How to fix Facebook

The NYT asked nine experts how to “fix” facebook. Kevin Kelly (my favorite tech guru) offered the following suggestion:

“Facebook should reduce anonymity by requiring real verification of real names for real people, with the aim of having 100 percent of individuals verified.”

“Companies would need additional levels of verification, and should have a label and scrutiny different from those of people. (Whistle-blowers and dissidents might need to use a different platform.)”

“Facebook could also offer an optional filter that would keep any post (or share) of an unverified account from showing up. I’d use that filter.”

Why Dave Winer won’t point to Facebook posts

He has two other reasons with which I agree, but this is my favorite:

“It’s supporting their downgrading and killing the web. Your post sucks because it doesn’t contain links, styling, and you can’t enclose a podcast if you want. The more people post there, the more the web dies. I’m sorry no matter how good your idea is, fuck you I won’t help you and Facebook kill the open web.”

I’ll have a blog till the day I die or I’m too far gone to maintain it. God willing, I’ll have an AI to take over at that point.

“Mobile is going to crush Facebook”

“The logic for Facebook’s price decline is that they have a problem in mobile. They can’t offer all the games they can in a browser. They can’t offer the same ads or branding opportunities. All true,” he writes. “If you think mobile will displace online usage from PCs then you should immediately short Google and other ad plays and buy TV stations and networks. If you can’t buy an ad effectively on mobile and no one is using a PC to connect to the internet any more, then the only way to reach an audience is going to be via good old tv. And all that over the top video noise, forgettabout it.”

Mark Cuban on Facebook

“Idea people are boring”

I think I have found the answer to why I can’t get the hang of Facebook, THE social network enjoyed by half a billion people.

“There are two types of people in the world. One type is people-oriented. When they make conversation, it is about people — what people are doing, what someone said, how someone feels. The other group is idea-oriented. When they make conversation, they talk about ideas and concepts and objects. Idea people are boring, even to other idea people.”

O-kay. I found this explanation in God’s Debris, my favorite Scott Adams book. Mr. Adams would say that people on Facebook only seem to be babbling.

“When a person talks about people, it is personal to everyone who listens. You will automatically relate the story to yourself, thinking how you would react in that person’s situation, how your life has parallels.”

If I’m honest, I guess I am more interested in ideas than in people. Now we know.

Facebook Pariah

A friend sent me a link to a post on Gizmodo written by someone named Sam Biddle. The title of the post is: “If You’re Not On Facebook,It’s Time to Get Over Yourself.” Here’s an excerpt:

“Everyone knows one of those self righteous Facebook abstainers. Social media luddites. Pushing aside modern society in favor of a purer lifestyle, devoid of pokes, tags, and feeds. Except really, these people aren’t defending anything except antisocial, extremely annoying behavior. And if you’re one of them—you need to stop.”

Sam goes on in this vein for several paragraphs. As one of those people that just can’t get the hang of Facebook, I hear this sentiment frequently. If you read the post, be sure to read some of the comments, too.

I’m guessing that most people reading this post are on Facebook. I mean, most people I know are on Facebook. So I’ll take this opportunity to take a little survey.

  1. If half of your fiends left Facebook and moved to a new service, would you follow them?
  2. If your ten most interesting friends left, would you follow them?
  3. If everybody EXCEPT your ten most interesting friends left, would you stay with them on Facebook?
  4. If ALL of your friends left for a competing social space, would you go too?

Most people I know who are hard-core Facebook’ers might have trouble answering these questions because they can’t imagine a future without Facebook.

But if it really is about engaging with your friends, the platform would be secondary, right?

Please don’t give me a lecture. You won’t be able to top Mr. Biddle. But you can answer those 4 questions.