We all got lured into the promise of an open and global community. Connect with our fellow humans. Share our lives. Then it expanded. Not just our personal lives, but a place to share professionally. Somewhere you can build a community who can get direct access to you. It all sounded so great. Almost too good to be true. But we (or most of us) took the bait. And then the world came crashing down around us. Over and over again, the systems we created to connect with our followers changed overnight. Until there was no keeping up and no way out. Comedy writer Matt Klinman broke down the three phases of Facebook to build its zoo that we're all stuck in. What's your Facebook animal?
Facebook is like a zoo. And what the zoo did is that they went out and invited the best animals in the animal kingdom to come into their zoo, so it would be easier for people to see them. They told the lions that, 'the biggest fans of you, the lion, are here at the zoo and it's so much easier for them to see them here than go out on safari and to see you out there. It's safer for them. Won't you come into our zoo and we'll display you prominently and your fans will be able to see you. You're a great lion, please, come be a lion in our zoo.' And that was early stage Facebook.
And then middle stage Facebook was basically they got so many people at the zoo, that nobody noticed that Facebook had gone out with a bunch of hunters and just shot all of the animals in the wild and killed them so that there were no more websites. Everybody's website looks like shit because it's just a repository of things that they posted on Facebook once. And so in our metaphor here, the whole Serengeti is just filled with the corpses of animals and whole ecosystems that are just gone now. But you can still see those animals in the zoo.
Then they started playing games with those animals in the zoo. Forcing the lion, 'well, hey people aren't really, you're not getting the engagement you once did just walking around being a lion, if you don't mind, would you mind dancing a little bit or playing the according here so that people will be more engaged with you. The chimpanzee has been doing all this accordion stuff and it's been awesome. You know the parrots have been doing all this top down recipe making where they make food and you're looking directly down on it. Lion, why don't you make those foods or play the accordion or whatever. And if you don't, I'm sorry, we're just going to have to shrink your enclosure more and more until you die as well, just like your brethren did out in the wild.' That's like what Facebook is doing right now to the Internet."