Why Facebook's success is bad for us.

You probably see people using Facebook at your library and wonder why they aren't out looking for jobs. The answer is, unfortunately, that Facebook is their job.

Facebook's success is a symptom of the poor world economy. When people have no money to spend on actual products, they find other ways to spend their time.

And Facebook is current destination for time-wasting. Everyone laughed when Betty White hosted SNL and said that Facebook was a huge waste of time, but nobody made that connection to the economy and said, "Hey, Facebook is really popular because people are out of work." Everyone just laughed at Betty's funny. And no one even wondered at how bad the economy must be that an 88-year-old woman still needs to work to pay for food.

And our free time is what makes Facebook worth any money at all. The company produces nothing. We see ads and that is what generates the most revenue. But the users produce 99.9% the content.

As long as Facebook succeeds, the recession will continue. So long as we are wasting time on it, we are not being paid to work. We give our labors away for free. To make Facebook rich.

I think someone should demand a salary for all this time spent making Facebook look good.

I don't know how many employees Facebook has on its books, officially, but there are 500 million names that need entering. And paid at least $8.50 an hour. And given health insurance. And dental.

The best I can find is that Facebook has 800 employees. And is worth, what, $33 billion (based on one potential IPO sales estimate)? And who would benefit from all that value? Maybe the top 50 employees and the investors. Would that trickle down into real jobs for Americans, or anyone?

By comparison, a company like Wal-Mart might be worth over $200 billion and employs 2 million people.

I'm not saying that Wal-Mart is better for America, but I needed something to compare.

So I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I view Facebook growth as inverse to the strength of our job market and our economy. As Facebook grows stronger, we grow weaker, based on how many people have nothing better to do with their time.

Now, if you really want to hear my kookiest theory, get me to explain how the book The Secret is responsible for the current economic recession.

Comments

If they are sitting on Mafia Wars or Farmville

then they are not working. But as long as they are not getting any more than their set time period in the library does anyone actually care what people are doing?

Face book is not bad at all....

Its a best source of keep the relationship. when our layer time we not use that source, than our mind has a devil house. we gain the information through that source....................

I somewhat agree

I am new to your musings so don't know how serious you are, but I think the idea has some merit. In addition to its effect on or reflection of the economy, I am worried about what is says about the evolution of people and the future of this planet. As many useful and interesting things you can do with Facebook, most are still pretty much about maximizing self-fulfillment, it seems to me. Perhaps in past decades there was too much self-sacrifice and unhappiness but I think we are WAY too far out on the self-centered end of the spectrum right now in terms of human development (I do partly blame the Secret and its ilk). If working people have so much time on their hands that they are doing tons of Facebook OR library-hanging, for that matter, then I wish they would volunteer some time in their communities with non-profits or contribute to national problem-solving. We have dire issues before us right now in need of all this devoted time and creativity.
-Libreb

Facebook

Don't you mean 'Cream of the Crap'?

That's just silly.

You know what's an even bigger time waster? TV, fictional books, movies, sports, games, hell ANYTHING recreational at all!

Nearly all my "facebook friends" are employed and many are in graduate programs with multiple jobs - that certainly doesn't stop them from using facebook, using their phones, watching tv, going to movies, and "wasting" a lot of time.

Maybe patrons are on facebook using it to network for jobs, or maybe they are just having fun. Regardless, there aren't all that many jobs to BE found and I think you can hardly blame that on facebook.

I think this is just as "kooky" as your "secret" theory. And I'm no fan of that book.

we won't know if I'm wrong for years...

and that's the best kind of theory... you can say I'm way off, but until the economy recovers and we can measure fb use during a strong economy against one during a recession, we can't know.

Facebook is not bad.

You are so far off the mark I don't even know where to begin. While it's true that people can waste time on Facebook, it's equally true that people can waste time in a public library just hanging out or sleeping but that's irrelevant. The point is you assume too much. Personally I use Facebook to learn about new ideas and projects and bands and music. For example, I just learned about an a capella group from Germany (Van Canto) who recreate guitar and bass and other instruments only using their voices in perfect pitch and they do everything from campfire songs to full blown Heavy Metal. Truly amazing and I found out about them because of Facebook. You can also learn how to do some amazing and fun projects from Make Magazine's Facebook page and the Instructables Facebook page. Heck if you click "like" then you get their posts in your news-feed. Not terribly different from the RSS feed phenomenon only you get more information and often additional comments. As Terry Pratchet said in one of his Discworld novels, "everything goes both ways." Facebook can be used to waste time but equally it can be used as a tool to speed up the learning process and stay on top of multiple subjects faster than any other way or other social network; though it's up to the individual how they use it, and that is the great thing about freedom. Seriously get an account, learn how to use it and you will see. Sharing information (including thoughts and feelings) is not wasting time. Eventually it leads to better understanding and that is something the world needs now more than ever.

birdie, you don't see the relationship?

of course, there isn't enough data, since 2006 when fb opened to everyone, it has grown along as the world's economies have struggled, giving the unemployed a place to spend their time.
of course, I'm being facetious, unless freakonomics or some other economist writes to say the same thing, then I was totally serious all along. -eff

Serious?

Not sure if you're being facetious or not effing...

Facebook is at the ~forefront~ of social media; it's one of the best ways of communicating with each other. Person to person, person to organization, organization to person, etc. etc.

Just look at (for example) the Omaha Public Library's facebook site

It's full of INFORMATION! Much of it useful to Omaha-ans and non-Omaha-ans (??). Facebook can be such a valuable resource; but yes, it is also a fantastic time killer.

Did you join Oprah, Libraries Need You! on fb? In little over a week, it has turned from a dream that Marilyn Johnson had into a group of over 1100 citizens determined to get Oprah to do her part for libraries. Where else can you get that to happen? It's powerful!!

Anyway, go outside and play effing!! Always enjoy your musings.

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