You’re bored, so you stagger out onto a virtual stage under a searingly bright virtual spotlight, look out at your virtual audience, and see an alienating stew of every social group you’ve ever belonged to, with plenty of friends’ dads, former authority figures, ex-enemies, fleeting acquaintances, and androids stirred in for good measure. Given this mob, you are unlikely to step to the mic and spill out your deepest musings or broadcast blurry PG-13 images from your latest house party. So it is unsurprising that Facebook is struggling to get users to really “open up” on the platform these days.
Insiders say the all-seeing Eye of Zuckerberg is worried that its 1.6 billion subjects no longer reveal as much personal content these days, preferring instead to link to news or information from other sites. Facebook employees reportedly termed this problem “context collapse,” which is what results when you find yourself accumulating an audience so vast and impersonal that posting intimate snippets of your lived life feels misguided at best and embarrassing at worst. That kind of oversharing has migrated to platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, younger and less overgrown, with more carefully culled audiences.
The problem is that personal content seems to be the “money machine at the heart of the network,” according to Bloomberg. When you take a photo of your dog or brunch, you are supplying the lifeblood for our omniscient overlords, huh. Just a small hiccup for them, though, and it sounds like they’re already onto a fix:
Zuckerberg on Tuesday did a video address to Facebook users encouraging them to post live video of whatever they want, noting that even mundane activities like getting a haircut can be entertaining when they’re in the moment. More than five million people watched.