My Stereo Thoughts On FaceBook

I’ve got lots of thoughts about FaceBook, some positive some negative. And I was trying to come up with a way to encapsulate it all. I sort of think I have, but there might be some holes in my analogy…

For me, this is FaceBook:

Facebook is like an integrated midi system

It’s like one of those ‘integrated midi systems’. Basically it’s an all-in-one music system. Lots of features and easy to use straight out of the box. The sound quality might be a bit rubbish and if it goes wrong you have to bin the whole lot. Plus options to extend it or customise it are limited (there’s no way to open the box, but you could put stickers on it or use input jacks on the back).

Doing something similar to facebook by glueing together lots of Web 2.0 type apps. E.g. a WordPress Blog with Last.fm, Flickr, Twitter, del.icio.us, etc. Is much more like putting together a hi-fi separates system.

hifi separates

Is much harder to get up and running. It takes much longer to plan your system. Sometimes it’ll work great, other times it won’t. And you might need to get help from a geek / expert to get the most out of it. But when it works it’ll be fantastic, and you can swap bits in and out to make sure its future-proof. And you can tinker with it to your heart’s content.

But separates are more geeky. And people do get obsessive. And in hi-fi land, just like web land, some people enjoy the putting together of the system almost more than they enjoy playing it.

Comparing FaceBook to a midi hi-fi is not intended as a slur. It is like a very good midi hi-fi. And just as midi systems are a good way for people to start enjoying music perhaps FaceBook has a similar role…

What do you reckon?

10 thoughts on “My Stereo Thoughts On FaceBook”

  1. The only problem with your analogy is the fact that you can integrate seperates into facebook – and in a fully functioned way.

    You can essentially build your component based application in PHP, Rails or whatever, manage it on your own servers and then provide a facebook ‘view’ onto it.

  2. I guess so. But for me it’s still a relatively controlled input/output system. But maybe I’m being too skeptical…

  3. What gets me about Facebook is how infantile it all is. It’s not Web 2.0 at all, it’s all the silly, time-wasting stuff of Web 1.0: endless lists and rubbish games and Zombie/Alien/Vampire attacks (the graphic equivalent of a chain letter or pyramid scheme). With every new app it becomes more like Myspace.

    After all the years I’ve been encouraging my non-techie friends to use the internet more, I’m having difficulty explaining that this is really not what I meant.

  4. To me, Facebook is what ‘Neighbours’ was in the late 80’s early 90’s.
    Neighbours was aired to bridge the gap in the programming when kids TV ended and adult TV – i.e. the news – began. Because there was nothing else at the time like it – seemingly glamorous aussies goofing about in the sun, it went stellar and made stars of Kylie, Jason, and for a time Craig Mclachlan.

    Facebook is similar. Its come along at a time when some people were feeling a bit alienated by the dayglo frenetics of myspace yet wanting to join in. Its easy to access and use – yes it may have annoying apps but its pretty easy to get rid of them. Its’ time-wasting as James says to the nth degree, filling the gap in your lunch hour or easing the effort of keeping in touch with friends by simply poking or posting on their wall instead.

    I miss my midi hifi system….

  5. I like your analogy.
    For me it’s about flexibility. Separates give you more varied choice the ease to upgrade any element of your liking.
    Separates are Lego. Mini systems are Playmobile. Facebook is Lego but with the wrong shape bricks and not enough of each colour for your to build the whole spaceship in white.
    If the Facebook stream could actually give me something interesting – something of use, then I would look at it. Knowing my friends have been bitten by a werewolf or are listening to The White Stripes simply doesn’t give me enough. We’re just touching the iceberg.

  6. Maybe they’re both separates – Facebook is relatively open after all – but Facebook uses crappy cables and only lets you listen to Top 40 CD’s.

  7. I like this analogy immensely. Encapsulates a lot of my recent thoughts about Facebook and what I think is a disappointing (although understandable) mainstream love affair with the walled garden.

    The question then of course is how we can convince the mini system users that separates are so much better, without sounding like snobs.

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