Facebook is a meat grinder full of of meaningless links, shares, and pseudo-motivational text over images. It’s a place where brands go to make their brands feel more personal. It’s the place where a tornado of false stories are shared between middle-aged communities who don’t know how to check their sources. It’s a place where smartphone users go because they’re addicted to checking the feed. Facebook is no longer a good place to communicate between friends.
It was all a dream
When I first logged in to Facebook, users needed a legitimate email address from a college to get in. It was like keeping a line in front of the door in order to make the venue seem popular. It wasn’t a perfect way to drive growth, but it did mean that the venue was made for people, not products.
I met new friends at my college I might not have met had it not been for Facebook. Now the only reason I don’t delete my Facebook account is the fact that I use it for work, managing articles posted to SlashGear’s Facebook page. Facebook is a necessity – something I’m only on because I have to be.
The same is true for almost every friend I’ve made since Facebook started to exist. They don’t need to have a Facebook app on their phone, and they don’t use Facebook for anything productive. It’s certainly not a place where the primary function is friends making new friends.
A new kind of social network
A new Facebook would be part of a company, not a company in and of itself. Facebook wouldn’t be a monstrous company whose survival depends on monetizing its users. A new Facebook wouldn’t try to be everything all at once.
All I want is a place where people can speak with one another and share personal experiences across time zones. All I want is a place like that without the very much extremely obvious targeted advertisements and focus on all-encompassing growth.
But that’s not going to happen.
Cross your fingers
Facebook was made at a time when nothing else like it was available, and its growth went wild because of its value proposition. You need to be here if you want to communicate with your friends online, it said, essentially. Now, in the absence of any worthwhile competition, it’s all we’ve got.
And it’s a bummer. Because Facebook isn’t a company focused on friends. Facebook is focused on making sure every human being lives in an environment that’s good for the growth of Facebook. The only way we’ll do away with this sort of an environment is to remove the drive for profit. Or if the whole platform were reduced to people only – no brands allowed.
Here’s hoping we’ll get something better when the blockchain starts to ring in the decentralized privacy-by-default. Cross your fingers that human beings want a positive community enough to make it a reality.