Lots of talk recently about the distinctions between Millennials, digital natives and their older generational counterparts. This is an insider tactic for leveraging fear the olds have about their technological skills. As most people in charge of things are olds, it makes sense that younger or more technically competent people would socially leverage their tech chops to level the playing field. I’ve seen it in full resolution over the past 15 years. It’s nothing new. People use coded terms and words to mark themselves and to suss out new acquaintances. Technical competency does this too.
Facebook has been a key tool in this social manipulation. I’m wondering if it has gone too far. While Kid-King Zuck does his best Steve Jobs impression introducing new features and functionality, KKZ and company has made what I believe to be a fatal UI/UX mistake by finally over-featuring Facebook.
Features that aren’t used are worse than waste. They are obstructions and confusions that cause frustration and internal dissonance in the user–alienating them from the technology. “why did I post that?” “who cares?” and “Ooh did I creepy over-share?” These are not pleasant thoughts. Our brain punishes us for them. As Facebook becomes more sophisticated, it becomes more complex and stressful. People have to budget their time. I’m a big believer that social media is a feature (a means) and not a platform (an end in itself). We don’t Facebook just to Facebook but KKZ&Co. seems intent on making that happen– even though they contend they are not. “Don’t just enjoy–share” seems like a good mantra until you consider the consequences (asymmetric surveillance). Its no “eureka moment” to understand the platform must self-generate useful data. People like things that are easy. The Open Graph does that just dandy.
The data-mining prospects for Facebook are now mindbogglingly rich. Pre-crime is no longer science fiction. It will be absolutely possible- given the size of the dataset- to begin to uncover “Lone Wolves” –to see anger, depression, persecution complexes, and delusions of grander emerge in digital behavior even before they manifest physically. That’s provided, of course, people stay on the platform. They may not but probably will. Sadly I expect to see people who don’t Facebook treated with more than just a little suspicion. That isn’t good. Facebook takes more than it gives.
RWW has pointed out that Facebook’s feature roll out seems a lot like AOLs in the bad ol’ days. Features become just so much bloated code. Isn’t that what happened to Microsoft? Isn’t that the single biggest risk to Apple? Apple’s case is particularly interesting given their success is tied directly to elegant simplicity. Ironically, making things simple is very hard. I think it was too hard for Facebook and it may be too frustrating for users.
That said, power users are building groups and spending a little extra time to shut out the prying eyes. Facebook allows that, and that may explain why IT folks are generally happier with the current changes than Facebook’s core audiences. Google+’s circles accomplish the same thing in fact its built on groups but Google+ demonstrates the high cost of switching. People just aren’t migrating. Yet.
All we need is an api that reports on the behavior we want to merchandise. Everyone has a dataset of behavior that we all would share if the social contract was more fair and more opt-in as opposed to opt out. I forecast an api that allows everyone to strip the interface (Google+ Facebook myspace etc.). The end game is really the sign-in and owning the authentication key. That’s actually the holy grail in all these efforts is and where MSFT and APPL are really missing the money train. Users want to make certain data available on a permissions basis – without the clunky and unnecessary middleman platform.
Personally my Facebook news stream looks more and more like my inbox did in 1999. A stream of business news with jokes and personal stories sprinkled in.
Honestly, it is far too easy to extend personal anecdotes about Facebook. It’s a dumb thing to do. People ALWAYS complain loudly when they change it . Still, more features do not make a better experience. Improvements that cause increased complexity are not really improvements as much as they are just changes.
Pre-crime and Gladys Kravitz as Big Brother aside, Facebook isn’t going anywhere. Marketers must adapt. Usage could fall an unimaginable 20-30 % and it wouldn’t matter much. I’m skeptical of more centralization on the web. It rarely works. Something is needed to thread or web presence together but I’m not sure an “entertainment sharing platform” is the thing that will do it. I still expect Yammer and Jive or a competitive equivalent yet to be named to come on strong (because of security) and pull us away from changing our settings on Facebook and put us in control of our communication again. Facebook is an enormous security risk and productivity suck for business. I just can’t see businesses of any size continuing to allow greater access as Facebook grows forward. All that aside, the cost of switching to Google+ is high because the Kid-King has your social record and he’s got no intention of ever giving it back. Migrating your data will be made very difficult. That’s the price of free.
A large, fast migration is unlikely. I anticipate Facebooks demise as death by 1,000 cuts. Slowly, as kids deem Facebook uncool and pick up other tools that are faster, more relevant and more opaque to their parents. That is still at least 5 years away.
For now though, professionally and personally, we’ll suck it up– complain for a few days and then go back to our regularly scheduled posting. I’m looking forward to the next thing.
What does Amy Winehouse have to do with the Norway terror besides sad timing?
Authenticity. Extreme authenticity.
Sad, yes. Unrelated no. The Norway massacre is infinitely sadder and more tragic that the death of an over-privileged singer, but they are two sides of the same misunderstood coin.
Both people responsible for the tragedies were motivated–indeed obsessed– with authenticity.
For Winehouse it couldn’t be simpler than the confusion that one associates with a God-given gift: Why me? Am I a freak? How do I deserve it? Is It real? How can I test it? Sadly, drugs provided the insight at predatory pricing.
