Most of Facebook’s interactions are local interactions, either between members of a community or people we already know in real life. The connections which span continents are estimated to be around 12% and 16% of the total.
Ethan Zuckerman thinks that Facebook is being led astray by its grand vision of connecting the world together, when really it should be focusing in enabling deeper local connections:
The most challenging problems Facebook faces are not those of ensuring that all humanity is connected. The challenge is to manage the connections we already have. Facebook’s tendency to connect us most tightly with those who share our perspectives and views is part of the web of forces leading to polarization and the breakdown of civility in politics in the US and elsewhere. The tendency to pay attention to the struggles and difficulties of our friends distances us from struggles in other communities, even as networks make it more possible for us to connect with those directly effected. Before we take the next step in human evolution, we need to look closely at the downsides of the connectivity we’ve already achieved.
Mike Monteiro racconta la sua relazione con Twitter — un posto inizialmente dove stringere amicizie e incontrare sconosciuti, diventato poi sempre più difficile da gestire e ostile verso i propri utenti:
At some point in 2006, or possibly late 2005, Noah Glass walked into our office all excited about something. That in itself isn’t news because Noah was always excited about something. Dude had an energy. Noah worked across the hall from us on the sixth floor of a old broke-ass building in South Park. He came over all the time. He was friendly like that. Here’s why we’re talking about this particular visit: Noah was excited to tell us about a new thing he was working on. “You can use it to send group SMS.”
Leigh Alexander su quella funzionalità di Facebook che una volta al giorno ti ricorda cosa ti è successo uno, due, tre o più anni fa nella stessa giornata:
Part of the palpable dissonance comes from the fact that many of our posts were never intended to become “memories” in the first place. An important question gets raised here: what’s the purpose of all this “content” we serve to platforms, if it’s useless in constructing a remotely valuable history of ourselves? Are we creating anything that’s built to last, that’s worth reflecting on, or have social media platforms led us to prize only the thoughts of the moment? […]
We generally think of social media as a tool to make grand announcements and to document important times, but just as often – if not more – it’s just a tin can phone, an avenue by which to toss banal witterings into an uncaring universe. Rather, it’s a form of thinking out loud, of asserting a moment for ourselves on to the noisy face of the world.