Monday, February 21, 2011

Some thoughts about Facebook revolutions and flash-mobs

Is Facebook just a website? Is it just where you post random shallow thoughts and check on your friends’ same level of public mind numbness?

In a very basic way, sure it is. That’s all you use it for. You like a page; you see a ‘like’ icon and click it. But you do a lot more when you do so. You actually ‘share’ this site with everyone else you have connected to on Facebook. You know that, yet you don’t think of its ramifications.

When you ‘like’, you participate in a mass distribution of web content that in potential could be much stronger than just being found on a web search. You ‘like’ a link, and you ‘follow’ a page and without giving it much more thought – you participate in voluntary word to mouth web based mass control.

There are dozens of ‘flash-mob’ you-tube videos showing that people who in general are not part of a cohesive group would gather at one spot and do something – usually something silly. People might gather for ‘fun’, or for a charity, or for a religious cause – and all of these videos show smiley happy people. Those who originated these flash-mobs might not have given it much thought them-selves. It could have easily started out as a fun prank, or seeing other flash-mobs and wanting to try out your own chain-lettering through Facebook.

But the result as it seems to me is, that these flash-mobs through Facebook mass ‘social tree’ distribution was a very successful experiment in mass people control and web based community organizing. It was shown that the first demonstrations in the Middle East were instigated by certain Facebook pages setup by Google execs. And Google, through its own power over highlighted content has tweaked the flow of information to achieve maximum distribution.

Facebook is not just a phenomenon of a successful young entrepreneur who created a ‘cool’ site where one meets his friends. It is a social phenomenon which certain groups have managed to facilitate for the purpose of community organizing.

I’m not claiming it is ‘evil’. Sure, some will – especially with concerns for privacy and how some people get completely sucked into online presence. But I am reflecting on how Facebook’s power in ‘social tree based distribution’ is pulling so many people’s strings.

Flashmobs? What moved you to join?

No comments:

Post a Comment