Today, Facebook Vice President of Product Chris Cox speaks in an interview about Facebook’s plans to allow its users to drive the future of the social networking site—through tools such as the recently introduced “groups” and “places” features—rather than relying on computer algorithms that analyze and organize content to meet the same end. Cox calls this approach “social design.”
This is admirable and makes sense, except that so many of us have used Facebook to merely “manage” our relationships rather than seek genuine connection with our fellow man.
As Joanna Weiss points out in her Op-Ed from last Tuesday, the information we choose to share to the rest of the world via Facebook is often merely a front that helps us package ourselves the way we hope to be seen, rather than as we truly are. As a result, our online relationships are pretty flimsy.
If that’s the case, then perhaps computers, that are unencumbered by human frailties and self-deceptions, may in fact provide us with a better gauge of what’s truly important to us based on how we act rather than what we think we believe.
Sort of like when you ask someone if they’d be willing to take mass transit to help save the environment, most folks will answer in the affirmative…until Monday morning rolls around and they’re late for work and they’ve got a million things to do and their car is right there in the garage.
I applaud Facebook’s thinking, but wonder if human beings are as reliable as we think we are. And if we’re all going to be fake online anyway, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to let the computers do the thinking for us?