Friend Google, not Facebook
Last year, our use of Facebook surpassed our Google usage. Why is this a problem?
If you are on Facebook, there are only seven possibilities for what you might be doing.
You are posting a random thought that just struck you.
You are writing on someone’s wall, probably something that will confuse anyone else who looks, such as the word “TURDUCKEN.”
You are going through all the posts of that one guy from high school who thinks that he’s a werewolf. You are “ liking” something. You are joining the Taylor Lautner fan page.
You are viewing the photos of your former significant other, trying to deduce whether he or she has found happiness and if that happiness is better-or worse-looking than you are.
You are posting a picture that is either unflattering or compromising.
If you are searching Google, however, you are at least, in theory, expressing the kind of curiosity that is not synonymous with stalking. For example:
You are trying to prove a point to someone. You have whipped out your iPhone; he is looking it up simultaneously on his BlackBerry, and it is taking him much longer. You are Googling yourself. You are trying to remember what the name of that thing is by searching for other things that remind you of the thing.
You are typing a question to see if Google will suggest that question back to you.
You suddenly want to know something oddly specific, like what, if anything, PaulMcCartney thought about Yoko Ono.
I find all these uses reassuring. But apparently, they’re going out of vogue.
If you don’t think it’s a slippery slope, consider: In 2007, MySpace was top. Now it’s a laughingstock.
The Internet was supposed to be a window. Google has always embraced this idea — pointing outward. From your desk in whatever remote corner, you could access the accumulation of human knowledge. But Facebook feeds the opposite of this impulse. Even when you’re peering at your neighbor, its narrow blue window offers only a clearer view of your navel.