Monday, January 17, 2011

the winning loser

In an unsurprising turn of events, "The Social Network," a movie about the creation of the internet's Facebook phenomenon, won top honors at the Golden Globe ceremony last night:

Sure, all the winners you expected won all the awards you figured they would. Besides best drama, "The Social Network," about the founding of Facebook, won for David Fincher's direction, Aaron Sorkin's script and the score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. After receiving top honors from critics groups coast to coast, this resounding victory positions the film as the front-runner at the Academy Awards. -- Complete story
I am happy when someone makes a go of it in business. Ideas are risky and putting ideas into practice is no easy matter. But the implications and actuality of Facebook continue to turn me off, no matter how popular it may be.

If I've got it right (I only tried it for a little while before ending my participation), Facebook allows people to leave little notes for each other. It is, if you believe the publicity, a way of allowing people to "connect" and "share" and "communicate" and perhaps "broaden their horizons."

But to me Facebook is like looking at pornography and imagining you are having sex. It takes people away from the connections they might like to make -- up-close, personal, complicated and sometimes messy ... but at least human. Sure, writing notes to people is one way of maintaining communication, but it is one way that once supplemented, rather than replaced, human contact.

And perhaps that is the way some people use Facebook -- as a supplement. But I sense that more and more the Facebook means of communications is a way of avoiding or shunning actual human contact. It enhances the loneliness and disconnect anyone might seek to reduce.

Obviously, Facebook is enormously popular (about a gazillion people belong), but I see it as a good social phenomenon against which to measure actual-factual human needs. It's not what I think that counts. It's not what other Facebook enthusiasts consider good. It's what you think and feel. Is this really fulfilling or is it cotton candy.

I know what I think, but I just hope others will be a little less sanguine about what they think. Is Facebook a winner or is it a loser masquerading as a winner?

1 comment:

  1. Facebook has three uses for me.

    1) Play Lexulous (a Scrabble-clone)
    2) Keep up to date on some people who post there regularly
    3) Find and sometimes keep in touch with people from long long ago (university, college, even high school)

    But, if not for the game, I wouldn't be on there much at all. Everything else falls out of my regular checking in on my games.