The Sense and Spirituality of Facebook at 10

spirituality of facebook

Today is Facebook’s tenth birthday.

What does it mean in our world?

 

In one decade, Facebook has become the largest media entity in history, touching a billion people.

It has transformed the way we love and fight … and how we discover new people to love and fight.

Facebook is beautiful and inspiring. It is aggravating and narcissistic. Either way, it is your own doing.

It has elevated the cat to an art form.

For many, It is re-defining our social sphere as we find goodness in some we mistrusted and ugliness in some we admired.

Facebook has altered the course of nations. It has been weaponized by bullies and those who seek to destroy our most fragile friends. A third of all divorce filings contain the word “Facebook.”

For some, it is the most beloved company in the world, for some the most feared. I can argue either side.

Facebook is like a dragon on a skateboard, scorching competitors with its fiery and furious breath. A decade in the making, it is already a Fortune 500 titan, bigger than companies that have been sweating hard for a century or more.

Facebook is an amplifier of our shiny best selves, hyped reflections of the people we want to be. Which is a kind of authenticity, I suppose.

A three-sentence status update from a stranger brought a tear to my eye. It ignited compassion and led to a deep new friendship. There is something profound about that.

Facebook delivers daily kernels of joy. Except in an election year.

It allows us to be the star and producer of our own reality show. Facebook deeply understands the value of that.

Facebook determines our daily relational reality with mathematical formulas. Addictive human connection dictated by algorithms. Hotel Zuckerberg. You can check in but you can never leave.

Facebook generally works. And that is an insanely brilliant achievement.

The future?

To be successful, Facebook must continuously diminish the value of personal privacy while increasing the amount of time people spend with ads they despise. That is not an easy business plan.

And yet.

Our unquenchable thirst to connect existed long before Facebook. To millions of people, Facebook IS the Internet. It is a family for those whose world might be otherwise vast and dark.

Facebook is the collective breath of human hope, desire, spontaneous combustion, naked poetry, neurosis, birth, death, unimaginable grief, and explosive joy.

It is the EKG for the world’s pulse.

That means something.

All posts

  • Ameena Gorton

    Facebook has changed the way we connect for sure by satisfying the desire to be a voyeur and a rock star all at the same time!

    I can personally attest that I’ve met some amazing people, that I would have never had the chance to meet without the platform, on a personal and professional level. And the insights in to consumer behaviour has been really fascinating.

    Curious to see what’s coming next.

  • I sense here a lot of mixed feelings…. and many of us do feel the same. Great post!

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  • It is both brilliant and terrifying, no question. Loved this post and wow, ten years? Amazing. It feels longer. And shorter than that.

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  • “Dragon on a skateboard”…love that visual! And Facebook remains, for me, the place where the most significant connection occurs. I lament the “not easy business plan” and hope that the “collective breath” will not require CPR. Lovely, lovely post that makes me smile, even with what might be darker clouds on the horizon for this collective breath. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Paraphrasing you: Facebook is our pulse, and that pulse will be used to increase the amount of time we spend with ads.

    Some interesting thoughts here. I don’t know if it was intended, but it is an interesting contrast to Jay Baer’s post earlier this week as well. A nod to Jay: yes, it is about ads. But to your point here: the only reason they have the attention to sell ads against is because it has become that pulse.

  • MrTonyDowling

    ‘It has elevated the Cat to an art from’
    Superb!
    Mark, your intellect has never been in question, your insight consistently riveting, but your writing style and ability continues to ‘grow’ at an exponential rate!
    I’ve always loved reading your posts (and books) but you my friend, have elevated the blog to an art form.
    Entertaining, informative, insightful (as mentioned) there is so much to glean from your work.
    Thank you as ever for an excellent post

  • This picture got me busting a gut. Hilarious!

  • Indeed. Plenty of surprises ahead!

  • C’est vrai. : )

  • Thanks for commenting Pauline!

  • I actually tried to get Mars to do a drawing of that dragon image but he was too busy ( a good thing!). Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for letting me know Kaarina!

  • I kind of disagree with Jay. I don’t think Facebook overlook the vital importance of engagement. He compared them to CBS or another network. But for Facebook, the “programming” is us. If it does not remain interesting to us, the whole things collapses. They will not lose sight of that.

  • Thanks for noticing Tony. Kind of pushed things in a different direction with this post. Have to keep it lively, right?

  • Thanks Katherine!

  • Well, my drawing skills are rudimentary, but on this “weather storm watch Wednesday” we’re experiencing here, I’m going to draw you a dragon on a skateboard:)

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