Posts Tagged ‘small talk’


Facebook: the new small talk

October 28, 2008

i wrote this piece back in April of 2007, but i figure its just as relevant today.  of course, this applies to more than just facebook, but at the time, “fb” was the new shit….

I think the underlying success of facebook falls within its ability to link people together without the intrusiveness.  Its both personal – and informal.  Yes, its exciting to see all your old classmates, co-workers, and friends, but if you don’t talk to them, then what’s the point?  Today, in the World Wide Web, one-sentence-phrases are sufficient enough to acknowledge your acquaintance or brethren, because it sends the message that: “hey, i notice you” or “i just thought of you” or “i have a thought regarding this action”; whilst still keeping a respectable distance.  It’s actually okay if the other party responds with a comment less personal than yours, let alone not responding at all.  Just the mere site of a new message/post on your page can conjure enough excitement to last a fleeing moment.

Think of the last post you’ve received from someone you don’t normally speak to, and how long the conversation was.  Now, read the conversation out loud. 

How long did it last?

20 seconds?

60 seconds tops.

Now imagine running into this person on the street.  Have that same conversation again.  Doesn’t quite work does it?  Do you feel that?  Its called awkward silence.  After the standard fare (how are you/what do you do now/what are you doing here/are you still with _____), conversation becomes a challenge.  The advantage of the net, means that responses don’t have to be instantaneous, which is a necessity when face-to-face, otherwise you create that aforementioned sound (or there lack of).

Facebook allows situations, where conversations can be created “naturally” (i.e. not forced, at one’s own leisure) – simply by observing one’s status commentary, photo album, or the viewing of others’ post to their wall.  It removes that “blank slate” that occurs when you meet someone on the street, by providing an opinion or visual image to comment upon.

Now this isn’t necessarily the attributes of facebook itself, but moreover, the internet. Facebook might be “so hot right, now” <in the tone of will ferrell, zoolander>, because it doesn’t racially group and people actually use their real names.  We are all just a little bit more connected, even if its by just a handful of characters across a screen.  There will be another facebook, but as of right now, Facebook is the ultimate small talk.

“Brevity is the soul of wit”
-William Shakespeare