Sunday, January 20, 2008

Facebook can take their Bear Balloon and shove it!

I wouldn't normally write a blog about Facebook. Having seen a book about Facebook in WH Smiths while on my way back to Letchworth for the weekend I've become convinced the whole affair is a horrible cliché. Writing about it or otherwise making it out to be somehow important or profound is silly. The Facebook industry exploits poor, deluded and normally middle-aged people who buy into the idea their social life can be improved with better IT skills. The opposite is true.

However, my Facebook-blog embargo has to be broken thanks to the social milestone that is the $1 Bear Balloon. You see, a Bear Balloon is clearly just a regular balloon with ears attached. Balloons are cheap. I'm convinced you could buy one for less than a dollar. Particularly if you were willing to bulk buy.

That means that the imitation has become more valuable than the actual product. Not only are people willing to pay for an entirely imaginary product - they're willing to pay more!

The kind of virtualised life that William Gibson imagined a few years ago has existed at the fringes for a while - Second Life and online games - now it is reaching the mainstream. Soon we'll all be buying virtual tickets to virtual plays with virtual props bought from virtual designers. It's weird. I think the Bear Balloon is a vital step on the path to such a weird future.

While I'm breaking my Facebook-blog embargo, I think you can divide the Facebook community into the old guard and Facebook-proles. Facebook-proles can be identified by their "(no network)" tag, the old guard have a university network. The Facebook-proles brought with them all of the paraphenalia that they loved on - weird little games, the ability to bite people as a zombie and a host of other distractions from real life. Ironically, many of the Facebook-proles are middle-aged, middle class people. They're so obviously jumping on the bandwagon. They're not cool. If you're a Facebook-prole then feel ashamed!


Steve said...

"The Facebook industry exploits poor, deluded and normally middle-aged people who buy into the idea their social life can be improved with better IT skills."

Trying to imply IT has a negative effect on peoples social skills eh??? Though in all fairness you might have a point there.

Also if you want to see how far Facebook has sunk, I think the best example is the "Whats your blood type" application, which unless the NHS are going to start looking on our facebook profiles before they give us blood seems completely pointless. Course if they did do that all they'd find out is that someone is a zombie killer or something.

Meg said...

Of course, the fake version is only worth more than the real version if people actually pay for it. Otherwise it's not worth anything and the price is meaningless. Is there a way to see how many people have bought a particular "gift"?

Alex said...

Would it make a difference if the gift was a picture of a bar of gold instead of a picture of a balloon?

NB: For the record, some "old school" facebookers aren't memebers of uni networks. I removed mine when I realised that all it did was profide people I have never met, who happened to attend the same university as me, access to my profile.

Matthew Sinclair said...

Yeah - if the real life item is worth more than $1 then it might be that you see the Facebook representation as an inferior substitute for something you can't obtain in real life. I can't see that being the case for the Bear Balloon though.

Swordsman said...

Are you dissing Warbook...

Man, Palpatine and the girls are going to Fireball you!