Antonio Garcia Martinez:
Facebook is to real community as porn is to real sex: a cheap, digital knockoff for those who can’t do better. Unfortunately, in both instances use of the simulacrum fries your brain in ways that prevent you from ever experiencing the real version again. But we’ll take what we can get.
I’m not one to defend pornography — it does strike me as poor wording to say “for those who can’t do better” above. Both for pornography, as well as for community. Because I don’t think “doing better at community” is what not using Facebook is.
That notwithstanding, the analogy is interesting, because like pornography everything is amplified to a fictitious level on Facebook. Which then creates real problems, like porn does for sex education and expectations, in the real world. It’s not people flock to Facebook because they are incompetent at finding real people to talk to, its that when you go to talk to real people they are buried in their iPhones. It’s that when you go to talk to real people, they ask you if you saw what they just posted on social media.
The other interesting analogy here is that not only can people be “thine true self” on Facebook as with porn, but they are also far more likely to see and desire to see the limits. “What crazy shit can I post to get people to like it?” Which becomes problematic because it normalizes the extraordinary.