Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Still on Facebook?

Many of us joined Facebook last year, and I still like it for the photos, Scrabble (although the lawyers are manoevering to stop it) and now Chess. I don't really need to know most of the updates, and I've always ignored those applications that turn you into a zombie or something stupid. And I've noticed that my friends on it are boiling down into a hardcore set of facebook-refuseniks. Last summer a lot of people came on, posted their profile and went back a couple of times. But then they drifted away.

Facebook is fun, but I think people make a mistake if they reckon that it's 'important' in some society-changing sense. The Atomic Bomb was 'important' and Galileo, and Penicillin, but not Facebook. I think there's a problem for Facebook which is remarkably similar to the problem other more conventional businesses face as they deal with the web; it's dashed difficult to get people to pay money for anything beyond books and airline tickets.

Stripped of its various allures, what Facebook is about is the surrender of your details for marketing purposes, in return for a sheen of techy-sociability. This is why, until very recently, it's been impossible to delete yourself from Facebook. We're all they have.

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