Is it F8?

One afternoon when I was 17 I was hanging out with a girl I was dating at the time, at my house. At one point that afternoon she was silently flirting with me - more or less - whilst I was on the phone in my other ear with one of my best friends. I don't recall which thing had my attention first; at what point in time I picked up the phone in relation to when she started flirting. It doesn't matter.

What matters is I tried multitasking (so to speak) and it didn't work so well. Eventually my friend remarked "It sounds like you're being an asshole," upon his having noticed and deciding to call me out on the fact that he hadn't my full attention. Like a professor catching a student zoning out during a lecture, in so doing he schooled me in how I'd accepted an assignment of fully listening, and I could only do so much to cheat it... OK well maybe not quite like that. He had no idea what was happening on my end of the line; he just knew something was up. Also, I've only had so many educators ever call me an asshole.

Now to reiterate a point: Again, I don't remember which came first - the call or the flirting. Even with the emotional charge of that scenario having seared much of it into my memory, I don't remember every detail. So that's a great example of a detail that doesn't matter. Maybe it mattered then but it doesn't matter now. To the best of my knowledge a normally functioning, unimpaired, typical human brain lets some things go and retains others all for natural reasons. That's a good thing.

I won't dispute that very compelling art can be made through meticulous documentation of every given detail about something. That's one way to make art, information art as opposed to information architecture, and yes it can be beautiful. Still, it's just one way and like any way it has its overhead. Documenting everything does not mean that everything has inherent meaning. Any analyst worth their salt will attest to how not all information is meaningful or relevant.

Not that I wouldn't mind perhaps being one of the very rare folks profiled here. I wonder if any of them are using Facebook much, and how they'd feel about the new Timeline feature either way.

Anyway, I learned much that afternoon and obviously that afternoon continues to teach me things today.

From a purely technologist perspective I applaud Facebook's grand vision and underlying ambitions. I think GraphRank is a very interesting approach compared to PageRank; the idea of ranking apps in a Wall and/or Ticker as measured by Likes and other social actions vs. ranking sites in an index as measured by hyperlinks and their attributes is intriguing and bold for sure. For making a given platform the center of the Web long-term, will mostly pulling it in really work better than mostly reaching out to it? I'm not so sure. Apples and oranges (as it need be one way or another of course).

What I am sure of is there are times in life when connectivity and intimacy simply don't mix, and something's got to give. Do I really want and need the world and my relationship(s) to it characterized by so much multi-leveled, multi-filtered (or not) connectedness? Or do I really just need connectedness and intimacy, well managed if not by me then for me, with a select handful of people, publishers and advertisers? Every user needs decide for themselves.

Whatever. Maybe I'm just a Gen X cynic. To me too much of social networking to date has been reality TV all over again, driven by the energies put out by the collision of self-esteem deficiencies with narcissistic tendencies. They're but different sides of the same coin nowadays, one which many seemingly flip every time they open their browser window.

"You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake."
- Tyler Durden, Fight Club

The altruism attached to the driving juggernaut that is social media, the idealistic packaging, is thinly veiled promoganda. A media platform is still a media platform; monetization is still monetization. Duh.

So, let me back up and organize what I have to say at the moment a bit more clearly and cohesively...

My current POV as a marketer and developer:

Costs of advertising on Facebook today aren't what they used to be, as I've found both directly and indirectly. Of course I understand it, but nobody on the buying likes things getting more expensive to work with. Investors looking to buy shares upon availability naturally have a different agenda. The Open Graph and Social Graph seems like a very complex problem, more of intelligent grafting than of graphing, mechanically. I can't help but think users don't want to show the world their real selves so much as they want to show themselves and their connections who they wish they were, and/or just the selective parts of themselves. As always, as to analytics as to information technology: Fundamentally the value of the information that comes out is still just proportional to the value of the information that goes in. I look forward to seeing what comes of pushing the privacy/convenience trade-off.

My current POV as an artist:

3rd-party partners like Spotify? Awesome technology at work for sure. Still, how well are musicians really being taken care of again financially as opposed to just being given more potential connectivity? What about those essentially now evaporated royalties that just push the issue of artists needing to get paid - not just by consumers but also by distributors whether online or offline - that much further into the accountability ether? Regarding the problem of making someone willing to pay for music again, apparently everyone but the end consumer now is entitled to an exemption in this bold new age. Charming.

My current POV as a user:

Serendipity is to Kindergarten as the Singularity is to Grad School. I'll try to keep an open mind, even if not such an open profile, for the next year or three. Nonetheless, now things are clearly flirting with creepy on a whole new level, so I'm starting to I think I just might have to drop out midway through High School.

"This above all: to thine own self be true."
- Polonius, Hamlet

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