I preface this application with this statement: The content of this entry is from pure observation over the six years I have had facebook, this is merely my observations and conclusions I have drawn form those and I am in no way a professional. J As most of you have noticed, facebook started grouping status updates that contained the same keywords together under a tab. Such as yesterday, in the early morning hours, I log onto this social networking culture site and see there had already been over 40 some status updates about the snow; among those were even statuses about “here come the obligatory facebook updates about the weather” type statuses, because it is a well known fact now that I don’t even have to turn on the weather channel to know what’s going on right outside my window. It’s not just the weather though, it is about any MAJOR news event or local news. And that’s where it stops, the MAJOR things…
Here is this amazing vehicle for global connection and over three fourths of the thousand people I am “friends” with on facebook are all talking about a variation of the same thing. It is usually grouped by people, who share the same cultural interests, and each group generally only updates about those interests in addition to the MAJOR events that everyone speaks of. For instance, my rock climbing friends generally post of nature crack type things, but at the same time post about hurricane sandy, hurricane sandy being the topic of discussion of 3/4ths of my facebook friends and nature crack things being an only 50 or so people.
The scary nature of this social networking is that even though this global social networking site has infinite potential to facilitate major cross cultural connections and possible global change, here the majority of my facebook friends discussing only subjects localy relevant to themselves and what is of popular discussion across the vast majority of facebookers. There is hardly original thought to be found, which I realize this is a mater of opinion, but I feel it is somewhat of a truth. The language of facebook is limited and generic and more or less exists in a vacuum, when ideas and language should be flourishing and expanding by leaps and bounds.
What is so scary about this is that if language is self-limited like this, does that also mean that different ways of thinking are limited and many people have begun to think the same way? If Whorf’s hypothesis is correct and language is an integral part of the concept of culture, culture is becoming smaller and more generic and of less variation and humans are becoming “like” thinkers, less creativity, less critical thinking. If every person is talking about the same things what will happen to the world? Language variation is absolutely necessary to experience other ways of viewing the world. Although facebook is great for social networking, it has become irresponsible and verbatim and unoriginal. It has become an epicenter of the in-crowd, sheep like mentality; curiosity and critical thinking is not shared, rather similar experiences are discussed in an instant and liked because other people have shared that experience, and within human experience, who doesn’t want to be relevant to someone else’s experiences? It integrally makes people feel closer. People read the same books, watch the same movies, and generally think the same thoughts because of the instantaneous connection of facebook, and if everyone is thinking the same way, why couldn’t it be possible for human thought control to exist?
Before I go off on a conspiracy tangent, let me end with this. Baywatch, yes the super sexy beach show of the 90’s reaches an estimated 5.7 billion people in 148 countries. If our experiences are what we speak of and what we speak of is our culture…. will we one day soon all have David Hasseloff bods and Pamela Anderson boobs? I mean….check out plastic surgery rates since the 90’s.
So what will be the future implications of mono-status updates of facebook?