Facebook in 2008

Looking back it’s quite possible to see that everything said in 2018 about Facebook was pretty obvious more than a decade ago. There’s a great deal of wishful thinking about social media and the Internet generally, especially regarding its supposed emancipatory potential. And the problem is deeper than one corporation, however dominant. It hinges on the underlying structure of the Internet. BJ Fogg’s concept of Captology (Computers as Persuasive Technologies) was coined in 1996.

Here’s what I wrote about Facebook in 2008:

Facebook is part of a process of great social change…

…and we probably can’t even begin to guess what the bigger implications are, except that they’re pretty big…

I’ve been discussing this a bit with David, and Ballantyne, and Chris and John have mentioned it; Emily likes Facebook, but Kym’s left, like she said she would.

A fist full of links:

[Is Google Making us Stupid?](http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google)
It’s making the writer stupid, at any rate. It’s making me highly intelligent. And very handsome. Just like my slide rule did in 1978.

Jon Marshall of UTS on
[political implications of open source](http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/portal/article/view/122). This is more like it. A bit nuanced.

[Psychology of Facebook](http://captology.stanford.edu/). This is genuinely fascinating/scary. BJ Fogg teaches students at Stanford how to use psychological techniques to persuade people to do things on Facebook.The subtext is ‘and get very rich’. Don’t read it.

See, it [works!](http://captology.stanford.edu/about/what-is-captology.html)

Charles Leadbetter, ‘[We Think](http://www.wethinkthebook.net). This is the ‘we will all benefit’ view in book form. I’m not sure there is a ‘we all’, though. Inclusion and reward and damage tend to be differential. Discuss.

Clay Shirky, [Here Comes Everybody](http://www.herecomeseverybody.org) – another commentator who’s quite keen on the whole thing. I think Jon Marshall (above) calls some of this enthusiasm into question, without being a doom-monger.

But I liked Shirky’s recent [talk](http://www.shirky.com/herecomeseverybody/2008/04/looking-for-the-mouse.html) on gin and TV as sinks for the ‘cognitive surplus’ of society, which the internet is now changing in interesting ways. Broadcast TV, now there’s a blast from the past.


![‘The Internet isn’t everything Get out of the house’ (cc marcogomez on flikr](http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcogomes/163623497/)