The Facebook Exodus and the Future of Human Communication
Boulder, CO. January 26th 2011.
I left (deactivated) Facebook with the intention of never returning a few days ago. I thought I’d share a few thoughts on why here on the public blog.
Many of the smartest people I know are leaving Facebook as well. I predict we’ll see many people leaving over the coming months and adopting Twitter.
For around a year I’ve been using Twitter as my primary way to communicate with most of the important people in my life.
I believe that Twitter is a new form of communication so important that it rivals the development of language in the evolutionary history of the human race.
In a few hundred years historians (or our immortal digital selves for that matter) will look back at this day and say “wow, Twitter really changed a lot of things for the people who used it. It’s too bad so many people stuck with Facebook because they were brainwashed into clicking “Like” on photos of hot girls/boys they’ll never sleep with all night long.”
Today, let’s just focus on why I left Facebook, and why you should too!
1. The purpose of the Internet is to facilitate face to face communication.
I’m beginning to see the Internet as a tool to bring people together, so they can communicate 1 to 1 in order to exchange knowledge in a high-definition way. I’ve noticed that I learn the best these days when I meet brilliant minds to meld with, in person. Facebook wasn’t facilitating this for me, it was simply becoming a black hole where plans are made but never acted upon.
Twitter does bring people together. The only reason I’m staying in Boulder CO at the moment and speaking on May 21st 2011 at This is Mindful in Melbourne Australia is because of real world interactions via Twitter.
These days I can tweet in any city, or to any city, and things happen such as tweetups or missions dedicated to saving the world. If I need a place to stay, why not just Tweet? Easy. Yes, it takes time to develop a Twitter network large enough to facilitate this kind of massive collective interaction, but it is possible.
2. Accelerated cultural evolution.
Over time Twitter develops into convergent collectives of idea innovators and executors. @rosshill is a big advocate and designer of these collectives. Essentially, your education begins to accelerate due to natural group interactions on Twitter. I’ll tweet an idea while @edwardharren @janstewart @davidahood are asleep in Melbourne, and they’ll further the idea while I’m asleep in Boulder. Over Twitter we exchange ideas, articles, and books that are necessary for the work that interests us, thus we grow together.
This is exponential education — I’m an idea-growth addict these days.
If someone in the collective isn’t resonating with me, I simply unfollow. If I stumble across someone who is resonating, I follow. It’s a fluid collective with no obligations or contracts. Don’t worry if I unfollow you, I might just come back later! It all has to do with where my mind is focused on the work.
Twitter collectives begin to develop their own languages and insider knowledge. with Twitter can even start learning how to #ibc, which is a pretty extraordinary intuitive skill to master.
3. Attention is a currency.
We’re in a full-scale war on Internet noise, and Facebook isn’t helping. Facebook’s purpose is to bring you back again and again to see ads, this means the software is designed to play on your human desires in order to make you return to the software multiple times a day.
The noise on the Internet will only grow over the next few months, and our human minds can’t deal with it. Facebook isn’t helping with the noise, instead it’s adding to it.
Where Twitter retweets and @messages feel like an epic win in the gameification of reality, Facebook “Likes” feel like an epic win for Mark Zuckerberg. Why? Because every time someone hits the “Like” button on your Facebook page, it draws you back into Facebook so you can see another advertisement. Cash-money for Facebook.
You can’t trade your ‘Like’ wealth (the amount of times that someone has clicked ‘Like’ on your status update or photo) for real cash –Facebook can and does. Shouldn’t Facebook be paying you to spend all of your time on their site?
4. We need to create and own our virtual reality worlds.
Gwen pointed me in the direction of this beautiful talk by Jonathan Harris about the reality of the Internet today. I want to make out with him (we can invite Gwen too) after the talk, you will too after you watch it.
Jonathan is beginning to see two Internets. One of these internets is filled with condominiums that all look alike, with your own pictures on the walls. These condos are easy, and free. Your great aunt can set one of these Facebook condos up — so easy.
The other Internet is the one where we build our own beautiful virtual worlds. This blog for example exists in a world that I have control over — it wouldn’t be the same or have any power if I hosted the content on Facebook or another condo-like housing situation.
The problem with renting a free internet condo (ahem, Facebook) is that someone else has control of your virtual world. So, the default for a generation of new Internet users has been to go the easy route.
The thing is, the easy route isn’t going to create you a second self that supports your life in the real world, it’s just going to keep you in a place where you’re interacting with the noise.
The farther we get away from letting someone else control our virtual world, the easier it is to find success in a world filled with overwhelming digital noise. This is why you find all of the successful digital people on Twitter, and hordes of people caught up in the noise on Facebook wondering why nothing is working for them.
Leaving Facebook is hard. It’s a part of your 3rd brain, the part of your mind that’s situated in the cloud. It’s important to build a Twitter presence first, and then slowly transition away from Facebook. To avoid losing all of your ambient intimacy at once, move slowly and with intention from Facebook to Twitter.
Here’s how to join us in our Twitter revolution. It’s a leap of faith, I’ll see you on the other side.
Twitter quick start guide:
- Sign up for an account using your name.
- Put a picture of your face. (No, not your hand, your face. No, not your kitten, your face.)
- Don’t follow celebrities or organizations (for the most part.)
- Follow real humans and cyborgs. A good list to get started is my follow list — every one of these people is a freakin’ brilliant revolutionary.
- Follow less than 150 people. 50 is ideal. Rotate the list based on resonation and intuition.
- Retweet links that you like. Say things that are awesome. Send positive energy into the world. Try unexpected things.
Let’s make the leap into a world where we have control of our virtual worlds.
The Jonathan Harris Aiga talk is here if you have 36 minutes to watch beautifulness.
Gwen wrote about her and Patrick’s experience leaving and being moderate with Facebook here.
Gwen and I recorded a video on the way to the coffee shop about why we left Facebook here.
Retweet this post so your friends can see it. If you’re still on Facebook, hit the ‘Like’ button so more people will defect to the free world.