I logged into Facebook today and my Timeline Preview was waiting for me like a bone-crushing, down-on-your-knees-help-me-God hangover after a long night of champagne, whiskey, loud music, and sin.
I would have paid $100/year to keep my facebook, old school. This is not an idle boast.
Is it scary to you that my $100/year is chump change to Facebook? Even if one million people stood in the customer queue (think bigger than a line at Disneyland) that I just invented, it would still be, very much, just chump change.
Hurts, Wonderful Life
I have a day or two before the timeline look goes live. There ain’t nothing I can do to stop the clock. I’m just another man who’s run out of time.
Ironically, I’m still going to have to dish out a few hundred bucks on design in the next week or so. Because I’ll have to re-engineer those very bounded elements of my “personal brand” according to the new timeline layout.
It was inevitable. Because Facebook is free. Because people use Facebook. Enough people use Facebook to make it unlikely that you or I will abandon Facebook.
The only thing Facebook has to worry about is to keep it’s free services relatively trouble free. My estimate is that it would take Facebook being widely unavailable for two weeks for any of us to seriously consider a commitment to another social platform.
If you’re ever going to write like an expert, you too will have to throw down the gauntlet every paragraph or so: clever observations, speculations, and ping that bottom-line!
You throw down the gauntlet because you want to be someone that you can believe in.
Of course, timeline was a significant tweak to how Facebook commoditizes people – how they sort, package, and sell information about you and me.
Timeline isn’t about enhancing our experience of the Facebook services. No social platform (Fakebook, Twatter, Pinkterest, etc.) is committed to advancing significant innovations to the online social experience. They ain’t about empowering the people. That’s not mission-critical.
In fact, the manner in which the best of breed social networks construct the social experience is not leaps and bounds beyond the forum technologies of 20 years ago.
The only big innovation in the online social experience has been all about scale- how many people can use the service.
Ironically, both Microsoft and Apple dropped the ball on this many, many years ago. 20 years ago, Apple dumped most of their online vision and division. They didn’t see how the internet was mission-critical. Likewise, 10 years ago, Microsoft couldn’t imagine there was a need for parallel processing of one million simultaneous server requests. Nor did it’s server license agreements make Microsoft an option for robust, online B2C.
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs could have had it all. Their vision, obviously, was not boundless. Note to my friends and critics: please stop the cult chant that lionizes Gates and Jobs. They were cool, very cool, but they were not gods.
Such a gauntlet as I have just thrown down are not the little cuties that you copy paste from Wikipedia, Mashable, or the Huffington Post. You had to be there. You had to be paying attention. Or, at least, you should be suggesting that you were there and, maybe, paying attention.
If you have proof from way back, keep them handy in a shoe box. That’s where I keep my receipts for a Million and some change in a short stack of obsolete Microsoft licenses.
So, um, what?
I am merely reflecting on the considerable lack of vision and wow that drives the online industry and experience. I’m earmarking this un-inspired page in the history of the internet.
It is just another day when I remain fascinated by how poorly the enthusiasm, confidence, and hype maps to the currency and tender of design, innovation, and big ideas (or lack thereof).
Without such moments of reflection, any understanding of what a thing means, where it’s going, and why… would be highly unlikely.
The hope that the online experience is going somewhere meaningful is a Kenny. But Kenny, as we know from Southpark, always comes back from the dead. To die again and again. Just as does our faith in the face of epic clichés of recurring disappointment.
In fact, allegory, allusion and metaphor are indispensable. Because it’s only when an understanding of things sits with you for a good stew that allegory, allusions, and metaphor become the low hanging fruit that an expert can toss left, right, and forward without even blinking.
On the other hand, the n00b or wanna be will be easily identified by their devotion to the check list. As if mere datapoints and infographics were ever relevant! Lists are like a camera around a tourist’s neck. Or the hidden wallet on a purse strap.
That said, an occasional list won’t wreck your reputation – if illuminated with style and insider information.
Timeline is not the beginning of my woes. Or yours. It is a reminder, however, that we are slaves unto this beast- not it’s master.
Experts say things that are obvious – just like I have done here. But the irony is that, for all that is obvious upon the experts’ lips, text or powerpoint – no one else could or dared express and share the obvious with others until experts have spoken. Such delicate irony, however, is never observed by the non-expert.
For the obvious reasons, of course. [grin]
Timeline is not the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Mayhaps, it is prophetic in it’s general mystery – not to mention the smuggy enthusiasm of a unsavory authoriteh. Because, because, because – a timeline, by definition, cannot be a timeline without a start and a stop.
One more thing, if you want to write like an expert, do not be afraid to be you and true.
You are sufficient unto Love. No matter what you have done. You can still shine – if and only if, you are true.
Repent. Because a timeline reminds us to don’t let go. In fact, ours is a wonderful life. [grin]
Has no man condemned thee? Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. John 8:10-11
26 February 2012
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