News that people are leaving Facebook in droves should come as no surprise to anyone using the ageist, algorithm-driven phenomena for more than a few years. It’s as tiring as being in the kitchen at a dull party watching noisy bores ad nauseum. Not that my Facebook friends are noisy bores, of course, but there are those out there, Friends of Friends of Friends, that you do wonder about. Are they for real?
Facebook, like Myspace, was a brilliant idea. A simple algorithm, a mathematical keyword-driven formula that promoted youthful peer pressure and pathological behaviour to ensure it propagated globally across PCs, a business model to cap all business models. Did it work? Of course it did. It created the biggest mutual appreciation society of all time, except, like Myspace, something went wrong. It seems you can’t pin your future success on the noisiest person in the room after all.
It’s the mass pathology that’s a problem. Facebook often leaves a bad taste. It’s just a hunch, but relying on superficiality was never going to ensure exponential growth. Maybe if Facebook had taken a leaf out of the Italian Renaissance and ensured some balance to proceedings, some diversity, it would still be flourishing.
But it’s an intelligence free zone. You can do a simple test. Change your age to 18. Write a status update that includes a product or two from the adverts that hover down the right hand side, throw in some text speak and a bad word, and watch your popularity rocket.
I don’t suppose they’d admit to using an algorithm that automatically puts some product-driven, keyword-laden status updates at the top of the list and buries others, oh no, but unless you are a robot you might, at some point, find it difficult to express yourself on social networking sites. You may start to feel you should hide your face. You may start to feel like you’ve gone to the party at the end of civilisation. You will want to unfriend everybody and cancel your account and never ever have anything to do with the disaster that is social networking. Well that’s my theory. Shoot it down if you want to, that’s if you ever get to read it. It’s an idea. Maybe the word idea is not such a good idea. Maybe the Facebook algorithm will bury the word idea.
Speaking of parties over, Twitter anyone?