Ah, Rodney… NOW I understand Facebook!

I check in on Facebook every now and then. I am sure that someday, somehow, it’ll cease being a waste of time. I know, because Robert Scoble told me so.

But today, I feel enlightened. Rodney, as it were, slapped me in the face with the truth:

image

Yes, that is an actual screen-shot. I fired up my trusty Live Writer right away, because this is just precious. Now, let me go see what the thing actually does

Hot interim live-blogging action: why do these applications, vying for your attention and mine, make it so fucking hard to figure out what they actually do? Oh, wait. That in and of itself might be a hint.

More hot live-blogging LiveCopter 27 action: there is no actual page within clicking distance on Facebook explaining what the magical BitchSlap! applet does. Forgive me, but why the flying fuck would anyone care at this point?

We are now truly entering into the special realm of futility previously monopolized (in my world) by Expander. Now, this one is exquisitely meta. You add this application to your application suite on Facebook, a mildly viral site that intends to aggregate your life, and bother your friends and acquaintances sufficiently for them to join just to shut you up — and then, presumably, move on to do the same to theirs. In a social sense, the online equivalent of a mild, communicable itch: annoying, but tolerable. This application’s entire premise is for you to bother people that you know with A) an invitation to install the mother (of course), which will B) automagically share your network with theirs, and vice versa… the benefit, for some reason, being that you get to be in touch with people that you know but don’t know to get a hold of, but are able to get a hold of through your friends. This is assuming that I want to talk to friends of my friends… which, excepting some spectacularly fortuitous exceptions to the rule I am doing a pathetic job of formulating…

DOES NOT HAPPEN. 

Look, I watched Serendipity and I hated it the first time — I do not need a warmed-over Internet version of same. So what, specifically, is wrong with apps like Expander? Well, mainly: it is being viral for being viral’s sake, and it pisses me off. It makes several asinine assumptions:

  • I have a pressing need to talk to someone
  • I am unable to get in touch with anyone I want to talk to
  • I am sufficiently retarded to be unable to stay in touch with those I want to stay in touch with
  • No, really, I have no other means whatsoever to get in touch with these people

It’s a basic, blatant grasp to go for the “I need to be popular” gland, and this is a spectacular example of there being No There There. For the record, I would have never gone trolling for this, but hey — every time I log on to Facebook, I see the activity of my friends. The problem is that 2 out of the 3 friends I have on Facebook are professionals in the Web 2.0 field, and as such do a lot of adding and removing applications. Hence the entire premise of this post — and so much baffled head-shaking my neck is now the best-exercised part of my body. And I do wish I were kidding. For most of the writing, the applications, the content, and by extension and (hello, root cause), the people in the 2.0 ecosphere, my thought bubble reads: “Okay. And? Great. So? Fan-mother-fucking-tabulous. The point is?” Even doing the exquisitely basic research required to write a presumptuous post such as this one becomes exhausting.

Now, in the preceding paragraph, note “2 out of 3”. I am very much a social leper, but I am not that bad. Yet. It’s simply that whomever you bring Facebook up with… doesn’t care. 28,000,000 people started a profile? Talk to blogspot. No, really — you should.

Anyway, I have been trying to avoid the term for weeks now, but I’m done with avoiding it. I have challenged the luminaries in the field, and I have gotten respect from them all (well, with the exception of Dare Obesanjo) — but, as expected and somewhat luminous — no actual public discussion.

So fine… the term is “fluff”, and it abounds. I think the basic point is still lost on people inside the 2.0 echo chamber. The 1.0 bubble seemed based on the premise that people would much prefer to spend their money on things they do not need online than they do at the store. Delusion intensified to the point where the meme became that people would actually prefer replacing their real shopping with online shopping. That worked really well… until the first time an actual customer had to deal with the actual jack-ass that is the average UPS delivery guy. This is worth losing the instant gratification of carrying the actual item home over?

People can already share their pictures. They can already chat. They can already search for their old classmates (hint: it’s called Google). The there is not there.

The ground-swell revolution will not happen, because you are offering people things they already have. You are, in a sense, trying to sell people pet food online rather than in a brick-and-mortar store. You are selling evolution, and that means you have to be better, more convenient, free and (very, very important on the modern Internet) free of annoyance. Your mousetrap had better be free, have self-extending legs, an infra-red homing device to find the darned critters, fire-and-forget poisoned dart killing system and it had better take its kill out to the trash by itself — or, if so programmed, bury it under the designated fruit tree to aid in fertilization.

Yes, the bar is that high. Deal with it.

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