Dave’s example of what Facebook is good for is similar to why I’m still on Facebook.
I don’t use Facebook much anymore. Twitter is more my speed. But I logged on a few months ago and the algorithm surfaced a picture that Jon had posted, grinning on his couch, with his wife and kid. It’s the same damn grin that I remember from our youth – a full-force “I’m exactly where I ought to be” smile. It made my day a little better. It’s nice to have an occasional, lightweight reminder of the good people I’ve known through the years.
It left me thinking, this is what Facebook is actually good for. It’s what Facebook barely is anymore.
I’ve moved across the country a couple of times now. I’ve lived in 5 different states and have contacts and friends around the country. (And some outside of the US). Facebook, when it allows me to see someone’s new marriage, their kids, or even the sad things they are living with, provides the best way I’ve found to at least keep in touch in some small way with a lot of those folks.
It’s all the other stuff that makes Facebook terrible. The worst part is pushing news and politics front and center and the insane number of posts that are either outright ads or “suggestions”. There’s also the constant feeling that my efforts to share what’s going on in my life are seen by fewer and fewer of the people I’m connected to. (Because of all the other stuff they have to weed through to find it.)
And, as Dave points out, Facebook could have been just that. But that’s not mansion money. That’s not early investors becoming millionaire money. Silicon Valley, Venture Capitalists, and the tech industry aren’t interested in small, sustainable tools. They want billions.
It’s a familiar story. One we’ve seen play out across the Web and the technology sector. One we will see play out in Crypto, Metaverse, and Web 3.0 soon. (You could even argue those things only exist because there are people looking for big money, as Dave points out below.)
So, where are the small tools that make our lives better instead of trying to get “mansion-rich” off of us? The ones we won’t eventually come to hate? Is it even possible to create them anymore?