My Facebook Friends' Friends Are Idiots, Part 7

Bloggified by Jake on Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recently, Talk of the Nation did a segment about the dying newspaper industry during which the guest suggested that the industry's greatest weakness is its inability to understand that the internet is more than just a change in technology, but rather a change in philosophy. People who get their news online do not want to read a paper cover to cover, and anyone planning to produce the same product in a digital form is likely to fail.

NBC is facing a similar problem with its Olympic coverage. Years ago, ABC aired "Wide World of Sports" on Saturday afternoons. The show featured prerecorded sporting events, often days or weeks old. It didn't matter, though, because viewers often didn't know the results. For years, the Olympics have been covered the same way. When primetime rolled around, the network aired a series of edited segments recorded during the afternoon's play. People could stay blissfully unaware of the results because the newspaper wouldn't come out until the next morning and radio and TV stations often agreed not to reveal outcomes until after they aired.

Today, however, you can watch live streaming events on sites from other countries. Instead of being at the mercy of NBC, viewers who want to see the Swedish curling team take on Team Finland--which wouldn't get even a mention from Bob Costas, much less a clip--can watch every minute of play in either nation's native tongue. Because news doesn't wait until the morning paper is published, TV and radio can't pretend things didn't happen. Your drive home in the evening will be peppered with spoiler warnings from deejays and news readers, telling you to turn down the radio if you don't want to know who won gold in the Super-G.

Like the above examples, it's easy to think of Facebook like a big party with all of your friends. And all your friends invited all their friends. And all the friends' friends invited their friends and so on and so on.

In such a social setting, you might be engaged in a conversation with a friend, when one of their other friends jumped in to participate as well. In some cases, that friend might even be someone you know! For example, the only time I ever talk to Rhonda, one of my closest friends in 12th grade, is when I see her at the birthday parties of Ryno's kids.

In such a case, it would be perfectly acceptable to interrupt the flow of the conversation to interject a "long time no see" or "hey, what's up?!"


However, Facebook is not a party! It's a website. If you see someone who is a friend of a friend, you can send them a friend request. You can send them a message. You can poke them. You can do all of this out of sight of the rest of your Facebook friends without hijacking a stream of conversation.

The new technology represents more than just a faster way to do the same thing, so pull your head out of your ass.

1 sarcastic replies:

Jennifer Juniper said...

Holy crap. That kind of thing drives me fucking CRAZY!

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