This Sucks-erburg!: Facebook’s countless users are taking flight. Thank goodness.

By: James Cassar
Farmville is becoming the new ghost town. Mafia Wars have ceased, and Words with Friends have shifted from dueling Scrabble tiles to 140-character tweets. The flavor of the week has changed digital hands once again. Luckily, the internet graveyard has a plot of land freshly dug next to Tom Anderson’s early 2000s hangout MySpace, and Facebook is six months from being six feet under. I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg will become a fan of his demise.
It’s a sheer sign that the Mayan apocalypse has clocked in early when everyone from seven-year olds to senior citizens have a profile on Facebook, which has extended its influence past the hallowed Harvard campus to small countries like Monaco. Monaco, you know that French country that shares its name with a brand of luxury RVs, has a population of just over 35,000, yet SocialBakers reports that the miniscule nation has over 37,000 Facebook users. Granted, it has the most millionaires and billionaires per capita, but the area of this European principality is just under a square mile. This isn’t just a social network; this is asérieux can of sardines. But this isn’t about international players; this is about the Stars and Stripes. What happened to America’s plugged-in pride and joy?
Log into Facebook today, and you’ll find the following: pictures on the news feed splayed all down the page like your average crime scene, encouraging a user to “Like this page if you’re against intergalactic warfare,” or the more trivial “Beautiful teens” or “Cutest couples” photoparaphenalia, where if you don’t confess your admiration for every relationship on the site, you’re a heartless demon sent straight from Hell.
This reminds me of MySpace surveys, where 65+ questions were broadcasted to every ‘friend’ on the site via a bulletin, as if we needed to know what Ursula, 16, from Fresno, ate for lunch Wednesday and what her favorite song by Nickelback is.
These ancient formulaic questionnaires took heavy nods from Internet chain mail, the dot-com answer to actual snail-mail spam, which made every eight-year old version of me cower in fear because if I didn’t click “Send,” the gerbil clown of my darkest nightmares would come and slash my Big Wheel tires.
Let’s not forget the introduction of the Baby Boomer tail-end, the demographic that was untapped by previous byte-size trends, who uses Facebook as a forum from everything to misusing the apathetic acronym “LOL” whilst abusing the Caps Lock key, commenting on every picture that somewhat relates to their views or visions, and weighing in on their younger relatives’ status updates with a briefing on their own life – even if the status update is the deepest line from the lamest Drake single.
Enter Twitter: the latest player in the gargantuan social media game, that replaces cartoonish “thumbs-ups” with 140-character tweets. Statuses become short-handed, retweets become the new “Share” function. It’s a breeding ground for the armchair activists, the humanitarians who plugged KONY 2012 for longer than two seconds, and where Internet memes and horrible subcultures of the World Wide Web haven’t polluted yet. It’s the safe haven that Facebook was….five years ago.
So, don’t be surprised if a graduate of Virginia Tech, class of 1959, is now following you on Twitter. Nowhere is safe. Except maybe MySpace.