No Matter How Much You Hate FaceBook, You Shouldn’t Make Up Stories About Its Death

Like many people, I read the New York Times story about the FaceBook Exodus last week.  I then laughed at how silly it was and moved on.  But then I started seeing this article linked to every where… from many people thinking it actually had a point.   It kind of shocked me how few people could see through bad journalism.

So, for a little reality break here… a little shocker for people out there.  Are you ready for this one?  People have been leaving FaceBook since the day after it started.  No… really.  Same is true for AOL, MySpace, Google, Twitter…. you name it.  People try a site, don’t like, don’t get it, or whatever… and so they leave.

Fast forward a few years to a time when FaceBook has seen amazing growth.  Record numbers of people are trying it out.  Guess what that also means.  Yep – that also means a greater number of people are leaving it.  Simple math, really: as the number of people trying a site out increases, so would the number of people quitting.  Amazing!

Of course, take an obvious fact and construct enough smokescreens around it… and people will think you have an actual story!  Sad, but true.

What FaceBook really does (and Twitter for that matter) is expose the misanthropic nature of many people.  Take some of the more prominent gripes about FaceBook:

  • I don’t care what you had for dinner!
  • Why would I want to play all these silly trivia games?
  • I don’t care what Goonies character you would have been! (or insert whatever other current quiz is going around).
  • Why would I want to join some cause I have never heard of?

Basically, it is just a bunch of people saying that they just don’t care about other people.   The last time I ran into a friend in a store, they told me many random trivia thing… including what they were having for dinner.  That is what people naturally do. I also get together with friends and show them pictures, and play board games that basically amount to nothing but trivia.  Pretty much everything I could ever do on FaceBook, I also do in real life in some form or fashion.

These anti-FaceBook statements show how sadly misanthropic we have become as a society. You had better share a funny, witty, life changing story every time you open your mouth, or it is a waste of my time. I remember as a kid how we would sit around on chairs outside and talk about dinner and movies and politics and a hundred other simple and complex topics… because we actually liked the people we called friends. Now people delete you from their friend list on whatever site just because you didn’t change the world with every post.

What ever happened to caring about the little things in the lives of people that we call friends or family?  You don’t have to like FaceBook, or Twitter, or Google or whatever if you don’t want to… but can we all stop trying to place guilt trips on the people that do like the things we don’t?

(unless, of course, you want to put guilt trips on people that like Blackboard.  That is totally understandable :)

EDIT: Yes, I know that just like any other site (AOL, MySpace, etc) – FaceBook will someday start to die off and be replaced by something else.  Let’s just wait until we have an actual study or data to back up that event, rather than just a bunch of “my buddy so-and-so left, and so did some others.. so it must be true!”

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

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