Like many people I have been messing around with social networking on Facebook. It’s kind of fun finding out what your old friends have been doing, and keeping in contact with current friends is much easier through built in messaging and chat programs. But I’m beginning to wonder what the limits of the technology are, and whether we’re already having our faces pushed into them.
Facebook is like masturbation. It feels good while you’re doing it, but it leaves you feeling empty afterward. Most of the chatter is inane. Does anyone really care what I’m thinking most of the time? Hell, I don’t care about what I’m thinking most of the time so why would anyone else? The applications are time wasters, and the quizzes make those found in Cosmo look like GRE, LSAT and MCAT prep questions by comparison. Join a group or become a fan of something and your inbox will never be the same. You’ve just allowed a tide of spam to wash into your inbox that sends your crackberry vibrating like a sex toy in a porn movie.
If you’re looking for meaningful conversation, good luck. The level of discourse seems to be inversely proportional to the weight of the subject. Mention the weather or clothing and people will respond with footnoted and well-considered treatises. Say something about politics or religion and the comments become shallower than Britney Spears’s gene pool.
It encourages shallow commentary by the 420 character (85 word) post limit. That’s 3x longer than Twitter’s 140 character limit and makes Twitter look two dimensional by comparison. Still, that limit is too short when we have something interesting to say, and too long when we don’t.
There’s a reason why we lose contact with old friends: we’ve changed and so have they. I believe it’s a conceit on our part to expect that we still have something meaningful to say beyond reminiscing about the past. Relationships have natural lifespans; some last decades while others last only days or weeks. Most fall somewhere in between, but Facebook doesn’t recognize this. It assumes that everyone we met and befriended in our lives is exactly the way they were when we met them, and worse, that we haven’t changed either.