Does Anyone Even Click Through?

As some of you may have noticed, on all six of my “blogs” (the completely ubiquitous shortening of “web log,” which itself is latter-day code for “online journal”), I have installed plug-ins so that whenever I write something and publish it on one of my blogs, it also publishes to my Facebook wall. At first I thought this was going to work out great, since it would widen the scope of my readership. I liked this idea not just because it would be fun to share, but also because I thought it would help remind my possible photography clients and students to check the appropriate blog periodically for relevant posts.

Sadly, it was not to be, and here’s why: Facebook bears the wrong name. The truth is, Facebook isn’t a place to share and have fun. It’s a place to shout and shout over and over again, “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!”, and should thereby be more aptly named Egobook. As you read your friends walls you will see that they don’t usually contain conversations, dialogs, Socratic forum sessions, or cogent opinions, but short, shallow jabs meant to garner a tiny fraction of their 15 minutes of fame.

I included this image for two reasons: 1. I think all blog posts should include original art, and 2. it represents my all-seeing eye of destiny.
I included this image for two reasons: 1. I think all blog posts should include original art, and 2. it represents my all-seeing eye of destiny.

And yes, I am aware of the irony that this post and many others like it at richardbarron.net fall to some degree in the category of “look at me.” In my own defense, however, I would add that I have always made an effort, and not a small one mind you, to populate my journal entries with more substance than typical Facebook wall posts. After all, a blog entry like this almost certainly has more to offer than a Facebook status update simply because the status update is limited to 420 characters.

Substance. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I want to give more to my readers than just “at sea world lol,” or that I clicked on the “Like” button somewhere. In fact, I’ll say right now that I don’t give crap one what you like, and I seriously doubt that you care what I like. To that end, of course, I don’t click the “Like” button.

Some people tell me they don’t have time to read my blogs, or any blogs, but then I see them on Facebook, spending literally hours doing nothing more than looking to see if anyone is paying attention to their posts, which are almost always bullspit, something so vague and incoherent that they think it will provoke you to respond so they are at the center of it all just for a few seconds.

Some of my friends who were excellent bloggers, who had something to say, who I read and encouraged others to read, have stopped posting altogether, under the assumption that they can say what they want to their friends through Facebook, when in fact their voices are lost in this constant stream of noisy, irrelevant egochatter. I wish they would come back. I know at least I would very much enjoy hearing their real voices again. In fact, I challenge all my friends to renew their blogs, or even start blogs, and make them full of insight and valuable messages that bring us all closer to understanding the world around us. Do it now. I’m not too busy to read them.

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5 Comments

  1. Richard: In higher education, social networking is the fad as we all try to figure out how to make use of this new technology. I personally think it is not as substantial as others seem to think it is. It’s a cool way to stay connected with family and old friends. But it truly is the equivalent of the old fashioned phone call chit chat. Or even less than that. Hopefully without offending your female readers, it seems to me that Facebook is a very feminine phenomenon. Women are much more facile than men at staying in touch with each other, and keeping informed on each other’s lives. Facebook is an Internet version of the old fashioned sewing circle. And the Internet in general makes possible the publication of everything. When everything is published, hardly anything gets read. That’s why I don’t blog anymore. People like you and I put time and effort into both the craft and the content of our writing. But that doesn’t matter when we are competing with billy’s first baby tooth, or molly’s struggle with cancer, or even uncle earl’s bowel movements. When everything gets posted, only the briefest of postings usually get read. It’s ironic that the more we publish the less we seem to read.

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  2. The reason people don’t click through from Facebook is because they want Facebook to be the *whole* internet. It’s trying really hard to accommodate them too, and its true motto should be: we don’t want you to visit any other site, because this site does it all.

    In a sense, this reminds me of Wal-Mart, which would prefer you didn’t visit any other store. They attempt to have at least one version of every possible product (and many services as well), regardless of quality, so you don’t have to visit other stores.

    Personally, with websites *and* stores, I still prefer the older model of getting higher quality at the cost of convenience. For photos, I joined a photo website (because Facebook’s photo display really sucks). For blogs, I joined a couple of blogging websites (because Facebook’s version of blogging really sucks). For conversations, I stick to email (because Facebook’s version of conversations really sucks).

    You get the drift.

    Since I have the entire internet at my disposal, I see no reason to use a smaller, crappier version of the internet encased in one site.

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  3. Here’s the thing. A dude named Zuckersomething created a social networking website that made him a rich dude. I like fb because I can reacquaint with old friends and family and I can make a quick comment or click the like button and move on so it doesn’t take much time. I wanna see that movie too, btw.

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