Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Facebook jumps the shark

At first Facebook was truly an amazing experience in connecting with the people from my past as well as keeping up with those who I would still consider friends today.  Being a busy guy with two kids and a corporate job it is tough to do the socializing I once did.  Of course, checking the latest status posts and family pictures via FaceBook a few times a week (okay, few times a day) is no replacement for real human contact but it is better than nothing.

So it is with great sadness that today is the day I proclaim that Facebook has jumped the shark. If your not familiar with the term "jump the shark" look no further than UrbanDictionary.com which defines it as "a term to describe a moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity." Of course, the term originates from the classic TV show Happy Days which despite it legions of fans hung around a little longer than it's shelf life and eventually became a bit of a joke (see video below).

Anyway, back to the point.  As if it were not bad enough that that my FB experience has become a mix of
  • certain folks who give the details of every moment of their lives (do you really need to announce that your going the bed????)
  • others who feel that they need to post witty/insightful/wise/funny updates which probably took a good portion of their day to refine prior to posting
  • scanned pictures from 15+ years ago to allow others to share in high school nostalgia

But today was the day I casually checked my email account to find a FB friend request from a friend of my mother!  My mom! Her friend is 78 years old!

Don't get me wrong.  I am not prejudice to the elderly.  This particular woman is a close family friend and extremely cool regardless of her age.  But I can't help feeling like a line has been crossed.  Social media and for that matter the internet are a part of my generation and more specifically my own existence.  I make my living as a technical director for an online retailer.  I spent my early 20's riding the dot com wave.  How is it that someone born before World War II is sending me friend requests????

I guess I need to remember that this website began as a way for Harvard coeds to get to know each other and has expanded into every corner of society.  I know how pissed the college crowd was when FB lost it's cred and went "mainstream" by opening up to others.  I guess I am going through a similar experience.  Am I going to stop visiting the site on a regular basis?  Of course not.  But as one of the earlier adopters of social media it is starting to feel like Facebook and others in it's genre are getting a little less "special".

Oh well, you can't fight progress.

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