Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Things I can't understand

Yesterday I saw the rather startling statistic that the average Facebook user views a whopping 27 pages on each visit. Of course the story goes on to explain that this huge surge in page views on Facebook has devastated the news portals which just a few years ago devastated newspapers and their websites.

Of course I am on the fence in my understanding of the popularity of Facebook. It is definitely a useful tool just as much as it is an enormous waste of time. The plethora of time wasting games and tedious updates and outright bitching that Facebook users engage in on the site is not just hard to understand -- it's troubling.

On the other hand, as I said, it is vastly useful. Facebook is basically a community bulletin board. You can post the trivial updates from your sad and pathetic day to day life and post way too many snapshots. But in exchange for using this free community bulletin board known as Facebook, they own it. They own it all. The terms of service are so vast and complicated that nobody, outside of a few highly techie folks, really read or understand them and those are the folks that have publicly deleted their accounts. Not because they are ashamed of what they are sharing but because the nerd behind Facebook could turn around tomorrow and change the TOS and sell every bit of information users have given up the rights to and we'd be even more relentlessly spammed than we currently are.

But in my eyes it's a necessary evil. It's the current hot spot and even though posting content there gives Facebook the right to do whatever they please with it, Facebook does actually drive traffic and increase readership. It's necessary because it's hugely popular. It's evil because once people move en masse to the next bigger and better network (hey, I used to use MySpace) Facebook's nerdy owner will get desperate even with his huge stacks of cash and he could very well peddle all of the information that has been collected via Facebook to persons or companies with less-than-good intentions.

In all reality, I give Facebook another two years at the most before users begin migrating to whatever comes next. It's part of the evolution of the internet. The users haven't gone anywhere, it's just the places where they congregate that has changed.

But some things haven't changed. MinnPics, nearing its second birthday, is even better than you remember. Check out the best photos from all over Minnesota now!

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