It sometimes feels as though Facebook has been around forever. That is testament to the hypnotic power of social media. Facebook, along with other popular sites, has become so ingrained in our daily lives that we find ourselves having to suddenly remember that there was a time when you knew all your friend’s home phone numbers off by heart. Now, I don’t even know my own mother’s mobile number.
Facebook is my last link to people who have come into my life, but then moved away to far off places. It means that I always have that direct line that cannot fail. Frequently phones and numbers are lost/changed.
I’m beginning to worry that it’s making us complacent, having direct contact at our fingertips. I’m always thinking that I’ll send [insert name of friend] a message [whenever I have free time in the future] because I CAN do it any time. It basically means I won’t. I’ll forget, then remember, then forget again and repeat the cycle. Rather than granting us opportunities that we seize, it’s making us lazy and easily distracted.
Let’s be honest, people get friendship and being Facebook friends confused. One does not have to go hand in hand with the other. For that reason, Facebook could be on its way out. Facebook isn’t about the exciting possibility of having all your contacts in one place, it’s about forced indirect social interaction; ‘likes’ on Facebook are essentially meaningless because it is the equivalent of you saying a sentence to a person in real life and them giving you a real life thumbs up. It’s vague and pointless most of the time.
Having one site that does lots of things just fine doesn’t beat a site with one clear direction. Twitter replaced Facebook status’ while also freeing up the links between people, allowing anyone to follow anyone else; apart from the occasional ‘private’ person. The 140 character limit means that people have to be concise and to the point. If they have more to say then they are likely to use bigger websites, like Tumblr or Blogger to put forth their thoughts/opinions/etc.
Facebook does have the advantage of having already hooked people in, meaning their shared photos and fleeting friendships are only visible through the website, and saving all those photos you would want to keep is a lengthy process that some won’t want to find the time for. Then again, look at myspace, it lost out to Facebook, so rebranded as a musician social media instead. But what could Facebook become? LinkedIn is the business social media profile service, Instagram has photos and videos. So many other sites are specialising that Facebook’s everything in one banner could be its downfall.
I think it’s time to take a long hard look at Facebook, by which I don’t mean Facebook stalk people, and decide whether its really something we need to bother with any more. Isn’t Facebook done now?