resistance is futile

First: I made a new set:

0: Garry Schyman – Bioshock: The Ocean On His Shoulders [Irrational]
1: Chloe Harris – Skooch (Oliver Lieb Remix) [Mashtronic]
2: Karmina – Wonder 21 (Mat Jonson Remix) [Opossum]
3: Boris Brejcha – White Snake [Harthouse]
// Fractal – Tritoch Wakes Up [Tide Pool]
4: Gary Beck – A590 Beats [Mezzotinto]
5: Metope – M1D1 [Areal]
6: Garry Schyman – Bioshock: Empty Houses [Irrational]

Art is from Alberich Mathews.

Now then! It’s the much-touted Facebook design post, at long last. Why does Faceborg work? Why is it so popular? Is it a Good Thing? The people at Freakonomics talked about the latter question: I’m going to talk about the first two.

The easy answer for the suspicious popularity of Facebook and MySpace is that people like to conform, although they’d never admit it. Being surrounded by a peer group is something that people have a very deeply hardwired desire for. Things like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and so on allow people to be reminded of their peer group basically constantly, both implicitly (10 of your friends did some thing!) and explicitly (You are friends with Bob!). People like this a lot, and Facebook offers about a thousand and one ways to do it – even more ways than MySpace, I’ll wager. All these reminders of friendship are very addictive. I’ll even be super cute and say that they trigger friendorphins.

Awful puns aside, people also like being news – as witness this blog. Facebook allows about a thousand ways for people to be news: the Twitter-esq status updates, the pictures, the picture tagging, and so on. Even the applications, awful as they can be, serve the same purpose. You are doing something and it’s important! Vital! Valuable! Tell the world!

The real evil genius of the site comes in the combination of these two psychological hooks. Facebook makes it obscenely easy to tell people what you’re doing: going out, talking to someone, taking pictures, posting notes, forming groups, friending people, looking for new friends, etc. The site can broadcasts your activity on it to every one you know. “Tell a Friend.” “Send to a Friend.” “Invite Friends”, and so on. Not only are your actions news, they remind your friends that you care about them, even in small, I-tagged-you-in-a-picture sort of ways.

The power of these two hooks is spoken to by what Facebook is not: It’s a lousy blog, the picture side is good but not as good as Flickr, the messaging system is the least efficient thing known to man, and it’s kind of ugly. If you told me I’d still be reading black on white with blue highlights across three columns in 2008…well, I’d have been a little depressed.

All those issues aside though, the site is popular because of the two above bits of genius and madness. Anyone making any kind of online software (which means just about any software in this day and age) should take note.