Death by 1000 likes

Most of us to watch the Office to laugh, not to learn about what kinds of cameras they are using for various shots. Something about social networking today drove me to dig deeper.

I was first alarmed when Facebook had public notices after break-ups. It felt wrong, like someone was learning about humans secondhand. I didn’t know the word trigger then. Later, I would discover that as a founder of a software company, features don’t sneak in and then stick around for years. This sort of thing is intentional. What’s obvious is the place wasn’t designed by empaths.

I’m taking a leap at this is why they called one of their early employees, “The empath”. There’s nothing wrong with not being naturally feely, but it can get weird when “you people” design our communication protocols.

Weird vibes over the years have led to more and more social media breaks. When this happens, I miss stuff. If my best friend’s hot news mention in Fast Company goes unliked, I know he’s quietly festering, wondering if I hate him. He’s infinitesimally questioning the bond that I would positively die for, you know I would. Meanwhile, I just don’t want to “drink” social media tonight. This weird tension is whispering us back to our vices, which isn’t what drew us to the product in the first place.

“Facebook alternatives” can be controversial topics when there are Facebook employees in the room. They will usually wonder “Is your thing not immune to the same problems?” and “What good is something if everyone else in your life is not on it?”…Dinner Parties, your house, NCSSM, SalesForce, all business software. It doesn’t matter how many people are on it, but that the people that are there are having a good time.

I think of Facebook as the Walmart of Social Networking. Walmart is a very valuable company but it’s not known for experiences. Why do girls go to Sephora (LVMH) instead of Walmart for specific cosmetic needs? Sephora focuses on high margin, aspirational goods vs cost leadership, e.g. you save up for $25 on x for your face because it’s your face vs $5 for y. It’s not just a transaction, you want to go there, it’s a buying experience. The customer is an enthusiast with higher expectations. Sephora, like Apple, is not just for girls with earning power. It satisfies a human yearning for quality, specialization and craftsmanship.

Many go to nice restaurants for the social trophy, to talk about it prior, during, afterwards. A restaurant is a microcosm of the world. Others guests are truly food enthusiasts or a $100 meal is actually fast food to them. Everyone wants what they paid for. Imo, most of the conflict in Facebook is from the people finally awakening to where the money comes from and discovering what kind of behavior that drives.

What we’re making is like a dinner party versus a concert, where instead of maximizing the number of people in your house, you maximize an experience for a handful of people.

 
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