Progressive Media Concepts recently posted an interesting question: What Would You Do If Facebook Shut Down Tomorrow?
One I recovered from my blackout (it’s my body’s automatic self-defense mechanism when faced with the unthinkable) I read on, curious to hear PWC’s analysis:
Moral of the story here is that so many people have developed such an attachment (and often an unhealthy one) to Facebook that, if it were to vanish, they would have a hard time adapting to what was once called normal social etiquette. Technological dependance as a whole has crippled us from our former selves, leaving us ever so vulnerable in an instance of its destruction.
Hmm, not buying it. PWC was far closer to the mark in speculating that:
Facebook’s connectivity would very likely be replaced by Twitter. Twitter would inevitably become the go-to social media site, where people would stay up-to-date with their friends by way of tweets. Twitter, as is, would simply not be able to fill the giant void that Facebook would leave behind.
PWC is right: Facebook would be replaced. Twitter wouldn’t do the job (quite) but dozens of other also-rans would get their opportunity to step into the Facebook void, and one (or several) would likely succeed…maybe even while resolving some of the major issues (privacy, anyone?) that continue to plague Facebook itself.
But the inevitability of a post-Facebook social network isn’t evidence that we’re “crippled” by technology dependence: it’s evidence that we’ve learned to use technology in ways that are so profoundly valuable that we are no longer prepared to imagine life without them. Yes, we use Facebook to farm imaginary farms and evaluate who is hot or not, but we also use it to sustain friendships and share personal moments and cheer each other on. We use it in thousands of ways that are so affecting that yes, it would be hard to adapt to their absence.
That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Rather than casting our affection for social media as dependence, let’s embrace it as evolution: evolution towards a society in which we can celebrate all means of connection, on- and offline.