Listen people, Facebook was a brilliant concept. If the wheels ever come off and Facebook becomes the next MySpace or Friendster it will be because they long ago abandoned the simple utility it used to provide: a place to keep the party with your friends going online. All the moves towards forcing everyone to be public and trying to shove friendship with Tide laundry detergent or Clorox bleach down our throats just ruin the simple beauty of marveling over your buddy’s drunk photo from the night before.
Facebook has the cash to sustain itself forever and they probably will roll out Look Back movies in 3D for the twentieth anniversary, but it’s not going to hold the same place in the hearts of the next generation. They are putting their stupidity somewhere “safer” (Snapchat), recognizing that Mark Zuckerberg – for all his Millennial hubris and idealism – is really just a money hungry sellout. Which is fine, I advocate selling out. If I’d made Facebook I’d be on Ko Phi Phi island right now chilling out and not still sitting as CEO of Facebook in San Francisco. Facebook is positioned to be the white pages of the internet. That’s fine, but it’s about as exciting as, well, the white pages.
Furthering this, Facebook’s hunger for your real name and lack of privacy is going to be the other nail in their coffin. A friend changed her name to some hybrid of her first and middle name while applying to jobs. As my social network approaches it’s thirties this is increasingly common. Total fake names, hybrid names, names with prefixes and suffixes are probably 40% of my friends now. This is rational behavior by Facebook users in my opinion. My friend then tried to change it to something slightly closer to her real name and Facebook deactivated her account until she provided a government issued ID. Now her Facebook can only use her full first, middle, and last names. She’s a doctor. She’s been using Facebook since 2004 and used it as intended. It’s strange to me that Facebook doesn’t see that by following this path they’re making it impossible for old people (ie, not college kids) to comfortably keep their own Facebook account as they transition to later stages of life because a Facebook account tied to your name is as dangerous as having a felony on your record. One drunk photo from ten years ago can ruin a teacher’s career because some overly pious parent might hunt the teacher down and throw a shit-fit about it.
A lot of this hit me while watching everyone’s look back videos. Some were beautiful, but most found ways to surface really awkward exes or moments from the last ten years. I watched mine and decided I could do better. I’ve since seen funnier parodies and folks who did a better job than I did, but I’m not going to link to them because this isn’t their cool website.
I’d love to see yours though. Feel free to post a link and I’ll watch and laugh.