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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


There is a constant incessant bragging and and a Stepford-esque eternal optimism going on at FB. Maybe this is why mostly teenagers seem to be on it. Even the adults are really teenagers. Self absorbed, and annoying people starved for the attention they did not get as teenagers. The fastest growing segment on FB is now 45-60 year-olds. OK, so now that I just wrote it, and can see it onscreen, that is definitely scary, and I'll say a welcome death knell for what is merely the MySpace of this decade. I mean when old folks think something is cool...

And don't count out MySpace, they just added a million new users. In one month! So maybe MySpace's downfall was just really bad mis-management. Not like it hasn't happened before. I mean look at Black Berry for god's sake. Or it could be I'm right and Facebook is actually that awful. Certainly the worst MySpace page looks positively glorious next to the "Communist Manifesto" look of Facebook.

Is my utter disdain coming through all right? Because I'm not so sure I'm being perfectly clear here.

There is something inherently wrong with Facebook. Admit it, you know it too, you just can't quite put your finger on it. That and you're too busy trending. Or what passes for "Cool" on Facebook.

But actually, right now that I am not on Facebook and being confused by all the noise, and can think clearly about Facebook for a minute, Facebook is more like a Yellow Pages for people. And the companies who bite the pitch and actually think that Facebook is a cool new way to intention and sell you something, more aggressively, by tricking you and the infamous and elusive opt in, via "Like".

The reason I know this is I used to be a consultant. As the famous poet Gary Oldman once said in "The Fifth Element", "I know this music". Braying that sound like praying. The all too familiar scam of the many "companies" and "consultants" that have sprung up to help you "position your Facebook message" and "strengthen your brand". You know the ones I'm talking about. Hell, half of them are started by former Facebook employees. Some are even funded by Facebook.

These are the same folks who are hyping, mixing and offering free drinks of the Koolaid by trying to get you to believe that Social Media is a new term. Here's a news flash: ALL Media is Social. Always has been. This whole suggestion is nothing but the latest attempt to define a new way to get paid by suggesting there is a new "thing" to advertise on.

Facebook is a Yellow Page because it encourages you to sell yourself. By only reporting the good things, the good times, the good accomplishments, in your life, Facebook rewards you with an instant update and tally of your followers who are mislabeled as your "Friends", and who are given only one option, to "Like" you, your news, or your thing.

Meanwhile, and understandably, and you really need to hear this Corporate America, Facebook users aren't there to actually buy anything. As much as Facebook and thief/founder Zuckface can't seem to understand and handle about truth and true friends, is that I actually find my real (not virtual friend) let us call him Ben McKay, far more interesting when I piss him off educate him on a topic about Iran, and he reacts to it with a pithy (possibly pissy) counter comment that pisses me off back, but educates me in the process. I respect my real friend Ben, far more, that when you click "Like" on everything I post. Because that is all you are empowered to do. Click Like, Click Like, Click Cluck, Cluck Cluck, Cluck, Cluck, Cluck, Ba-Baaauk!

Notice Facebook has no "Enemy" or "Hate" buttons? That's purely so losers or Zuckfaces and their fragile nerd-egos can claim that the high school cheerleader is their "Friend", and a way to display this to everyone, and not give the cheerleader any comfortable opportunity to tell them the cold hard truth. Online.

So now, with Facebook, the following all too necessary scenario never happens. The one that keeps people real and is part of the same safeguard built into our social and anthropological evolution, the same one that does not allow you to stand in line for an American Idol audition when you are in fact a demented, mental, car crash. Here's the scenario:

The scene is a familiar high school locker lined hallway in Everytown, USA.

You, the nerdy needy, un-confident omni-pimpled consummate "Teenager", nervously approach the hottie high school cheerleader captain, Suzie, and you say,

"Hi Suzie, would you be my Friend? And will you Like me?

Suzie looks at you with a level of disgust only reserved for the kind of matter that is ex or secreted by the body.

"Uh Noo, Geroossss! I'm su-ure!"

