This was posted on 9to5mac.com, and while many sites covered the story, I like the way they use Facebook’s explanation in the headline, which I imagine is meant to be read deadpan-style:
What an interesting accident. I like the cheek of the person who arranged for the “accidental” printing of a message onto a physical Facebook product stating “Big Brother is Watching.” It’s a great thing to read before strapping on a VR helmet and blocking yourself off from the “real” world.
Facebook is really popular. It has over a billion accounts now. Everyone is using it. There are hunter-gatherer tribes posting selfies with the antelope they just killed for dinner. It’s everywhere. It’s unavoidable, like air and the ground.
And I still don’t get it.
This Wired article claims to explain the success: Why Facebook Is Killing It–Even When No One Else Is, but it doesn’t really explain much other than “it sells ads and bought companies with popular chat apps and is now featuring live video.” All that stuff is obviously contributing but for most people–and judging by what I observe on my commute on others’ mobile phones (it’s impossible to avoid, I swear) Facebook is still mainly about the News Feed, where friends and others post whatever they want but usually funny little stories or links or pictures of the antelope they killed for dinner.
Once you have more than a few friends who make more than a few posts the news feed can fill up quickly. You could spend most of your free time just scrolling through it, long before ever getting to the built-in apps, games, live chat and secret Facebook chambers.
But it’s all random stuff. There is no overall theme, no coherence. It’s logical that these things are absent, given that you are looking at what literally amounts to miscellaneous thoughts and commentary from a variety of people with varying tastes and interests. I just wonder what is supposed to compel me to read and perhaps contribute. The contribution thing for most is probably either a genuine desire to share (I saw something funny, other people will find it funny and be happy) or just ego-stroking/narcissism but now with the potential to reach millions instead of just those within earshot.
I don’t have a great urge to share. It’s why I make long rambling posts here and remain unconcerned that very few people will ever see them. Ego-stroking can be fun sometimes but too much puts hair on the palms of your hands.
I just don’t get it.
But dammit, I’m going to try. A co-worker recently added me as a friend and I promised I would post or something. It will all end in tears, I’m sure.
I have been known to mock the occasional misspelling. I can’t explain why I do this. I recall vaguely from years ago that I read somewhere that spelling is not related to intelligence and can vouch for knowing people who are smart but fairly terrible at spelling. Much as I can’t explain why I might mock a misspelling, I likewise offer no insight as to why I generally do not have to look up a word in order to spell it correctly.
I am, however, ready to blame the Internet for making the general level of literacy (and spelling) that much worse. It’s a convenient scapegoat and it comes with lots of circumstantial evidence, like The Best Obnoxious Responses to Misspellings on Facebook. It’s quite possible every entry on the site is faked but they ring true.
This is almost like a comedy routine (warning: salty language):
Me, I don’t fuss over the occasional typo. I might raise an eyebrow when I see ‘rediculous’, I may open my mouth as if to say something after spotting a your/you’re slip. I pretty much pass right over its/it’s since that one just underscores how arbitrary and strange English is, anyway. But I do offer one warning:
Back in the 1980s — you know, that decade that started over 30 years ago — Berke Breathed via Bloom County commented on how the comics section of newspapers was steadily shrinking. He didn’t mean fewer comics were being run. If anything, even more were being showcased. You can only prop up the section with Blondie and Beetle Bailey for so long. No, what he meant was the physical space being devoted to them was shrinking, resulting in strips that were smaller and more difficult to read. The logical conclusion he reached was that the comics section would eventually disappear into a black dot of illegibility.
As it turns out, newspapers will probably vanish before this can happen. Thank you, Internet, for helping save us from unnecessary eyestrain!
But wait, for as the Internet giveth, so does it taketh away.
As per usual Facebook has done another one of its seemingly arbitrarily updates to its site, making it ‘better’ in ways that may elude common folk. The biggest change is apparently the profile page. I check mine so infrequently I’m not sure exactly what is different except it has a strip of photos slapped along the top of it now. I do not understand the purpose or value of this. The other more noticeable change for me is a universal shrinkage of the font size. This doesn’t make the site more readable, it goes against the demographic trend of an aging population and it doesn’t really allow for more information to be displayed. It just makes all the text a bit smaller. I can easily simulate the old look reasonably enough by using the old CTRL-mousewheel trick so it doesn’t particularly affect me. Sometimes I wonder if Zuckerberg dictates these changes just because of the irresistible power to affect 500 million accounts all at once (quibble to journalists: Facebook has 500 million accounts, not 500 million users. I could go out and create 100 new accounts if I wanted to, each one setting the default size of the font to something different using the nigh-amazing CTRL-mousewheel trick). You may be thinking to yourself, “Is this just a real roundabout way of saying I’m getting old and I would prefer sites on the web to not shrink their fonts so my eyes don’t need to squint so much to keep reading them?” and my answer would be “No, haha, of course not!” Because the font is just too damn small for no good reason. And I went jogging last week, anyway. And I didn’t fall down and break my hip. So there.
Also while I’m here, the Royal Bank cartoon businessman mascot they use (I think his name is Arby — get it? LOL!!) is creepy as all get-out. Tip: You do not make your monolithic, billions-in-record-revenue-generating banking enterprise more cuddly and personable by creating a mascot in a BUSINESS SUIT. Especially one with no neck. Creepy.
This could have been my Facebook status but I’ve already beaten that joke into the ground.
The subject line is still true, though. I am also becoming more aware of how all these social networking sites leave an easy-to-follow trail of crumbs for prospective employers to check out. Not that I’ve ever posted anything that would particularly get me knocked out of consideration for a job, it’s more the Big Brother aspect that gets me. One post I made here resulted in someone contacting me about it because I used words that were flagged by Google Alerts. Everyone watches everyone else on the world wide web. Quite the merry circle!
Mostly though I just don’t feel Facebook is a good fit for my rambling, verbose style.
UPDATE: After posting this, I checked Facebook and got the following. The timing is ironic, to say the least. And delicious!