A Meta Death Spiral: Imagining A Post Facebook World

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Facebook (Meta) has a problem. In fact, it has a specific problem, one you might call the Blockbuster Conundrum. How do you innovate when you have a vested interest in pretty much keeping things exactly the way they are? With Blockbuster, they struggled to the advent of streaming. Meanwhile, Facebook (Meta) is having a real problem with how the audience they want — tweeners — have moved on to various other networks including Tik-Tok.

Network of the living dead.

So, in a panic, Meta is scrambling to turn not just Instagram into a Tik-Tok copycat, but Facebook itself. This is potentially a recipe for disaster. We’re talking potentially a MySpace death spiral.

All of this leads to the idea of what might come next?

Well, given how much money Facebook has, I think it’s safe to say that whatever happens, Meta can just buy itself out of the situation eventually. That’s why they’re trying to be cool and call themselves “Meta.” But there is a real risk that the gap between the MySpace-like death of Facebook and the real birth of the metaverse might be so long that we live in a “post Facebook” era for a little while.

What that look like?

Well, in a sense, we’re already in that era because only the Olds still use Facebook and that’s because of a combination of entropy and the fact that Facebook serves the same social purpose as the phone book to Olds.

So, in a sense, while Facebook is very unhappy about losing all that sweet, sweet tweener eyeball traffic and disposable money, they’re doing just fine and will probably continue to do so.

Facebook Has Ossified

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I was one of the first people to use Facebook when it left the confines of universities. Now, of course, eventually I got “zuccked” when my ranting against Trump grew too virulent.

Facebook is in trouble.

Flash forward and we find ourselves in an interesting situation. But for many billions of dollars, Facebook would be in deep, deep trouble. Facebook has always been a utility that served a social purpose. And, yet, we find ourselves in a situation where Facebook is very popular — among Olds like me.

Young people, meanwhile, have migrated towards things like Tik-Tok.

With that in mind, Facebook is working on becoming more like Tik-Tok — whatever that means.

And, yet, I would suggest that Facebook may be doomed. It’s doomed because it has a vested interest in staying pretty much like what it is now. It can only change so much. If they do too much of a change, then they risk the alienated of Olds who, by definition, don’t like change.

In a sense, Facebook faces a Blockbuster problem, where their legacy business is so powerful that they just can’t innovate like buying Netflix or go into streaming. But they do have many, many billions of dollars and they can always just buy or innovate their way out of things.

But it definitely seems as though Facebook faces gradual, then fast decline. Of course, it’s possible that Facebook’s parent company Meta is going to take things to the next level by cornering the metaverse market. That’s a very real possibility. That is, at least, what Zuck is hoping for.

What The Success Of The Internet Can Tell Us About The Possible Future of The Metaverse


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

When I was in college at JMU, I was obsessed with the Internet revolution that was going on around me, to the point that I studied every little morsal of news about it thinking I might see something unexpected about to take off. If I had had any ability to learn software, there’s a chance I could have become some sort of dotcom billionaire before the whole thing was over.

The kids of Meta.

But, sadly, just like how I’m not fond of little kids who aren’t mine and they aren’t all that fond of me, either, I’m a writer of words, not code. This, however, did not stop me from ending up my college newspaper’s first online editor.

The interesting thing, and the thing we can learn the most from, is how it was not inevitable that cyberspace’s endgame would be the public Internet and, not, say, AOL, CompuServ, Prodigy or even AT&T / Ziff Davis’ Interchange. There definitely was a huge amount of momentum that was in the public Internet’s favor in the mid to late 1990s, but nothing is inevtiable.

It could be suggested that because the rise of the Internet was a unique thing event unto itself that it was given a breaks that it otherwise would never have gotten. If the powers that be — especially in the media — had truly understood how “disruptive” the Internet would ultimately have become, they likely would have tried to throttle it while they still had the opportunity.

So, this brings us to the Metaverse.

Meta is playing the part of 1990s Microsoft in this example of history repeating itself. This go round, because of what happened with the Internet, the Powers That Be know the potential power of this very disruptive concept and, as such, want to make it closed and proprietary so they can control it.

