How Facebook’s Got Us By the Gonads
A few months ago, I saw a web comic touting Mark Zuckerberg as our evil overlord. He was this hugely, grotesque being that gobbled up people and just shouted “MOAR HUMANS!” Hilarious, and alarmingly true, the comic pops in my mind every time I see an article about Facebook and its 750 million active users – Zuckerberg truly is our Overlord.
Today, that comic resurfaced on the early morning newsfeed of New Facebook. For seasoned Facebook users, such as myself, a new version of the ever-growing social networking giant is nothing new. Every few months, Facebook has been making little changes here and big changes there in an effort to constantly evolve with the times. Internet technology changes with unrelenting rapidity, and so the mark of an effective platform is one that does not get wiped out by something big, bright, shiny, and new. The nature of that, though, is inevitably change.
Thus far, Facebook has been relatively successful in not getting wiped out by newer and more exciting competition. Twitter came along and Facebook adapted to integrate the features Twitter touted. Similarly, Google+ has come in and this new Facebook version is nothing more than its attempt to not be wiped off the grid by the features people have come to love about Google+ and its damn-catchy circles. All of these updates, changes, whathaveyous that Facebook puts us through on a regular basis are nothing more than a digital version of survival of the fittest – so far, Facebook has proven itself the fittest.
Now, faithful blog followers, I will admit that the changes can – at times – be annoying. When they are going on, Facebook goes into suck mode, where it takes forever to retrieve any of your information (notifications, messages, etc.) and has even been known to freeze up Safari once or twice. Then there is always the matter of relearning Facebook, a process that is not too particularly difficult but does take time. This morning, upon realizing that I would have to take a few minutes out of my life to relearn how to block all of my closest family and worst “friends” from seeing all of my content, I became a little annoyed at the fact that Facebook presumes I have the time to even do such a thing. In the end, though, it is all more than tolerable, and even understandable given the need for Facebook to keep its head above water in the Age of the Social Network. And ultimately, the conclusion to Inman’s web comic is right: in just a few weeks (months at most), everyone will have completely forgotten what Old Facebook was even like.
But how does this all translate into Zuckerberg being our Overlord and Facebook having a tight, firm grip on our gonads?
Every time there is a major Facebook change (particularly when it is something people coin ‘New Facebook’), people cannot shut up about it. This morning, almost every person’s Facebook status was about how much they hated New Facebook. “That’s it, Facebook … you’ve done it to me one, too many times.” “This New Facebook sucks! Why do social media giants get to tell us how to organize our online experience?!” And, of course “Go to HELP and tell Facebook you want Old Facebook back! Stop Facebook from telling us how we have to experience our social network. REPOST! Everyone agrees, but 98% of people won’t do what’s right!” As the day wore on, it got worse. People started saying they were going to quit Facebook; that this was just the final straw for them (of course they won’t). #newfacebook was trending on Twitter all day, and continues into the evening. I even saw someone change their profile picture to nothing more than an image that said “Hate New Facebook.”
And for the first time, ever, this incessant bitching and complaining about a change that no one will care about three weeks from now has transcended into the realm of the flesh. That’s right, faithful blog followers, at lunch today I overheard four, separate conversations about how awful this New Facebook is. A friend from Chicago reported to me that it was on the radio and a segment on the evening news. As if we no longer have anything to talk about, we now have resorted to conversation in person about the very thing that is the antithesis of an in-person experience.
This is why Zuckerberg is our Overlord – and why Facebook has got us all by the gonads. With a tight grip around our testicles and she-balls, he has controlled us to such a degree that it is all we can talk about, all we can think of. Not only is it all we can talk about, though – we spit in the face of our own complaining and continue to use it. If people were really so outraged about Facebook, they would stop using it already. Switch to Twitter, Google+, text message, or (GOD FORBID) FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNICATION. But that will not happen because we need our Facebook. How else will we keep in touch with our friends that are okay with New Facebook? Or how else will be play Bejeweled Blitz and Mafia Wars? I really need a goat for my Farmville and if I don’t have Facebook, I can’t get ahold of one. You really have to give it to Facebook, for it has made itself our lives. We may be miserable right now, but we cannot give up for we always have that beacon of hope – be it free photo sharing, an instant messaging platform, or just a place that we can bide our meaningless evenings.
So, faithful blog followers, I say all hail Lord Zuckerberg! ALL HAIL!