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June 10, 2010 / Mike Biggs

The paradox of facebook

At first I was resistive. Then I though I could use it for business purposes, and to be completely honest, it is useful for that. However there is mounting reason to dump facebook, much of it being talked about all over the net, but I wanted to touch on a few reasons that are being overlooked.

  1. It is integral in the erosion of proper thought. As a result of the ‘internets’, facebook in particular, we are beginning to think differently. Not better in the way that Apple told us to think differently (although their clais are dubious at best), but in a way that is worse. We now expect continual gratification, ongoing stimulii, easy answers, and the ability to find and plug in a solution rather than actually developing one for ourselves.
  2. The lack of deep conversation. Instead we accept in proxy long winded shallow banter which is systematically promoted by the structures laid out by the forums we choose to use.  For example the twitter 140 character limit. The back and forth nature of the comment conversation in facebook. How much meaningful dialogue can take place in such a small space.
  3. The notion of always being ‘ON’, but not having to reply immediately. Email is not so bad, it works as a much faster version of a paper mail item. The authour writes it, posts it, it includes a greeting, a body, and a cordial ending. The expectation is that you can reply at your leisure, providing it is within reason. The modern internets or web 2.0 fascilitates a much faster transmission of the content, and allows the message to be responded to, re-transmitted, saved, or evaluated from almost any place in the world. The expectation not only being that access should be universal and you should have no excuse for not having received the message, but also that because you are engaging in an open ended conversation rather than a closed letter, a reply can be executed at any time. In itself this illustrates the paradox of the situation, on the one hand the system provides a platform that implies universal instant gratification, yet the content that insues is open in nature and therefore does not have a start or end, leaving it outside the rules of the instant reply expectation.
  4. All communication must take the form of WORDS. Concepts traverse words, bodylanguage, visual ideas, and other subtle nuances. But the internets,  force us to funnel any and all concepts into the available constructs of words. Whilst words are very elegant, and have the ability to create great imagery, they do not allow the depth and breadth of perceptive expression. This is highly illustrated by bi-lingual speakers who often struggle to express a concept in English which has a single word that neatly explains it in their native tounge. Further to that, words have pre loaded perceptions. Some are common to most, some are more localised, like slang. This further accetuates the funnelling, and limitation of true expression via words, and hence the internets.

Screw you Internets.

If you really want to do some writing, set yourself up like George Bernard Shaw

It’s a few down the page.

Here’s another article that asks: “Is the internet changing the way you think?”


One Comment

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  1. Anthony / Aug 26 2010 2:24 pm

    There is definitely a lack of deep ended conversation on Facebook. Its almost as if your online identity is simply a representation of your online self, and that it is completely differentiated from your physical being. There is a lack of accountability for what is said and done, which I think removes the sense of professionalism that comes along with the ability to network through it.

    It becomes far too informal for people on facebook to respect a business like they would an official company website. Websites take someone with experience in coding, writing content, etc etc. I think the quick setup and easily organised nature of facebook devalues a business identity to some extent.

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