If you wanted to make yourself feel better, you would believe that despite this willful sabotage, all we might need some scrappy startup to use existing open standards for Web 3.0 (if they exist) in such a way that what happened to the Web when Netscape was released will happen to the Metaverse.

Or not.

It could be that Facebook, er Meta, will always control the Metaverse and that will be that. It will be interesting to see how things play out going forward.

Jesus Christ, Is Meta Thirsty About Being Considered Hip


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Because of my fucking severely broken right ankle being in the process of healing, I’m stuck on the couch writing, developing, reading — and watching TV.

While I love the idea that, essentially every waking hour is now going to be focused on working on one of my four thrillers, or a scifi pandemic novel or a scifi screenplay or a short story, I fucking hate watching TV.

I keep seeing Meta’s fucking thirsty ad begging for hip POC to give them street cred. This, of course, is never going to happen. That ship has sailed. It’s all about Tik-Tok now. And should the “metaverse” take off, it’s more likely to be some small startup with really cool features that blows up and gets the street cred that Meta is begging for.

Ok, guys, we get it.

The reason why the Meta ad is so thirsty is this: they have a group of young men and women POC who are seduced by the amazing potential of the Meta platform. We see their faces in EXTREME CLOSE UP, giving us the sense that they’re about to cum because of how great and wonderful Facebook — I mean Meta — is.

It’s so over the top and transparent that, ugh, it’s just very dumb and a waste of time. Meta, however, does have a lot of money. So I guess it’s at least possible that through sheer force of will provided by a few billion dollars of marketing over a few years that they might get their wish.

No Good Will Come From Big Tech Hiding A ‘Soft Singularity’


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It seems as though there are three possibilities before us if what I fear is happening — a soft Singularity — is happening. One, somehow we find out and there’s a regular Luddite revolt against Big Tech, or we don’t find out. If we don’t find out, then either Big Tech subtly controls us or an autocratic government does.

So, it’s very easy to imagine President Mike Pompeo in 2025 using the power of a secret soft Singularity to track not only me down, but everyone I’ve spoken to about what a big piece of shit he is. It would be very easy for piece-of-shit President Pompeo to make me “vanish” using the information he’s gathered via the Soft Singularity.

Now, again, this is the point where I point out that for the time being the Deep State or “steady state” is probably the Good Guys in such a scenario. They’re not perfect — they’ve done plenty, PLENTY of shady shit — but if I had to make a choice between piece of shit Pompeo and the Steady State, I’m throwing my lot with the NSA.

Anyway, the point is, because of this secret soft Singularity, some crazy shit might happen without us realizing it. If the Chinese Government (Tik-Tok) and Big Tech (Google, Facebook) are rooting around in my mind right now there is going to come a point where they’re going to reach out and give people like me a “love tap” in the real world. Now, that sounds REALLY PARANOID.

And it is. It’s really fucking paranoid.

And I don’t even know what I mean in real terms.

But the longer soft singularity technology is being hidden, the more it’s worth to Big Tech to keep it that way. Thankfully, absolutely no one listens to me or respects me. So I could be literally telling you something that actually exists in the real world right now….and….absolutely nothing would happen.

I simply don’t have any proof. I have a bunch of hunches.

And I’m wrong a lot. Like all the fucking time.

Facebook’s Half-Assed ‘Deplatforming’ of Me


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Welp, I’m in a curious limbo with Facebook. First, some context. I’ve been using Facebook since about 2007 and as during the Trump Era all I did was rant — often with a lot of “fucks” — about how angry I was about it.

So, if that’s the reason why they’ve put me in a time-out while they “evaluate” my case, I get it. But they’ve been “evaluating” my case for six months now and even though they blame it on COVID….it definitely seems as though they don’t want me around anymore.

I guess I just they would just be more honest about it. Or, at the very least, fish or cut bait. Either let me back on the platform or tell me that I was, in my own way, being too deranged for their liking.

It’s a very surreal feeling being unable to use Facebook. I feel like the Isaac Asimov character in a short story of his who is unable even to use a computer — the court forbids is.

