Monday, 1 October 2007

Facebook: the glue is falling apart

I'm not sure if you have had the opportunity to watch Penn Masala's brilliant Facebook Skit...If not, please take 3:56 of your time and go take a peek (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FahBBnfHAQ). I'm not sure if the video was Penn Masala's idea or if they were just contracted to sing the vocals, but I don't mind telling you it is a superb bit of work.

I bring this up to ask you, what is the purpose of facebook? Does facebook contribute in any way toward social networking as it claims to? I myself have been a facebook user for the past year or so, and upon looking back I cannot tell you why. I realise that this very blurb is full of irony. As soon as I send this email, it will be forwarded to blogger, which will in turn create a post on my facebook wall....or page.....or whatever you call it. You may, in fact, be reading this on facebook.

I have restricted my use of facebook to two functions: the marketplace tool, and the exchange of photos. Even so I am inundated with invitations from someone asking to be my friend, to join this cause, or to support some new important application, allowing me to publish globally how much alcohol I consume between 1800h and 2000h on the 2nd Friday of each month....or some other equally useless piece of data.

Last month I was invited to a party through facebook, and facebook alone. Since I don't bother checking my invitations and requests every minute of the day, the invitation did not catch my eye and the party came and went without my knowledge. Whatever happened to picking up the phone and calling your friends?? I'm fine with an email also, or even a face-to-face conversation, heaven forbid.

I've watched some of my friends spend minute after minute scrolling through unbelievably useless groups, photos, surveys, and information of “friends” they may or may not know in real life. I would like to put forth a simple proposition....bring back the art of conversation! If I were to take half of the people one facebook at random and stick them in a large room together, will one even know another? Does all the time spent going through someone's relationships, hobbies, interests and friends-in-my-network serve any purpose? I think not.

Let's go back to calling on the phone, driving to someone's house, getting together to look through photos. Relationships and communities are said to be the glue that keeps society together, and when we trade in our interpersonal skills we're killing the infrastructure of our society. My prediction, however far-fetched it may seem, is that GDP and production will fall in the next 10 years due to facebook (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070911.WBmingram20070911173306/WBStory/WBmingram).

All you facebook users, you've been warned; stop killing your social skills! You're fast becoming dollar signs in the eyes of new companies like www.gk2gk.com – where it's ok to be g33k.

As a final remark, I know that not many people will actually get around to reading this article, and thus I will be creating a facebook cause to support my beliefs. Please consider joining.

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