the golden age of online friendhood.

  8. Gus Sanchez says:

    Aaron, as always, your observations are spot-on perfect.

    Is Google + the answer? I’m not so sure…yet. What I do like is having more control of my privacy, in terms of who I share my content with, both at Google + and online. But will it allow me to take more control of both my content and my profile, the way MySpace once did? If it will, then consider me a convert.

    Facebook isn’t at all a networking site. It’s more like a site that collects random post cards from people. You see the post cards, read them, get a good chuckle out of them, then toss ’em away. But you can’t keep those post cards, and that’s what’s so frustrating. And how do you meet new people? Facebook pretty much prohibits you from even trying to meet new people. I did a quick scan of the people on my friends’ list: of the 305 on my list, the majority of them are either people I’ve met in HS or college, or friends I met on MySpace (or Goodreads, another social networking site, for book lovers); only 5 are people I actually met via Facebook, either through mutual friends, or common interests.

    So what’s the point in your friends’ list being populated by people you already know, when the point to social networking is to actually network and earn new relationships?

    • Aaron Dietz says:

      Well said, Gus.

      Google+ has some great stuff going on, and I have hopes that it will get even better (like I am really excited to see how they integrate Google Reader and Blogger). Of course, they will mess some things up since the world doesn’t run according to my every whim, but so far I’m hoping things will be a vast improvement over Facebook. We shall see!

      • Gus Sanchez says:

        I’m really digging the fact that I can follow other users without the hassle of having to friend them. This way, I can read their posts, but wouldn’t be forced to “friend” them in any way just to boost their friend numbers or feel like some slavish follower, just another “friend.” Or something like that.

        There’s still a wide learning curve for Google+, but the people I’ve seen there have seemed to really embrace it, and are willing to share useful info on maximizing your Google+ experience.

        • Aaron Dietz says:

          I like the whole Follow aspect, too. I also like how it’s easy to show only posts from a particular circle (so I can create one called “Favorites” for example – people I actually want to follow closely).

  9. Ara Bedrossian says:

    I believe the News Feed can be avoided by clicking on Most Recent, which lists all postings.

    As for what Facebook offers, how do you think it has sacrificed functionality to cater to marketers?

    Great TED talk. I’m concerned about these personalized filters, but I don’t consume junk food info. 🙂

    • Aaron Dietz says:

      Absolutely right, Ara. You can get the Feed to show ALL posts, instead of just the filtered posts. But what I’d want is for it to show only the posts from friends I select. (You can do this by creating friend groups or something, but it seems elaborate to maintain so I don’t think many do this).

      For the most part, filtering is exactly what we want. Except when we don’t want it. All I want is the option to shut it off (in pieces – I definitely want to keep the ‘English’ filter on, for example).

      In terms of Facebook sacrificing functionality to cater to marketers, I think it’s less “sacrificing” and more focusing their design work. As I mentioned in the post, a person’s profile is more about which products they like than who they are or what they want to show people. And user-generated content is further and further hidden in the interface (Notes used to be slightly more prominent in the design, for example).

      And were they ever to introduce a subscription model (where I could subscribe to specific people’s content), I’d be all over it. That’s the largest feature I miss from MySpace.

      • Darien says:

        I think it’s a mistake to assume that the fact that Facebook doesn’t behave the way you would like it to means that they are responding to corporate interests over user interests. Your usage habits and feature interests represent one data point in a sea of 700 million.

        Facebook has provided grouping and filtering functionality for years, in the vein of Google+. Most users simply haven’t chosen to use it.

        Also, I’d encourage you to consider the positives of focused minimalistic design, without customization functionality (how FB started, though feature-creep has set in in a way that makes the first time user experience fairly overwhelming now).

        I’ve dealt with the Asian web for years now, and I can tell you that we’ve never really had a “world wide web”. The browser-based web has traditionally been carved up into regional walled gardens that social connections (and some information) can’t penetrate. Different regions have had their own entrenched local search players, their own social networking services, and — most importantly — their own usage-habits that make breaching those walls difficult. Traditionally, web services have had to be tailored to the specific habits of local web users, and that has made scaling services and social connections internationally extremely difficult.

        This is actually where players like Facebook and Apple are changing things for the better. The popularity of FB and the AppStore — which both provide designs and user experiences that are completely consistent across international boundaries — are reshaping habits in a way that make the sharing of services and social experiences easier and more accessible than ever.

        I’ve seen this change take place over the past year in Korea, and it has been truly stunning to watch. In their own ironic way, Facebook and Apple are actually creating a more open web.

        • Aaron Dietz says:

          That’s one way to look at it. And the customization features of MySpace seemed to scare new people away and prevented the masses from getting online…but it also meant that a new type of user became the standard – people who wanted to basically only become connected to people they already knew. To me that’s unfortunately limiting.

          And yes, of course, Facebook attempts to design for the most popular habits, but what I’ve seen is a site engineered to encourage specific habits. And that’s also unfortunate. Essentially, since there is no realistic alternative to Facebook at the moment (in which you can reasonably expect to connect online with a majority of your real life social contacts), they have the luxury of being able to force behaviors. What are people going to do? Leave Facebook? It’s the equivalent of giving up some amount of social status.

