Capitalism In The Time Of The Postmodern Website

The content of the website Facebook depends mostly on user-generated media. Throughout time, however, it has become more of a link sharing website for people who want to share external content with friends. In this manner, the nature of the website is somewhat postmodern in that people can insert their own perspectives as a preface to the body of the text they are referencing and are able to provide their own interpretation of whatever it is they have shared.

Several people could share the same link to the same external content and attach their own differing interpretations of what the text in the link means. For instance, in the recent Bench fashion show uproar, several people [Facebook “friends”] shared a link to the GMA News website’s report on the incident. One of these “friends” just wanted to have the right to enjoy “nice” things without all these people throwing such a fit about it. Everyone else who shared it on my News Feed was just appalled at the audacity of Bench calling this portrayal of women as dogs “fashion”. Perhaps you can guess who’s no longer my “friend” now.

By allowing people to be able to choose what they want to see, there is some measure of choice in the text allowed to the reader. There are times when the people on my News Feed post strange things or random strangers comment spam and virus links onto their posts. Whenever I see things like those, I go and report them to Facebook. Doing so makes me feel vicarious, in a minor way, like it isn’t so bad that I’m wasting so much time on the website because it’s for a good cause anyway; I think I’ll call it sublimation.

Despite the allowance of choice, a big gripe among Facebook users is the way it just rolls out updates to the interface, privacy settings, internal workings, ad algorithms, and user engagement without announcing them. However, Facebook is not crowdsourced by its users, nor is it within public domain, and as such is not actually bound by law to consult its website users before implementing any and all modifications. You can use it with all its (euphemistic) features wholesale, or you can swear off the whole thing cold turkey.

Nevertheless, despite all the confused “What have you done, Facebook, where’s everything??” statuses (especially at the dawn of the new Timeline, that was a good long period of passive-aggressive snark to Zuckerberg), people still prefer using Facebook as the de facto mode of communication—the ubiquitous class Facebook group, for instance, is often used because it is more “convenient” and the assumption is that all people in class have a Facebook account.

Facebook cannot afford to alienate its users, though—and besides, people get used to things, it’s a people thing, we evolve. Soon all is forgotten in the face of greater issues, like the best way to integrate your cover photo and your profile picture. That is the way the wheel of capitalism rolls. After all, Facebook makes a lot of money out of selling us out (or more accurately, our data) to advertisers researching for the best ways to sell us things. They work really hard to make us want to buy more stuff and click more things.

Now the thing is that I don’t really have any money to buy anything Facebook advertisers try to sell me. That includes you, people in orgs who sell things in Facebook groups. No. I have no credit whatsoever. I am insolvent and am probably drowning in the red, like, criminally. I would have to toil (or steal, it’s the Philippines, it’s a thing—now that’s an idea) all the days of my life to even get fractionally solvent at this point.

So the only thing Facebook can really sell to me right now is ideas (and clicks to more pictures of cute animals, or weird Japan news…) and it’s fine, they’re doing great at getting me thinking. Look, I even made an essay about it and everything.

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