Headline, August 27 2022/ ''' '' FACEBOOK FLATTERING FARAWAYS '' '''


 FARAWAYS '' '''


YES, 13 YEARS AGO I WAS AN EVANGELIST for the social media platform. Early in 2009, I  offered the world some tech advice that I have regretted pretty much ever since : I told everyone to join Facebook.

Actually that's putting it mildly. I didn't just tell people. I harangued. I mocked. Writing in Slate, I all but reached through the screen grabbed Facebook skeptics by the lapels and scolded them for being pompous, mirthless luddites. 

''There is no longer any good reason to avoid Facebook,'' I wrote shortly after the then-five-year-old company announced growing to 150 million users worldwide. ''The site has crossed a threshold - it is now so widely trafficked that it's fast becoming a aid to social interaction, like email and antiperspirant.''

I wasn't just wrong about Facebook; I had the matter exactly backward. Had we all decided to leave Facebook then or any time since, the internet and perhaps the world might now be a better place. The question of how much better and in what way is a matter of considerable debate.

It might be decades before we have any sense of an answer to whether, on balance, Facebook in particular and social networks more generally have improved or ruined society.

Yet whatever the outcome of that larger debate, my 2009 exhortation for people to go all in on Facebook still made me cringe. My argument suffers from the same flaws I regularly climb up on my mainstream- media soapbox to denounce in tech bros : a failure to seriously consider the implications of an invention as it becomes entrenched in society; a deep trust in networks.

In the idea that allowing people to more freely associate would redound mainly to the good of society; and too much affection for the culture of Silicon Valley and the idea that the people who created a certain thing must have some clue about what to do with it.

I should have known better. At that point I'd been covering technology for nearly a decade. I'd written of the ways corporations were trying to wrest control of the internet and I'd worried about how the Internet might unravel the social fabric.

Just a year before I'd published a book outlining the ways that digital media was accelerating our shift toward what I called a ''post-fact'' world. So why, at the dawn of 2009, was I foisting Facebook on the masses? I've got three answers.

I Got Carried Away By The Excitement Of New Tech : Facebook had not yet become the world's largest social network.- it would beat MySpace later in 2009. But by then the one-founded in 2004 by a Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg had set itself apart from dozens of competitors mainly through its operational excellence :

Facebook worked, it was relatively easy to use, it was full of real people posting under their real names, and it had relatively more powerful privacy controls than many of its competitors. [This is true ! Facebook once was among the more privacy-conscious social networks].

Social networks, I observed, got better as more people used them; it seemed reasonable that at some point one social network would gain widespread acceptance and become a comprehensive directory for connecting everyone.

This was the core of my argument. I'd become enamored of the utility of Facebook - of the magic of looking someone up and finding that exact person, a thing that sounds unimpressive today but was simply mind-blowing then. As an immigrant, I'd also bought into the world shrinking implications of such a network.

Before Facebook, I'd felt completely disconnected from my relatives in South Africa.

Then, in 2007 and 2008, lots of them started to join Facebook. Suddenly I had a bird's eye-view of their faraway lives, and they had a view of mine - which is not as annoying as it sounds. Indeed, I felt connected to them in ways that had never seemed possible before. How could such a connection be bad for us?

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Social Media, Facebook and the world, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Farhad Manjoo.

With respectful dedication to the Grandparents, Parents, Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society -the exclusive ownership of every student in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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