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Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday—The Reading Corner: Tickering Away Your Authenticity

Sharing your authentic identity
For those of you who don't know much about the new facebook ticker, here's a good article written by my spousal unit, Steve Nelson, for the AP42 blog (September 27, 2011):

Why Facebook Is Counting on Backlash Fatigue

This post talks about the timing of the most recent facebook changes, including those announced at last month's f8 developer conference. It is entirely appropriate, btw, that the conference began with SNL's, Andy Samberg, strutting around on stage pumping his fists to hip hip DJ Khaled's, All I Do Is Win.  

All I do is win • no matter what • got money on my mind • can never get enough
Every time I step up in the building • Everybody hands go up 
And they stay there • and they say yeah • and they stay there


In case you're wondering what these changes are, Steve specs them out in his September 23 post:  New at Facebook: Timeline, Open Graph, Much More

Pay attention to the last paragraph, "What wasn't there?"

"...the 800 million people whose online lives are shared and transformed by all of this are not Facebook's customers. They are Facebook's product. 

Facebook's customers were missing on Wednesday - companies (or "brands" as my colleague Gary likes to call them) who advertise on Facebook.  Brands also participate in Facebook as content creators (part of the product), but even in that role, they were not that evident in the new features. There were no timelines of the local gym or the national fast food brand.  It looks like Facebook's announcements are a way of reassuring advertisers (Facebook's true customers)  that we, the product, has been enhanced and product supply is not in danger."

Yes, yes, yes — that is what is going on.  Human beings are the product.  It's not the sophisticated software that makes facebook what it is.  It is the thing that Zuckerborg wants to mine, the essence of individuality, our likes and dislikes, our interests, our talents, and our relationships. 

The Zuckerborgs have wrapped their tentacles around our brains, and they have created tools that probe the more obvious and easily accessible chunks of information (frequently without our knowing), but even the most diligent probers have not figured out how to capture the complex system of unique qualities that create the whole unique individual.  They can get a snapshot of the tail and the hooves, but they haven't managed to view the entire horse.

They want to, but it eludes the Zuckerborgs.  The more access they have to the singularities that distinguish us as individuals, the closer they are to cashing in (more than they already have).  Advertisers revere facebook because it gets them closer to their target, the whole person.  And, as Steve said, advertisers are facebook's true customers.  Why waste advertising dollars on just one product with just one purpose when individuals can be showered with a vast array of products precisely tailored to fit the individual's lifestyle?  What advertisers want is authentic identity, an authenticated personality profile for every single person on Earth.  No shit, and really.  They are using facebook to do it.  

Which brings me back to the beginning of this year's f8 developer conference and Andy Samberg's comedic and authentically identifiable introduction...

"Yeah, yeah — c'mon, woo, C'MON
All I do is win!  All I do is WIN!
Love that song!

Hah!...Hey, welcome to f8, okay...We're gonna CHANGE THE UNIVERSE!  Hahaha...Ah, I say that every year.  Alright, I want to start by focusing on some key issues, okay?  The first is the importance of authentic identity.  I am Mark Zuckerberg."