The Network Effect
There is a concept in economics called the network effect. Basically, it means that the value of a good or service increases based on how many people use that product, or one related to it.
A textbook example of the network effect is the telephone. In the early days of the invention, the telephone was not particularly useful or valuable. They were very expensive. And if you could afford one, there wasn't much of a point. Phones were so exceedingly rare in their earliest days that even if you had one, there wasn't anyone to call. It took 50 years for the infrastructure to develop to the point that telephony was more widely available, and the utility of the device grew exponentially as more and more homes had one. 100 years after the phone's invention, network effects had transitioned the device from novelty to necessity.
Contemporary social networks operate under the same network effect. People are on Facebook because that is where their friends are, where pictures of the grandkids are, and where you can quickly and easily find groups of likeminded people.
The last few years we have seen both the importance of that connection, and the many ways it can be weaponized by bad actors. Being on Facebook is a constant tug-of-war between the ability to easily and meaningfully connect and guarding against the negative ways connection can be used against us.
I go back and forth on that pendulum constantly, and I have done so for years. There are times that I have felt more at home on Facebook than I did in real life, and other times where I have had to take a step back and breathe air where there is no little blue f.
I have had a lot going on the last few months. And there have been times that I have been grateful to take a step back from my online life. I know from personal experience how toxic it can become.
And. There is real community there. I have missed the conversations. I have missed the connections. I have missed my Facebook friends. The network effect.
I am rejoining Facebook. It may be for a month. It may be longer. I may only make it a few days and leave again. I don't know. I do know that I am in a place where connection is important.
I feel certain I will need another break at some point, and I will take it. And. For now, I am back in the land of Zuckerberg.
God help me. :-)
If you get a friend request from me, it's not an imposter. No one has been hacked. It's actually me. And if I forget to add you, it's a simple oversight, not an intentional slight.
So send me a friend request, if that's your thing. If not, no biggie. We will connect when and how the universe has for us.
Be well y'all.
And keep pounding the rock.