          Of course, whether it’s the habits of the users driving Facebook to its current design or Facebook seeking to increase its ability to sell and thus generate revenue is just arbitrary speculation by me. I’m sure it’s a little of both. But for someone running a multi-billion dollar business with those two things to worry about, there’s one that would be obviously dominant. And I’m not saying they’re inherently evil if they are making decisions to generate revenue – that’s what companies do. All I’m saying is that Facebook is not an effective social networking site, or at the very least, MySpace of 2006 was better.

          Darien, thanks so much for your input today! I really appreciate all the time you spent on these comments, and I am completely interested in what you’re doing with YongoPal.

        • Darien says:

          My main secondary point was that 1) yes, they are engineering our habits and 2) they’re doing it on such a large and international scale that it is actually smashing through the web’s walled gardens in an unprecedented and extremely positive way. Yes, it is its own walled garden, sitting on information that can never be crawled by search algorithms or viewed from the outside, but it is more inclusive in many ways than the web of just two years ago. And that inclusiveness has only become a reality because of Facebook’s ability to engineer behaviors to such an extent that it penetrates disparate web cultures.

          My general feeling is… every product or service tries to engineer your behavior in some way; Facebook is doing it in a way that’s making the world smaller; and when governments in authoritarian countries are banning your web app, you’re clearly doing something right.

          MySpace was banned in high schools for being a distraction. It was never banned by a government for being an engine of revolution.

        • Darien says:

          Heh. My “main secondary” point. I are dumb.

          Also, one thing to add, in response to your assertion that ‘Facebook is not an effective social networking site.’ Any network, pretty much by definition, derives its value from scale. The larger a network, the greater potential value it can deliver to each individual node that comprises it.

          At 700 million members, Facebook is the single most effective social network, and it is so by definition.

          Haha, I think I spent more time on here today than I probably should have. 😛 Thanks for the distraction!

        • Aaron Dietz says:

          As a lover of subplots and metadata and specificity, I like and support such things as “main secondary” points.

          If the number of members is the only qualification for being an effective social network, then there isn’t much room for wiggle–clearly Facebook has that locked up. Though I wouldn’t agree with that definition. If we placed 750 million people placed under a gigantic tent, would that then count as the most effective social network? I think there has to be some connection to functionality involved in the definition.

          I am completely happy that Facebook and Google, et al, have been breaking down walls globally and certainly agree that it’s a positive thing. But MySpace never being banned as an agent of revolution could simply be because MySpace came along earlier – before smart phones.

        • Darien says:

          It would count as the world’s largest fucking tent.

  10. And of course, there is the flipside to Facebook not letting you check out Happy McS’s posts after awhile…the opposite thing happens where you suddenly see only one person’s business, or one person’s comments on one other person’s business, thereby slanting things toward looking like there’s some stalking going on. Creeeeepy. Facebook: that website it a total creep!

  11. Gloria says:

    I don’t miss Facebook. I don’t like it. But I love this article. The MySpace thing at the end is dead on – I loved the way I was able to interact with people on there. Too bad it didn’t succeed. I hope Justin Timberlake does something amazing with it.

    • Aaron Dietz says:

      I hope so, too, though my interest in a site with eternal band friend requests is pretty low. I’ll see what happens with it. Thanks for stopping by, Gloria!

  12. LOTNorm says:

    Myspace was an unfenced experiment in the absolute web 2.0 user-controlled medium. They opened the door of customization and personalization too wide, and then they were either too slow to reign it in, or they simply couldn’t. People were essentially designing Myspace without any real knowledge on how. That’s what Facebook did. When it began, Facebook partially emulated Myspace’s open designing, but they soon realized the shifting paradigm of web 3.0 that puts most of the control back into the hands of people who know what they’re doing. Facebook still allows for user development, but it’s in the controlled arena of apps. The design of the site, profiles, etc are all, essentially, out of the users’ hands. Part of this is what Google+ is attempting to counterprogram, by focusing on the users’ ability to control their social lives. It’s an illusion, however, because Google is at the forefront of web 3.0’s intuitive programming, giving you personalized search results that you didn’t ask for, suggesting friends it thinks you should know, etc. They’re all similar pieces to the same machine. People–most people–aren’t really concerned with being controlled, having “privacy”, or any of the other things the vocal minority mentions (as they should); the most important factor in any medium is usability, and that’s what web 3.0 emphasizes.

    *The above is a comment I copy/pasted from where I said it elsewhere.

    Honestly, I’m not particularly a fan of algorithms deciding what I want to see, but the web is in a constant flux between a user-controlled experience and a controlled-user experience. I don’t anticipate the user-controlled universe that existed with Myspace to return any time soon, though. It was just too–out of control (no pun intended). The people in charge have to be in charge; complete customization–the Myspace model–just isn’t viable on a large scale. That’s not to say it can’t exist; Myspace still technically “works”, it just doesn’t “work” as a business. It’s obsolete, in terms of what user expectations have evolved into (partially because of the things Myspace did right and wrong).

