a kettlebell training log, and
a launch pad for aberrant missives

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Not A Fan Of Facebook

Since Google rolled out Buzz a couple days ago, anyone who is someone in the tech world seems to have an opinion on what, if any, impact Google's highly integrated social networking platform (integrated with Gmail that is) has on Facebook's valuation. In my mind, there are three types of observers: people who have a vested interest in the product (investors, employees), other "market analysts" and "thought leaders" in such matters, and finally, the users, of which a sub-category is, for no lack of a better word, LOSERS.  

This is my opinion of Facebook as an end-user of Web 2.0 applications.  I don't have bucks to make, nor numbers to crunch, but for sure I must be a data point in the company's monetization model, right? Or, is "my type" of users mostly irrelevant, the way I'm a bank customer getting free checking for life but my bank doesn't ever make a penny out of my three-figure balance?


And each iteration more so.  Obviously Facebook's strategy is to grow its user-base by relentlessly streaming who's-friends-with-whom info on the News Feed.  It is Facebook's assumption that the typical user is so relentlessly mercenary that has been such a huge turn-off for me.  It is insulting.  I have no issue at all with networking and respectfully making use of connections.  It is entirely within Facebook's capacity to make it a powerful social networking engine without denigrating the meaning of friendship.  Restoring status updates as the default stream would be a great start.  I find it absolutely refreshing that I can hide the Buzz following-follower info from my public Google Profile.  It is not about privacy at all; rather, for once, we can regard ourselves not as part of a numbers game, but as individuals who perhaps have something to share during the day that is of interest or import to other connected beings.  

I put it this way because we all need distraction sometimes from life itself.  But if you really care about productivity and not wasting your time in front of the computer on pseudo-social causes or sedentary leisure, consider this:

As of 11:50 PM, Thursday, February 11, 2010, the number of fans belonging to the following Facebook groups:

  • I Don't Care About Your Farm, Or Your Fish, Or Your Park, Or Your Mafia!!!  1,737,215

  • I Bet We Can Find 1,000,000 People Who Support Same Sex Marriage  1,664,544

  • I Bet Stanford Can Find 100,000 Fans Before Cal Can!  2,027

  • I Bet Cal Can Find 100,000 Fans Before Stanford Can!  8,563

That there are so many haters of Facebook apps says less about the users of those apps than Facebook's presumptuous notion that their usage is anything remotely newsworthy.  In all likelihood Facebook does not even presume that; after all, it's run by very smart people.  It is blatantly forcing that information upon your News Feed to entice you to click on the brown baby calf.  There must be a certain demographic group or personality trait that is associated with susceptibility to the mooing of the brown baby calf - congratulations, Facebook, for that is your golden calf.  

I support same-sex marriage, but I don't BET on anything to make a statement.  Unfortunately, many Facebook "Pages" and "Groups" only amount to virtual pheromones that give the impression that you're of a certain ilk, that may be of significance as a filter or deal-breaker if you're actually going to mate with someone, but are otherwise inconsequential as a force or even indicator of social change.  To the person who started "1,000,000 Strong Against Sarah Palin" but only hit 21 percent membership target - you're a loser picking on another loser.  GET A LIFE!  

PSA: If you really believe in marriage equality, follow the Prop 8 trial here and support Courage Campaign with your money and activism.  

The red and blue / "gold" comparison proves, definitively, that better Facebooking results do not translate to superiority in anything else.  

I have never minded the "Sponsored Links" that I see on Gmail's web portal.  And if Buzz must come with Google Ads, so be it - it would be a thousand times better than the dumb-ass targeted ads that Facebook advertisers generate with my birth date, gender, and other personal info.  Again, it's not a privacy issue for me; this is just bot-made nonsense.  But I find utterly yucky and icky and distasteful and insulting the language and tone of those ads.  "Are you an 18-year-old idiot?  If you are, we have free crap reserved for you if you qualify.  Hurry up!  Offer expires at midnight."  Really?  REALLY???  Just because an ad picked up on my age doesn't make it a smart ad.  People who click on those ads are fucking losers.  

I have been a disaffected Facebook user for a long while, so I welcome Google Buzz heartily as an alternative, and so far I have nothing bad to say about it.  The bugs will be fixed, and I am awaiting the mobile app for my phone.  If, as I suspect, Facebook's monetization strategy is to capitalize on losers doing what losers do, then my opinion is entirely irrelevant to the stakeholders, which is fine by me, because Buzz will pick it up regardless.