Monday, April 15, 2013

The Rise and Fall of the Facebook Empire

I know, I'm a tad bit premature.

But those of us who were around during Myspace's meteoric rise and inevitable decline know the signs. We were there. We witnessed the day that the strength of sparkly html backgrounds failed.

Myspace was the first, but it was far from the last. And what I find fascinating about social networks is that we've spiralled inward rather than outward. Each platform is more restrictive than the last. Look at the timeline:

1. Myspace
The world's first real taste of what it meant to have online friends. The giddy freedom of Myspace seems unfathomable now. You could pick your own color scheme, background picture, fonts, layout... you could even force everyone to listen to horrible pop music while they visited your profile!
2. Facebook
Over the years I've come to the inescapable conclusion that what Facebook had going for it was exclusivity. You see, in the beginning... oh whatever, you watched The Social Network, you know the story. Mark Zuckerburg created/stole/whatevered the site only for his Ivy league buddies. But then, like the plague, its scope widened to encompass other universities, and then high schools, and then THE WORLD.

3. Twitter
But although Facebook constrained its users to one specific layout, folk got damn wordy. So what do you do? Pop over to Twitter, where its users are restrained to 140 characters. It forces you to get to the point fast.
4. G+
Okay so this BARELY counts as a social media network, but I feel like I need to put it on here because so many of us were forced into it by our poor decisions. Who knew that using gmail and blogger would be so risky? G+ hovers in the background like a Rihanna song that nobody actually likes, but the radio stations insist on playing because they got it in a two for one deal.
Share what? With who? What are these circles
and why do they matter? Messages from who?!

5. Snapchat
Nobody over the age of 18 uses this (yet), but practice safe sexting! That is pretty much what I'm getting from this.

Practice safe duckface!
For the love of all that's holy
do not google image.
Each platform is more restrictive than the last, until we get to Snapchat which is so restrictive that it actually doesn't even let you keep your data (you know, in theory). Compare this to, say, Livejournal, which is even older than Myspace - essentially a simplified website in blog form so easy that anybody could create one. You could pick your own background, profile picture, layout, color scheme... and now, your words and pictures disappear forever in under 10 seconds.

The question really is, where do we go from here? Even smaller? I'm thinking Morse code is about to make a comeback.

It's retro chic!


  1. No kidding! You forgot Chatroulette. :)

    My son showed it to me one evening after dinner. You just surf the chat channels through your webcam and the idea is that when you find someone interesting you'd like to chat with, you stop the shuffle and type.

    Only problem with it, while shuffling, I found there are some unusual and creepy people out there. lol

  2. Oooh, Google+. I tried to opt out, but every time I turn around Google's acquired some other site I use regularly (YouTube, Picasa, etc) and they've forced me into it again. Google: STOP TRYING TO MAKE G+ HAPPEN.