Why social networking sites like Facebook are popular

Thoughts (not necessarily well written) by
Robert Newton

Post Date: 05/25/2010

We humans are by nature, gregarious, some more than others. We seek the company of others. Why? We want fame (for our genius, good looks, wit, work ethic, etc.) and recognition for our efforts, aka pat on the back or instant feedback. All this can be had for a couple hundred characters, a link, or a picture posting on Facebook.

Mail, or snail-mail as it is called by those who cruise the internet, is all but unused by the younger generation (the Facebook generation) because it's more work, slow, and doesn't provide instant feedback. Although one is not forced to write pages of feelings, ideas, poetry (keep it to yourself), etc., the effort of having to actually write something and print it out (if not done by hand - wow, even more work, and how antiquated can you get, right?), fold it up so it fits in an envelope (who has those hanging around), address it, stamp it, and put it in the mail, almost makes us liable to do so.

E-mail was all the rage for the early adopters of the internet. At first it was the fast way to actually write a letter (think fast snail-mail), and it gave almost instant gratification. Then came chain letters, spam (gotta sell that porn, those blue pills), and the mindless forwarding of someone else's writings, cartoons, or links.

E-mail can still be useful, and would have a larger place in this world, if only it wasn't so hard. Consider the fact that most people have no idea what a POP3 or SMTP server is, how to set up filtering - white lists, black lists, subscribe to spam filtering services, use simple programs (which require those pesky POP3 and SMTP server setups again) to wash e-mail, and you can see why cloud computing (can you say going full circle - dumb terminals???) got its start in webmail.

We are a throw-away society that needs constant attention and affirmation that we are indeed unique, interesting, and worthy of praise. If you were to e-mail your crappy poetry to your friends, you might get instant feedback. But, with Facebook, you get all of your feedback in one place, and hopefully, because most people will not want to hurt your feelings, it will all be positive, maybe even more so, than with e-mail, because people so do like jumping on the bandwagon, and the competition of one-upmanship.

I have often been appraised as being very tech savvy. The truth is I play a good game of catch up, as I am at heart resistent to change. In spite of that, my prognosis of the future holds little hope for Facebook. It too will end up on the scrap heap when the next faster, one-time-use, instant gratification, social networking site comes along. If I have learned anything, it's that to think technology is done (morphing) is wrong!!!