Aside from my obvious nostalgic penchant for the 80's, are you getting the subtle call of nature and the function and necessity of natural order now? Because Facebook was artificially engineered specifically to upset this very delicate and necessary balance.

Now, notice the lemming-like behaviors on Facebook. Or what has been re-named "Trending". Desperate people, desperate to be liked, to be linked, and desperately bragging about themselves. I use desperate, because they'll do it, even it kills them in a car crash.

We all have enough true friends, one is actually all you need, we actually don't need fake friends who we con into clicking a button so we can pretend they actually like us. We're the fools if we believe this. We are crazy when we believe that when we only post the good news, that this is now an acceptable redefinition of our "Life".

Keep in mind, that in spite of all the Friends and Likes on Facebook, it is still a largely sad and gloomy place. Are there reasonably 500,000,000 sad and gloomy people on the planet who need to pretend otherwise? I certainly hope so.

The Toyota ad said it best, a mom and dad are out having fun in a new SUV, hiking and camping and seeing the natural world, meanwhile their plain unwed nerd-daughter is sitting at a laptop watching videos of kittens, and claiming about it and her 600 Facebook friends, "This is living."

It isn't.


  1. Hi Bruce Bahmani, I think there are many other aspects about the questionable value of FB to add to your post. What I always feel most disgusting (and really annoying for educated, creative people) is the absolute static and ugly design of FB. It is worse than an army uniform, but maybe precisely reflects the wish of so many people to fit into a standard scheme.
    Just one question: What you mean by FB = YP ? What stands YP for ? My first thought was that it means "Your Problem" ? I.e. Facebook is your problem ?

    1. YP as in Yellow Pages. To me with the realization of the Socio-Type that is actively on FB, and the one size fits all medium, with the most barest opportunity to standout, FB has become nothing but a Yellow Pages for hat person desperate for some kind of self promotion. At least in MySpace you could be an individual, and if you recall, people were, and sure it was oftentimes and ugly individualism, but even more often you loved that ugliness. At least I did. God bless the days of the hideous black background with purple and pink and yellow obscenity of the cartoon fonted page design of MySpace, over the 1984-esque Ford Model-T-esque, you can have any color FaceBook page you want as long as it is grey and fits into the predetermined framework that Emperor cum Field Marshall Zuckerberg dictates. How boring! And you know what? I'm not that needy to sell my soul. I'm OK with the few real friends I've got. And I can exist just fine without the constant validation of my every post, based on the likes I force people into. My real friends a least have the courage to say, "Sorry bud, I simply don't like that." What Zuckerberg has done, and I think it tells us a damn lot about what kind of person he is, is take out the natural rejection from our true friends that makes us better human beings, makes us learn where the wall is, where the cliff is, where the utter dark abyss is. In Zuckerberg's utopia everyone has to be his friend and can only like what he does. Insane, utterly invented, and as ridiculously self-involved as that existence may be. Although I have to say, for some reason, I am enjoying Google+ a lot. It seems to have the benefits of Twitter and FB without the artificial liking. I have noticed that it is far harder to get a +1 on G+, than a Like on FB.

    2. Listening to the gossiping among our sons schoolmates I am sometimes schocked about their "amazing skills" in scheming intrigues against each other. And facebook provides quick tools for this. The kids understoud that while adult-style obvious mobbing is prohibited on FB, it can be offensive enough for somebody to see his/her name being removed from someone else list of friends.
      I somehow suspect that Zuckerbergs idea to make this tool the central element of FB must have to do with his experience at the college were he was treated by his campus-mates in the same way. This was how he learned about (and suffered from) social communication in its dark form.
      I did not knew that YP stands for yellow pages in your post, but I think that FB is much more dangerous that these. One might consider that Google is the intelligent and contemporary equvalent of old-style YP, where you can find valuable, essential information mixed with adverts and a bit self-promotion. But as compared to FB, this is still benign and I somehow believe that Sergij Brin meant it honestly when he asked the Google staff "not to be evil". Facebook, however, provides a platform for people with bad intentions.

      best regards Michael