Anyway. At least I have the novel.

Tik-Tok Is Extremely Brazen About Reading My Mind Using Digital Telepathy


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Tik-Tok is going to get Big Tech in trouble. Let me give you an example.

Recently, I came out of the shower and looked on the floor. I saw how wet the floor was and thought about how I didn’t want to get my feet wet.

I did not tell anyone this. I didn’t write a blog post, text any one, nothing. The concept’s sole existence was in my mind.

Within moments, I looked at my Tik-Tok For You Page and, surprise, what video do I see, but one about to keep your bathroom floor from getting wet when you take a shower.

This type of thing happens so often with Tik-Tok that they have to be reading my — and millions of other people’s — mind.

If Tik-Tok has this technology, then Facebook and Google do, too. (Facebook has a patent on such technology, by the way.) And it’s possible that was why Tik-Tok was so bent out of shape about giving its algorithm to any new American owner — they were worried their extremely good, extremely intrusive Digital Telepathy technology would fall into the hands of the Americans.

So, I suspect China’s government is using Tik-Tok to read American minds.

The Curious Case Of Me Getting ‘Zuccked’


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

For some reason, my Facebook account has been in limbo for about a month now. I was put in Facebook jail for an extremely dumb reason. And yet, here I am a month later and my account is still in prison with no other explanation than COVID-19 is making it more difficult for them to check my account.

I’m beginning to think that all my anti-Trump ranting on Facebook has finally ended my time on the service. Or, they’re going to wait until after the Election to finally let me out.

We’ll see, I guess.

Why I Think Facebook & Google Can Read Our Minds

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I generally do not believe in conspiracy theories. In fact, I find conspiracy theories to be the last refuge of the intellectually dishonest. And, yet, I can’t deny the evidence staring at me straight in the face: my phone is reading my mind.

It’s long been public that Facebook recently got a patent to do this very thing. And it’s also become common knowledge that both Facebook and Google believe they will be able to allow us to type using just our minds. So, it makes a lot of sense that it’s happening already to some extent.

The issue is, I think Facebook and Google (and God only knows who else) know words, but not context. So if you’re thinking about something really hard, it’s seen as a keyword and you get ads or videos connected to that keyword. Some pretty eerie things have happened way too many times in the last year or so for something like this not to be happening. Usually, it’s when there is no other explanation for the content I’m being shown. If I don’t say it out loud, or search for it or message anyone about it, how do I get information specifically tailored for what’s been on my mind the last few days.

This suspicion came to a head just today when something pretty wild happen. I was using YouTube and I started seeing videos for things that are not at all on my mind. I’m not even interested in them at all. For instance, why all the safe deposit box videos? Why all the End of The World videos? I’ve not really been thinking about either one of those things of late.

But you know who I bet has — my dad.

My dad is elderly and in the twilight of life. If you think about it, a safe deposit box is definitely something a man near the end of his life might have at the forefront of his mind. So, the only thing I can think of is my phone is on and near by dad when we’re driving to lunch or what have you. The phone picks up the word “DEATH” or “SAFE DEPOSIT BOX” at the forefront of my dad’s mind and ta-da, that’s the kind of stuff I see on YouTube.

In all honestly, I have no idea if I’m right or not. But it does make a lot of sense. It does make you think about what people would do if they realized that Google and Facebook were reading their minds without their permission. Add to that that it’s likely the Intelligence Community probably has far more advance technology and things get a little spooky. What’s more, when the Singularity happens and SkyNet kills us all…it may not be much of a fairfight if the robots can read our minds.

Let that sink in.

The Long Arm Of Usenet: An Observation About Facebook Orienting Itself Around Facebook Groups

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have gone on a great length about how someone should “kill” Twitter by updating Usenet UX / UI. Well, now that Facebook is beginning to orient itself around its Facebook Groups feature, let me note thing.

If you combine Facebook Groups with Facebook Notes and then take it to the next level by threading the discussions using Notes inside the groups, well, there you go. My personal vision becomes a reality.

That’s what I want.

That’s what I want to be able to use.

The question, of course, is will Facebook see what I see?