People said that MySpace couldn’t be toppled: the profiles were too pretty, the music selection was too vast and the users were too plentiful. Little did they know that the gigantic blue fists of the Facebook giant were looming just around the corner, stealing all of us helpless folk away with its minimalist charm and fondness for poking strangers.
A short while later Twitter strolled along, instantly forming a strong bond with celebrities’ eager to embarrass themselves publically, but it has so far managed to successfully co-exist with ‘FB’ rather than destroy it like we all secretly wish it would’ve done. Now Google + is trying to elbow its way into the mix and we’re all in danger of being buried up to our eyeballs in social networks.
So what are the key ingredients to take into account when trying to make the next big social networking site? Here’s the rundown for those of you who fancy yourselves as the next Zuckerberg...
Encourage overwhelmingly lazy interaction between friends
The best/worst part of Facebook, depending on how you look at it, is the “Like” system. The Like system, as I am sure you are all well aware, allows a user to languidly state their approval of their friends’ innermost thoughts by simply clicking the left mouse button. While some will say that this is the beginning of the downfall of society as we know it, I for one think that it’s an excellent idea as it allows me to effectively boost the self-esteem of those around me (and in turn have my self-esteem boosted too) without having to actually talk to any of those needy bastards.
I’m not sure how you’d go about making interacting with friends any lazier than one simple finger movement. Maybe you could integrate a voice recognition system, wherein the user could simply half-heartedly chuckle into a microphone every time one of their buddies makes a funny, and shout “FUCK OFF” every time an infuriatingly lonely girl pops up in the News Feed discussing what she’s having for her dinner.
Introduce a ‘Care-o-Meter’
Now here’s one we should all be able to get behind. Ever found yourself lifelessly scrolling through your News Feed hopelessly awaiting any semblance of thought-provoking dialogue amongst all the bad spelling and wall photos of people’s dogs lying down? Of course you have, and if you haven’t then I can almost guarantee that right now you have your Blackberry pointed at Fido’s cute ‘ickle sleeping face.
Well, here’s a way wherein we could promote good conversation. Each profile will have its own ‘Care-o-Meter’. The Care-o-Meter will let you know exactly how much of a shit people give about you by judging how many times they have clicked on your profile. Clicking on your photos won’t increase your rating either, so put them away girls.
The arrow on the Care-o-Meter will veer from “fully-functioning member of society” to “fully-fledged oxygen thief”, with the former for those whose output is intelligent and productive and the latter for those WHO RLY FUKIN H8 CHERIL COLE!!! In the middle of the two sits the “technically brain-dead” category, which is solely occupied by that girl who is still discussing what she’s having for dinner.
Allow insecure bitches to customise their photographs
Rather than having your female users incessantly upload iPhone photos of themselves making rapey eyes to the camera, why not introduce a customise feature? Like Photoshop but for imbeciles, the customise feature will allow every girl on your site to create that one perfect, beautiful photo that will ensure that they needn’t ever take another one. They can make their pouts more effervescent, their cleavage more exposed and their eyelashes can even touch their knees if they so please – it’ll be so EMPOWERING!
Of course, anyone who knows what they look like in real life will secretly be laughing about the photograph behind their back, but who cares what real people think when you’ve got hundreds of anonymous perverts desperately requesting to be your “friend”?
Make a ‘Reality’ mode
If aliens crash landed on our planet today and their first glimpse of human life was the image of a twenty-something year-old rotting away on Facebook, they’d be amazed at how bloody easy we’ve got it. “Talking without actually talking?” they’d say in their native language of Zorgon, “why didn’t we think of this sooner?!”
In reality life isn’t like Facebook: you can’t “accidentally” appear offline when someone inexplicably dull begins talking to you, nor can you simply hop into a conversation filled with people you don’t know and just start chatting away like a lunatic. Life is filled with awkward silences, sweaty handshakes and those moments where you hug someone with one arm because you’re not quite sure how to react to a stranger’s affection.
No-one wants to go through all that though, do they? Of course they don’t, and this is why sites like Facebook were invented. But there’s still that minority who are worried that Facebook is drawing us too far away from real life, and for these people I say we introduce a ‘Reality’ mode.
Reality mode is completely optional (we don’t want to drive everyone away by making it compulsory now do we?) and by activating it you make the site much more of a chore to navigate through. With each new friend you must decide how you are going to initially greet them, and a game of Rock, Paper ‘n’ Scissors ensues: do you opt for the formal handshake or the informal hug? Perhaps a friendly kiss on the cheek? Quickly, time is running out! Oh dear. You went for the kiss on the cheek, she went for the handshake. Now she thinks you’re a sexual predator. Better luck next time though, ay?
It doesn’t stop there though: every time you join a multi-conversation your laptop webcam will inexplicably turn on, leaving those in attendance to just sit and gawp at your petrified face. You’ll feel like everyone’s looking at you, and that’s because they are. Every single one of them is silently judging you. But that’s life though, right? Or “Reality mode”, as we know call it.
Photo Credit: WENN.com