      • Aaron Dietz says:

        Darien – first “+1” blog comment I’ve seen. History!

        Norm – I’m not prepared to submit. I think transparency in the “controls” and the simple ability to be able to promote one’s thoughts over a social networking site should be inherently built in. I have high hopes that Google+ will do some of this. And probably I will never be satisfied (but that’s normal). Thanks for your comments!

        • Darien says:

          -2 for use of “web 3.0”

        • LOTNorm says:

          Aaron – I think, if Google has finally been able to grab a strong foothold in social media, the competition between them and Facebook will be beneficial to everyone; that’s in terms of use, control, everything.

          Darien – Ha! I don’t much like to use “web 3.0”, but that’s what some are calling it. It’s really basically a layer over “web 2.0”, in that it still focuses on much of the same things (social networking, blogs, collaboration) but offers a differing approach to them that isn’t quite so user-centered. They’re all–Web 2.0, Web 3.0, etc–just practical buzzword labels that represent varying paradigmatic shifts in our overall approach to the web.

        • Aaron Dietz says:

          So should I just sit out 3.0 and wait for 4.0? I’m pretty sure it’ll be happening in my head by then.

    • dwoz says:

      We’re on 3.0?

      gosh, I just can’t keep up!

  13. Ara Bedrossian says:

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s contribution here. Great talk. It got me thinking. Your profile page can be visually appealing and informative, but let’s not forget what Jeffro wrote: nothing is as valuable as directly connecting with others. Aaron, I think Facebook is giving users what they want in its standardization, but also what they need. Research indicates we are happier in the end with less choice, although we strive for more. The simplicity of FB might recognize this in its design. And I agree with Darien and Caleb: Facebook is an excellent networking tool but can be abused by the stalker inside of us. Without a goal, using Facebook is as bad a timesink as Myspace. I think the pictures in FB are the same as the personalized visual design of our profile page in Myspace. I’ve read that FB recognized the picture interest and the tagging functionality utilized this interest and increased FB traffic. But I’ve refrained from aimlessly surfing comments and pictures on Facebook and now use it as a networking tool and actual dialogue. It’s too convenient and useful not to. And we can engage the lurkers who are replacing friendship with 1’s and 0’s. You’re all welcome to friend me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/ara.bedrossian1

    • Aaron Dietz says:

      Good thoughts, Ara. Yes, the photos can actually be used somewhat like blogs – they are archived and even tempt people to browse through the “back issues”. It’s not instinctive or the intended purpose of that feature, but that’s the closest you’ll get to expressing yourself on Facebook. Nice points!

  14. Facebook knows who I am and what I like. It kindly and helpfully suggests friends and certain products I may be interested in. By “liking” something I feel I am both supporting and enabling that thing, as well as letting others see a glimpse of my true self through a “liked” reflection. The fact that my feed (I love that word…it makes me feel like I’ve just had my fill of warm bladder milk) features the comments of a fraction of my friends in a seemingly arbitrary way, while entirely ignoring others, suggests an abstract art game that I am pleased and honored to participate in. Love may be too strong a word. I fucking love Facebook and feel that each and every moment I spend on it is a moment well spent. Now….feel free to continue your whining.

  15. Erika Rae says:

    I was just talking to someone today about Google+. I’m looking forward to being able to filter certain groups of “friends” into circles. Maybe I can even have just 1 account. Currently, on FB, I have 2 – one under my married name, one under my writer name. The purpose of this is 100% geared toward keeping my mother and former youth pastor out of my head. Wow. The gemini could merge. Really, I can hardly conceive of it.

    • Aaron Dietz says:

      Yes! The Gemini will be well-served by separate circles! You will be free to be two people to two different groups of people. Long live social networking for Geminis!

  16. Displayschutz Kamera…

    Bryan Fuhr…

  17. Mark says:

    I often wonder when perusing the selection of what is available on TV who actually watches this trash? Certainly not I. But the selection has been carefully crafted to maximize viewership so the trash bubbles to the top. What does that say about the mass audience? They are obviously addicted to a quick fix of drama and drivel.

    Facebook was also invented to supply a quick fix of junk food content. It is paid for by the concept of an “impression” or the opportunity to show an ad. The quicker they can provide you “relevant” content and the more they can get you to clink on something the better their revenue stream becomes.

    So it really should some as no surprise that Facebook has devolved to provide you quick snippets of meaningless information that they think you are most likely to react to. It pays the bills.

    Whether Google, Facebook, or ant other search mechanism there probably is only one way to get your information back under your control: Pay for it.

    “Free” has been the expectation of information delivered on the internet from the very beginning. But as we are seeing now, “free” is not free. Give me a site where I control the information I see, where I keep control of my privacy and the dissemination of my material and I will pay you for that. $10 a month x 300 million users is a $36 billion annual revenue stream. You would think that might interest someone.

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