Facebook Fatigue, it’s Spreading

Attention Virus
Do you feel like the applications are killing Facebook? For all the gold rush and hoopla surrounding the Facebook platformitization, is it living up to expectations?

I don’t think it is. The world could use a great social operating system. But the best applications on facebook are still the original ones: pictures, events, the basic poke.

The facebook platform is still young. Only 4 months old. Lets hope that the good kids at FB find a way to reign in the social viral crapware.

And that’s what most of it is. Almost all of successful apps on facebook are distractions or “entertainment”. Or advertisements. The original facebook apps were about socially enabling the user. The new apps are about enabling their own propagation.

I’ve come up with a new term for it:

Facebook applications = Attention Viruses

They spread just like real viruses, through social contact. Their lifecycles are short and evolution is constant thanks to the rutheless pressures of competition on the open platform. App DNA is all about self propagation – and stealing away our attention fraction by fraction.

The same will go for OpenSocial apps as well once they get here.

We’ve seen this before. In the race to monetize a web property, the original value is corroded away. Remember when facebook was a revolutionary clean, sparce and refreshing change from the gaudyness of myspace and friendster?

The internet’s universal advertising model is partly at fault here. Sometimes I just wish that as users we would grow up, stop expecting everything to be free and pay a couple bucks for the tools we use and media we enjoy.

(We’d probably earn it back 10 times over in foregone distraction and unprocrastination) and the web would be a cleaner and more productive place.

Michele quit* facebook last week. Drastic medicine for sure. But her and good company are saying, I’d like to use facebook, I just don’t have the time for it anymore. Or time for it the way it’s become.

original photo: Marcelo Alves

*temporarily, she’ll be back at some point