This morning, I read that Facebook Questions was performing extremely well, and might even be a rival for the previous questions sensation, Quora. This is exciting news for Facebook, but my newsfeed is less than impressed. Ever since its installation, I’ve been subjected to a string of aimless questions, from friends and strangers alike – it’s unrepentant, it happened faster than the FarmVille wave, and it looks like it’s here to stay.
When it first arrived, I was charmed – I’ll admit it – I was excited to be launched into many a thrilling debate: South vs. North, Which ‘Shire’ is the real ‘Shire’? (Bucks, of course), Coke or Pepsi? I even asked a question of my own, a very tepid ‘who is using Facebook Questions?’ The options I gave – very creatively – were ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘you’re a fool’ – we all know which one won.
But with more and more people entering the fray, and after I misplaced my rose tinted shades, I can’t help but wonder whether Facebook Questions is just becoming a senseless census, where people can ask questions pertinent to a small number of people and then subject them to the whole number of people. As pointed out by @MartinSenyszak on Twitter, a current question doing the rounds at the moment is – ‘Which of these NME 100 Best Albums (2003) do you have?’ I don’t care – it’s 2011.
As Mashable reported, from a marketing point of view, the tool is a fantastic way for Brand’s to conduct market research, within their communities and beyond. But on my part, it’s causing unintentional statistics voyeurism, and I wish I could turn it off.
I’m a digital native; I swing from platform to platform like a monkey on vines, and I ‘like’ and I comment and I upload images, of my digital-native-life, as I go. I was there at the birth of mass social media, and I grabbed that bull by the horns. But what if you’re not a digital native and you weren’t there at the birth of social media – with so many platforms to choose from, where are you supposed to start?
When I chose to became part of this ‘social media’, I got a MySpace; it was either that or Bebo, at the time, and Bebo was a ‘northern thing’. It was an easy decision for me, and it was where my friends were. When Facebook arrived, I made the transition, and it, too, was an easy decision. It was back in the days when platforms – and communities – were few and far between, and choice was limited – a concept which, juxtaposed to nowadays, seems dreamy and utopian.
Now, social media newbies are faced with such an overwhelming choice of social networks, it begs the question – how many are too many? Whether you’re looking for a place to share your appreciation,your art, your music, connect with your friends or to keep in touch with distant family members –there’s a platform for that! You’ll just have to dig around and find it.
You’ll then have to factor in mobile operating systems, and whether your chosen networks have apps or are mobile-web accessible, if you’re planning on taking your network on the road. Of course, once you’ve made these decisions, the real battle is then trying to manage and maintain each individual social media presence – as there’s yet to be a platform that truly encompasses every user’s core needs, and with global diversity, there’s unlikely to ever be one.
It’s not an easy decision finding your ideal network anymore, and from the vast amounts of barren profiles across the Internet, it appears to be a process of elimination. After trying to maintain various different social networking endeavors myself, through aggregation services, optimization, connectivity and ambidexterity – I’ve reduced my efforts, to focus on my favourite networks. I’m now a Facebooker that tweets, and occasionally Instagrams lunch. What are you?
In the grand scheme of things, appreciation in the digital age has become lazy. It has. You now don’t need to write a few words in response to a funny or interesting status on Facebook, you simply ‘like’ it, and go about your business. It’s the same with Tumblr and the re-blog, and Twitter and the retweet. It’s that non-committal pat on the back, which you’re able to dispense at the touch of a button and be done with it – dialogue is dead, and it’s the year of depreciated appreciation. (Well, not entirely, but you get my point.)
Having just read up on Daps’em, a platform for appreciation, it got me thinking about how appreciation is affecting dialogue in the digital age. When on Facebook now, I find myself ‘liking’ more and commenting far less, because a ‘like’ takes a second, whereas a comment takes longer, and involves some active thought. (With a comment, you’re also now required to write something so spectacular, that it, too, can score a ‘like’ – nobody is safe.)
With this structure in place, appreciation has become autonomous, and for me, has lost its value. Before the ‘like’ button appeared, Facebook required you to actively participate in a conversation, and in turn stimulated dialogue. Applying the new structure to real life dialogue, it would be like your friend saying something and you thumbs-upping them, and walking off. Can you imagine how awkward a phone call would be?
It’s this type of depreciated appreciation, which is coming to the forefront of almost all social platforms, and it’s really affecting dialogue – and even the way we interact with our friends. In a world where social media is a prominent fixture in the majority of lives, it’s something that needs to adjust, as this ‘social’ media is becoming progressively anti-social.
Over the last few years we’ve watched social media grow, and with it – social gaming. It’s a different facet to the gaming world, and it’s dominated by an entirely different demographic – mums. That’s right; mums are the new hardcore gamers.
When I was a hardcore gamer, I enjoyed playing Grand Theft Auto. I was a gangster; I’d run rampant around a digital city and steal cars and pick up hookers. I’d do this for hours, and my mum would always frown, tell me it was bad for my eyes, and then suggest perhaps taking a walk in the fresh air.
Now, with the social gaming boom, the tables have turned – and we’re seeing a different type of gangster, picking up a different kind of hoe.
It seems like social games like Zynga’s FarmVille (2009) and Mafia Wars (2009) have been around since the dawn of time, well at least since the dawn of the internet, and that’s because when they arrived, they went viral. I can’t pin-point the exact day when my Facebook news feed started to fill up with FarmVille invites and updates, but I do know that when it happened it was all I saw for at least a month – the social gaming wagon wheeled past, and one by one my friends jumped on for the ride.
Thankfully, for my news feed – and sanity – this soon died down, but in its wake came…the mums. As Zynga’s Global Director of Brand Advertising, Manny Anekal, rightly said: social gaming is the new daytime TV. The mums have taken the gaming world by storm and, move over Jeremy Kyle, they have cabbages to plant!
Hi, my name is Andy and I enjoy short-form mixed media and avenged seven fold vocalist, M. Shadows. I have a tumblog called the Color of Art, where I post my thoughts; I sometimes access this from school – I know, fight the man.
Right, none of the above is actually true…but it is what I’d have my DeviantART followers – all two of them – believe.
To give you some context, I’m a fiend. I’m a fickle internet fiend, and I have a penchant for re-inventing myself with new accounts and usernames, just ‘cause I can. However, I forget that the internet never forgets. And with the increased amount of account based web pages – I must be setting up a new account for something at least once a week – It’s hard to keep track of all my personal properties.
Therefore, when I fell out with my Twitter username, and created a new account with a different name – and then adjusted my Tumblr account to mirror this – but then forget that my old Tumblr account was listed in my old DeviantART account – yes, old. I have a different one now. Fickle – I started to mislead my followers – apologies Pam, apologies Sue – into believing that I was now attending an American high school and into moshing and avenging things sevenfold…and crying at classic films! The very thought, I’m British!
I had never considered where my old usernames went, prior to this incident. I had always thought that once I changed the username to a new one, my old one went into this orphanage of usernames where it became malnourished and pined after me. I had never considered that it might actually be used by another – adopted, if you will. Who says original thought is dead?
But it had! My old username had been adopted by an American boy who is now inadvertently masquerading as me on Tumblr…
So, the moral of this story is – always update your properties with your new usernames, otherwise the internet will let people believe you cry at classic films. Well, that’s what I got from it anyway.