Facebook has made substandard versions of everything on the Web, bundled it together and somehow found itself being lauded for it, as if AOL, Friendster and MySpace had never managed the same slightly embarrassing trick. Facebook had the advantage of not being saddled with AOL’s last-gen baggage, Friendster’s too-early-for-its-moment-ness, or MySpace’s aggressive ugliness, and it had the largely accidental advantage of being upmarket first — it was originally limited to college students and gaining some cachet therein — before it let in the rabble.
In addition to the elitism, which I hadn’t previously thought of, there is the dumbed-down web aspect:
Facebook is the Web hit with a stupid stick, but that doesn’t mean people are stupid for using it.
And let us not forget what it’s all for – not bringing people together, that’s merely a by-product of the commercial enterprise:
Its grasping attempts to get its hooks into every single thing I do feels like being groped by an overly obnoxious salesman. Its general ethos that I need to get over the concept of privacy makes me want to shove a camera lens up Zuckerberg’s left nostril 24 hours a day and ask him if he’d like for his company to rethink that position.
Again, it is not the people who use Facebook that is the problem, it is the platform itself. And the real question, which Scalzi presumes to answer, is whether the MASSIVE market penetration will ever let this unfortunate and inadequate advertising device go away. Here’s a clue to Scalzi’s opinion: He’s a bit more optimistic than I am.
While Scalzi looks at the technological inadequacies of Facebook, which he thinks will be its downfall, I see evidence that the outsized adoption rate, the 500 million members, creates a mythology of profit that goes beyond the reality of substandard technology.
I have no idea who Joseph Perla is, but this article, which may overstate the case a bit, brings up some questions about the value received by Facebook advertisers.
More and more people sign up to Facebook, and more and more businesses hear about how many people are on Facebook. It seems like a huge opportunity. TV shows and award-winning movies are made about Facebook.
Perla suggests that the it’s all sizzle and no steak:
What is clear from everyone I know who has advertised on Facebook is that it was a waste of money. Facebook promises big returns on ad spending, but delivers nothing. Yet, their value and growth continues because they can use that money to grow their user-base more and assert profitability (in this sense it’s not quite entirely a ponzi scheme, but there is no closer idea). It’s possible that they do not even realize that they are like a Ponzi scheme.
Perhaps Facebook is not a Ponzi scheme, but this concept of questionable value to advertisers has been on my mind for a while. It was refreshing to see someone echo those sentiments.