I Have to Check My FaceMash Feed…….

FaceMashNow is the time for totally useless information.

Everyone is familiar with the ‘time wasting’, ‘soul sucking’ application Facebook, but are you are aware that the birth of Facebook was preceded by a website called FaceMash?

FaceMash was created in the dorm room of Mark Zuckerberg in October of 2003. The original concept was to ‘mash’ photos of two females together, and then users visiting the website would ‘vote’ to determine which female was ‘hotter’. For 2003, this sounds like a typical thing a young guy would do. By today standards, Zuckerberg would probably be tarred and feathered for even thinking of creating a website like this.

In February of 2004, Zuckerberg changed the name to Facebook and the rest as they say, is history. Over the years it has morphed into one of the most influential and pervasive social media tools in modern history.  Along with Twitter, Instagram (a Facebook spawn), and dozens of other social media platforms, these applications have modified the DNA of humankind to the point that when combined with a smartphone or computer, will often render a regular user of social media null and void as a person. I always found that using the word ‘social’ in social media is for the most part, the exact opposite of what social means. We are long past the point of people having to see each other face-to-face to communicate. In fact, we never have to see them again if we choose. It’s not hard to see that the last few generations are slaves to this technology, but that’s a conversation for another time.

Towards the end of 2003-2005 I was finishing a run with an early, local internet company.  I recall having a discussion with a co-worker about how Facebook had the potential to be used for nefarious goals. We laughed and never gave it much thought after that conversation. If you fast forward to now, my off-the-cuff prediction has unfortunately come true. How many times have you ‘shared’ pictures of your family? How many times have you let everyone know that your entire family is on vacation and your house is totally empty? How many of you have criticized people continuously using their cellphones while you did the exact same thing?  Probably everyone.  The one that is most alarming to me is when people use Facebook to get their news. Look….I get it……it works fine for trying to get information about things happening in your local area, but if you are getting information about the state of the country ie: politics, covid, immigration, etc.) then you really need to put down the phone and look elsewhere.

It’s no secret that these social media applications are now, and have been, ‘harvesting’ your data for a long time. At first it was for advertising purposes. Now it’s for every scrap of information you are willing to ‘share’. I would always laugh when people would offer a theory that the government was spying on them. Why do they need to spy when you readily share everything about your life willingly?

There is not enough time in the day to discuss how these applications have embedded themselves in our lives, but I think it’s important that individuals should research how these apps are being used in the current world. A good place to start is to start looking at a few YouTube videos of the current hearings being held in the House of Representatives regarding censorship by Twitter. I hope that they continue to dig deeper into all the social media platforms. (Yeah, I know YouTube is another one of those ‘evil’ platforms, but you have to dance with who ‘brung ya”.)

Since none of these platforms will be going away, we’ll have to learn to live with them.  Since most people have mastered that art long ago, maybe we should look at how folks use them in the Scottdale area.

A personal critique, if you will.

As expected, most businesses in Scottdale maintain a Facebook page. The really smart ones also have an active, updated website. While Facebook can be great for day-to-day information, I always try to research a business website for specific details of goods and services offered.  (Lately it has been looking for hours of operation. Since covid, hours are kinda iffy.)

Most churches in town do an acceptable job of providing information, but quite a few are sparse and don’t provide much guidance. At a minimum, worship service times would be a nice touch.

Individuals that use Facebook AS a website for their business are wasting their time. As a consumer, I more than likely will not be using a business that uses Facebook as a primary contact point for their services. Like I said above, a good website let’s me know details of your operation. With a Facebook post, chances are I will scroll right past.

Specific groups where people of like interests can share information about things they have in common are the most productive.  Facebook should have promoted this type of interaction more prominently on their platform.  One Facebook page in town does a nice job with information about the Southmoreland School district.

I have not encountered many influencers in the Scottdale area, so I am not sure how to determine if they are doing a good job at promoting. However, I have found one that does a great job promoting merchandise/services with two adorable little dogs.

As far as buying anything from a private owner on Facebook, let the buyer beware.

Just for full disclosure, I have a few Facebook assets that are currently active. One, for the most part will display events happening in the general area. The other is what I had hoped would be a place for censorship free, serious discussions about the area, but my optimism that people can have a serious discussion about anything in Scottdale is dwindling.

There are few things that I think need to be said. I call this the ‘airing of the grievances’.

Sharing ads on other Facebook pages. Look, I get it, if you’re promoting your business, it seems to me it would be best served to do it on your own page. I understand reaching as many people as possible with your ad, but at the expense of another page content somehow is odd. In the real world, you pay for that sort of promotion. As a user, I do not need the daily special or the current sale. As a consumer, I will seek that sort of thing out if need be.

I think a perfect solution is for somebody to create a Scottdale Business Ad page where all the businesses can post their daily offerings. It would serve a few different purposes……it would provide a user with ONE place to review the business specials in town, and it would declutter the individual pages that at times, overshadow the intended purpose of the page.

Stop censoring things. I know people get their feelings hurt when somebody doesn’t agree with them, but anything short of a death threat or other egregious shenanigans shouldn’t be deleted. Profanity can be throttled, but that is a personal preference.  If you feel the need to silence the people that don’t agree with you, make your group private and ride herd over them there. (Again…..not very social.)

In a perfect world, it would be nice to see positive, lively conversation in the Scottdale Facebook pages. But, in the words of Dennis Miller, “This is just my opinion, I could be wrong.”

It’s getting to the point where I’m no fun anymore.

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