Monday, April 18, 2016

Live your life. Do not make your life "live"

Consider this:
Some might think that people already spend too much time on the social network. According to one estimate, most Americans spend the equivalent of two full workdays each month on Facebook. In the future, might they pass even more time? Mark Zuckerberg is hoping so.
Or this:
Facebook has attracted and engaged so many users by engineering features that are highly addictive and relevant to their lives, so people keep coming back for more hits
Yes, the Economist makes sure that the word choices were no accident; the title of that report says it all: Facebook, the world’s most addictive drug

With all the time spent on Facebook and on various entertainment options, is it any wonder we can't get people, especially students, to focus on ... hey, hey, listen to what I have to say and do not open your Facebook messenger window! ;)

We are now living in a world that was imagined in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and EM Forster's The Machine Stops.  Our daily lives are dedicated to watching electronic screens for entertainment of different kinds and we seem to be less and less keen on interactions with the real world as we rush towards virtual reality.

To some extent, Bradbury was wrong when he imagined that the future would include a government department whose responsibility would be to burn books and make sure people did not accidentally read any--it turns out that there is no real need to impose anything like that because ... hey, hey, listen to what I have to say and do not open your Facebook messenger window! ;)
Facebook is expected to announce more plans for turning Messenger, one of its messaging services, into a portal through which people can fulfill tasks, like ordering taxis and communicating with businesses. Mr Zuckerberg is hoping that Facebook will be an even bigger part of the mobile ecosystem in the future. Being both useful and addictive could win Facebook even more friends
As I noted in this post from a mere days ago, Zuckerberg knows well that to keep the addicts on a high will mean increasing the hits, which is where the new "live video" also kicks in.
On, you can now view a live map of broadcasts taking place around the world. And you can now broadcast live to specific audiences, such as those in a Facebook group or those invited to an event, rather than to the public at large. Those watching a live video can send reaction emojis in real time, rather than just liking the video as a whole. When you watch a replay, you’ll see the reaction emojis pop up on the screen at the same point in the video when people sent them. You can also invite friends to join you in watching a live video and they’ll get a push notification linking to the feed. Live, live, live!
It is unfortunate that Facebook has made "live" as it relates to "life" into an obscene four-letter word of "live."  Guess what?  It is delivering hits to the addicts:
the approach seems to be resonating: On average, Facebook says people are commenting 10 times more on live videos than they do on regular videos.
The ruler of this drug empire is thrilled:
“We’re entering this new golden age of video,” Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video.”
Hey, selling this addiction has made the young drug-lord worth more than 35 billion dollars!  Are you not entertained?


Ramesh said...

Am I not "normal" ?? I haven't been seduced by this drug, let alone been addicted to it.

The most I spend in front of anything electronic is in front of the computer screen, reading, for example, this blog. We can accuse this blog of a lot of things, but entertainment as in the mindless variety is certainly not one of them.

By the way, why this rant against Facebook, when its twin brother Twitter is not even mentioned ?? And somebody please clarify why something that emanates from Twitter is a tweet and not a twit ?

Sriram Khé said...

Oh, Twitter and Facebook are far from being twins. Because you don't use either, I am having a difficult time explaining to you why they are completely different. I will leave with this--it is incorrect to refer to Twitter as a part of the "social media" because it is very, very different from the "social" dimension that drives Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, ... In fact, I think that it is this lack of "social" that has made Twitter an also ran in the $$$ world and has left Twitter's execs and investors wondering "what next?"

BTW, if you want a feel for how twisted the live video and "social media" can get, read about the girl who livestreamed her friend getting raped! ... and, oh, the app that she used is a Twitter product--Twitter, like others, is betting that live-video is the next big thing :( Of course, this is an extreme case. But, you can see that live video of daily lives will make people reach for "hits" in order to satisfy the addiction, which will then tempt them to do strange things because, well, otherwise, our lives are boringly repetitive.