A customer wrote to me today, very excited about this new ‘Facebook thing’ – he wanted to start a Facebook profile for our Bike Friday community.
“It’ll be as big as Google!” he enthused.
I thanked him for being a champ – who needs a customer evangelist when you’ve got disciples like that?
And what harm could Facebook do, other than allow people you’ve safely disowned from your bad hair days to hunt you down like a Star Wars homing beacon?
As a FYI, I pointed him to the NYT article which described how Facebook’s “23 year old CEO” did the equivalent of “suck on this” to its 58 million members.
The beautifully written last paragraph of that article is worthy of framing:
Beacon was a clumsy attempt to reset the default on the common-sense understanding of discretion and to profit off the resetting … Facebook was thwarted, as the corporate raiders of years past were not, because it aimed not at pension plans and seniority-based pay scales but at something considerably more valuable – the unwritten rules of privacy that make civilized human interaction possible – Christopher Caldwell.
Read the last 11 words again. The man deserves a Pulitzer prize for Paragraph of the Year, if there was such a thing.
I’ll bet my bicycle he’s older than 23.
We already know the corporate world has a side that would kick the cane out from under a cripple and make him pay for the privilege.
No surprises there, nobody’s perfect, it’s a dog eat dog world etcetera.
What bothers me is that this whole Web 2.0 generation is just the dot.com generation all over again, steered by even younger and more contemptuous captains. The civilized human interaction Caldwell talks about is going the way of the typewriter – out.
Facebook was originally designed for and by young people. Like Google, it is staffed largely by youth. Respect for seniority is not their #1 goal in life. Making money and doing cool stuff is.
Our customers are generally 55 and over. Is Facebook something that will enhance and resonate our relationship with them.
As a community tool that lets you find people you never thought would darken your email box again, it’s great. Personally, I grew tired of the emails every 5 minutes telling me to look at some writing on the wall or click to answer a message. I started writing them on email again -it’s nice to receive a message without URL’s and advertising embedded all over it, just like the old days of letter writing. It’s also why I haven’t jumped onto cooltools like Flickr … I just want to see the photo like you handed it to me across the dining room table without all this logging in.
Am I a luddite? Ageist? Killjoy? All of the above? Now and then, especially when I’ve had a gutful of technology.
But who cares what I think? Why would Facebook and its young moguls care about the feelings of incontinent old fogies coherent enough to have an internet connection, buying a silk purse for their wrinkled old sow? When you’re looking at $15 billion in net worth any detractors are a mere punctuation mark on your screen. Just delete ’em. You can do a Wacko Jacko and you’re allowed.
I’m not denigrating youthful genius – these people are the probably our 22nd century Young Einsteins.
I simply champion Caldwell’s point – some things are as perennial as the grass, and I’m not talking astro-turf.
I know I’ve pleaded my case before, (and tell me if I’m pedaling a rusty clunker here), but in our business, respect and regard for those who have been it, seen it, and are still at it, even two hip replacements or a triple bypasses later, is all. When you’re dealing with youth culture, and the fruits of their capricious brilliance, this ain’t necessarily so.
* Inspired by Ashleigh Brilliant‘s “Wait! Come back! There’s a part of my face you haven’t stepped on yet.”
The Galfromdownunder is customer couch surfing Hawaii, hoping that people with a kind heart for their fellow human being will buy a cheap, postage-stamp sized piece of land beside hers, so we can all grow old together and live happily ever after.