09 February 2012

Facebook: Social Tyranny?

Facebook addicts, beware! Here are some quotes from the New York Times The Death of the Cyberflâneur. And, yes, the entire article is a sobering caution on the

“We want everything to be social,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said on “Charlie Rose” a few months ago.


The implications are clear: Facebook wants to build an Internet where watching films, listening to music, reading books and even browsing is done not just openly but socially and collaboratively. Through clever partnerships with companies like Spotify and Netflix, Facebook will create powerful (but latent) incentives that would make users eagerly embrace the tyranny of the “social,” to the point where pursuing any of those activities on their own would become impossible...isn’t it obvious that consuming great art alone is qualitatively different from consuming it socially? And why this fear of solitude in the first place?


It’s one thing to find an interesting article and choose to share it with friends. It’s quite another to inundate your friends with everything that passes through your browser or your app, hoping that they will pick something interesting along the way.


IT’S this idea that the individual experience is somehow inferior to the collective that underpins Facebook’s recent embrace of “frictionless sharing,” the idea that, from now on, we have to worry only about things we don’t want to share; everything else will be shared automatically. To that end, Facebook is encouraging its partners to build applications that automatically share everything we do: articles we read, music we listen to, videos we watch. It goes without saying that frictionless sharing also makes it easier for Facebook to sell us to advertisers, and for advertisers to sell their wares back to us.

Why do people act like sheep? According to a response on Yahoo, There's safety in numbers. If you don't *really* stand out, people don't really notice you as much (unless you want them to). If your style, opinions or choices are too individual, you are subjected to closer scrutiny from others.

How many sheep are on Facebook? Let me count the ways.

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