For Mass murderer Anders Breivik it is the his sense of an inauthentic Europe.
Authenticity gives things value, Value can be perverted into a proxy for meaning, and meaning matters. We are all–each of us– seeking meaning. But when acting as a proxy, authenticity becomes an illusory shortcut to meaning.
It is always dangerous and often deadly when authenticity becomes the end itself.
You can read the rants of Breivik and understand immediately that he is off the deep-end. It just happens to be the same deep-end that Amy Winehouse jumped into, confused by the meaning of her talent, I think Amy’s obsession with authenticity is identical to Brevik’s. She expressed it in a lifestyle driven slow suicide. He expressed his obsession with unimaginable horror.
Authenticity is at the root of radical Islam too. That’s why the papers got the Oslo tragedy so wrong in the beginning. In the West we immediately associate death for authenticity most with radical Islamists, even though that is a prejudice that doesn’t hold up to any scrutiny.
Like Charles Manson, Breivik thought his insanity would spark a revolution. My suspicion is that he surrendered so that he could further work to express is mad interpretations of his faith and political ideals. We’ll also likely learn that he left the Norwegian right-wing Progress Party, because he felt it wasn’t authentic enough–not true enough to its principals.
On a twitter page associated with Breivik the following quote was found:
“One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”
The irony, too, is tragic: The quote is paraphrase of John Stuart Mill the 19th Century utilitarian Libertarian. Strange bedfellows indeed.
John Lennon died from the gunshot of an insane person obsessed with authenticity: Mark David Chapman. Chapman had just finished “Catcher In The Rye” whose protagonist is driven insane trying to reconcile the authenticity of the inner life with the utility of social compromise.
Interestingly even the recent banal budget entanglements are stalled by the same problem. Signed pledges to ideology, purity tests, and blind allegiances lock negotiations and keep our political representatives from finding utilitarian solutions to very real problems.
I sometimes get criticized for connecting trivial entertainment news with serious tragic historic events but they help us understand the simple conflicts that drive power and attention. We seek meaning and reliability, continuity and trust.
Attributes so rare they can lead to obsession and tragedy.
Details Magazine has a cover story in its August edition. Noting:
“Exalting the handmade, the painstakingly crafted, the authentic, is not just for hipsters in Portland and Brooklyn anymore—small-batch has mass appeal. How the artisanal movement became our national consumer religion.
Yes, indeed it has. Of course if you’d downloaded and read Future: Present, you’d be well aware of that trend and its implications for your brand. The eBook will be free only for a few more weeks– so download the pdf or the audio while it’s still free.
Much has been written about Miley Cyrus and her recent change to distance herself from her Hannah Montana character. It was ta terrible idea as the New York Times points out today.
So last month, when Ms. Cyrus released her post-adolescent anthem, “Can’t Be Tamed,” her once-adoring fan was unimpressed, unmoved by, among other things, the singer’s sexy music video.
“It was weird,” Perry said of Ms. Cyrus’s bird wings and black ribbon corset. “I feel like she acts 25. She looks so old. She is too old for herself.” She, like others her age, has had enough. First-week album sales for the more adult “Can’t Be Tamed” tallied a mere 102,389, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales. That was 72 percent less than her 2008 solo debut, “Breakout,” and 33 percent less than last year’s “Time of Our Lives,” both of which were popular with teenagers.
Readers of my book will recognize this failure to be utterly predictable. Ms. Cyrus and her strategists should never have equated sexuality with maturity. Kids are generally alienated by the quantity of sex in their media. The movement to conservatism continues on the young end. Not only can Taylor Swift sing better– her style is more on pitch as well.
People don’t buy what you make they buy why you make them. Simon Sinek has a model for inspirational leadership starting with the question “Why?”. He discusses the diffusion of innovation model that I’m a big fan of Thanks to Jon Sinton for the link.
Here is a link to my web book. Audio, links to full text, and complete pdf all here. I really hope you like it. I took me a while to finish it and get all the audio done. Please email me if you find anything I can fix or do to make it better. I tried to reduce the amount of clicks one must endure to get to the right content.
In 1993 AT&T gave a remarkably clear view of what things would be like in 2009. Remember these ads?
Because this is my blog I get to put up stuff that is funny sometimes. There is of course much for the mediathinker here:
First, Cracked.com may be the funniest site on the web. Well-written, interesting, smart and more than just snarky. Notice the pre-roll ad from Google. Notice the crawl ads below the content when it plays and recall this blogs last post about Simpsons being more valuable on Hulu than on Fox.
The clutter police of much to complain about of course but, in the end, this is the state of the art in video content revenue generation.
A spoon-full of sugar always helps the medicine go down. Enjoy!
Everybody knows Lambert will win this season’s Idol but there may be some surprises in store none the less.
According to The New York Post “a glitch in the Apple software allowed fans a glimpse at which contestants are selling the most “Idol” download.” And, in what will come as a surprise to many Idol fans, Gokey was not the first or second most popular artist.
While Lambert, as expected, is the most downloaded artist so far with 6 of the top 10 top tracks, Kris Allen actually occupies 3 of the slots, while Gokey has just 1 song on the list. Of course, American Idol fans don’t vote on singing skills alone, and Gokey, as you might know, has a compelling backstory, which could make all of this irrelevant.