Picture the scene. You wake up confused, staring out at your own icy breath, with a foggy head, like you’ve been asleep for 100 years. The fog clears, and you realise you’re lying in a glass tube. You thud on the glass to escape and can hear the faint thudding of others panicking around you. The screams reach a cacophony, before a hissing sound cuts through, bringing your lid open and bathing you in a silver smoke that wafts out into the room. “Gee whizz,” you think, “This is awfully unexpected.”
Then you see it, the neon, shivering blue F, towering above you. A sign. It reads:
WELCOME TO FACEBOOK: CREATE AN ACCOUNT.
You’ve woken up in the future, the future that Facebook have imagined for us all.
Nah not really mate, you’re actually just on your laptop reading this article about Facebook, probably because you’re on it but you’re like, totally thinking of leaving. You’re probably reading this because you followed through from Facebook itself. Fuck, you feel so Meta right now that you might even melt into a puddle like when that dude touches the split timeline version of himself at the end of ‘Timecop’.
Or maybe you look confused; like like John Claude Van Damme in that clip, because it’s 6 paragraphs in and you still don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about other than Facebook, kind of, or something. Well I’m here to talk about the lizard people. That’s right, I’m going David Icke all over your confused ass.
Now, just shut up for a second and watch this fucking advert:
Aww. Wasn’t that nice? A plinky plonky piano cover of Rihanna in the background? A humble, soothing English voice telling you about friends, or some shit? Some filtered footage of people running in the streets like furious goons, or crying over a cup of coffee, like furiously sad goons? Yeah, that’s Facebook, that.
Yeah, that’s Facebook, that whole thing.
What whole thing, the friendship thing? Or the piano rendition of ‘Umbrella’? Or the tears on the woman’s face? WHAT?
Nah, just all of it, y’know, its all Facebook. That’s it, that’s what it is.
WELCOME TO FACEBOOK: FORGOTTEN YOUR PASSWORD?
But maybe when you watched that advert; and you’re brain hasn’t been mollycoddled into wetting your pants at the first note of a breathy acoustic cover song, you watched it and thought: ‘Something’s not right’. Because what exactly are Facebook advertising here? They don’t make it clear. I mean, with 1.3 billion users, surely they’d be able to say: ‘Look at our thing, this is what it does’. But they don’t say that. They just talk in an abstract way about friendship. But, I mean, Facebook doesn’t own friendship. Does it? So what are they saying?
Wait, shut the fuck up again, another video is starting:
Nope. Still don’t know what’s going on. Are they advertising having friends? Or the ability to make new friends? Is that what they‘re doing? Are they suggesting that somehow friendship is apart of Facebook? That interacting with each other, the very BASIS of HUMANITY, is a product that Facebook is selling? Because if not, what the fuck are they saying?
WELCOME TO FACEBOOK: IT’S FREE, AND ALWAYS WILL BE.
People talk a lot of shit about Facebook being ‘in decline’. But what does that mean? That doesn’t mean that people are leaving Facebook. It means that the numbers of people joining Facebook have declined. So what? So it means the only reason why it’s slowing down; and by the way slowing down means only 7 MILLION people joined in Europe ALONE in the first quarter of last year, is because it’s literally running out of humans. Facebook has signed up half of the entire internet population. Just think about that phrase: Running. Out. Of. Humans. The only other things that get worried when they run out of humans are the bubonic plague and the super intelligent killer robots from the Matrix, because they need us for fuel so they can make wicked nice kung fu battles in a dream world, or something.
So that begs the question, why do Facebook even need television adverts, especially ones that don’t even fucking say what it does?
Well, I’ll tell you why: LIZARDS. They are the lizard people and they want to control us all.
This kind of bullshit emotive advertising has been used before, most obviously in Apple adverts. And I mean, they’re lizards, but at least they are actually advertising a product. In the iPad ad the party line might be: ‘Yay, you got your first period, you knew cos you Googled ‘vaginal bleeding’ on your iPad, yay’, as a breathy acoustic cover of Aphex Twin strums in your ears. In the Facebook ads the party line is ‘Yay, being alive’, yay’.
But so what? So what if a multi-billion pound company wants to release a bunch of adverts that seem to have no real purpose, but are highly emotive?
Well to answer that very pertinent question, let’s hop in the Delorean and go back to the future for a moment. Remember that time you woke up in the strange Facebook world? Yeah you do, it happened in the first paragraph, you panicked like a bitch cos you got claustrophobic? Yeah that one. Well, what’s it like?
Well for a start, everyone’s got no fucking attention span. Facebook doesn’t operate in minutes, or even seconds, it operates in milliseconds. Snap judgements about content; whether you click ‘like’ or not, done in an instant. Most people get pissed off these days if a video takes longer than 10 seconds to load. Think about that but in 100 years time.
Also, everyone’s way more judgemental. Think about how easy Facebook makes it to form judgements not just about your friends, but complete strangers. Ever found yourself in a Facebook picture album hole? Where you suddenly realise you're looking at photos of someone you don’t know, at all? What were you thinking? Admit it you claustrophobic bastard, you were judging every little detail about their life. The way they dressed, their friends, the places they went. Why? Just because that screen in front of you disembodies life. It places a barrier in front of you and the world, like a one-way mirror. You can see them but they can’t see you. And it’s only going to get worse.
Also, and this is the key dynamic, everyone’s going to be way more emotional. As these saccharine adverts attest, Facebook want to make your life like an ever lasting lens filtered rom- com starring Zooey Deschanel and Hugh Grant called ‘50 Ways to Be Kooky and Weird Yet Still Attractive Enough To Fall Love’. All emotion, no thought. Because emotions lead to clicks, likes, and friend requests. They also lead to a thirst for validation, neediness, and a level of openness that is easy to exploit.
Remember that time you bought a chocolate bar at the till? Why did you do that?
“I think I did it because I was hungry, I guess.”
What?...NO! ARE YOU A FUCKING LIZARD AS WELL?! You most likely bought it because you were tired, hungry, or frustrated: emotional, basically. Stressful day at work, eat comfort food. Stressful week? Drink till you pass out. The perfect consumer acts in an instant, reacting in milliseconds to emotional stimuli, spurned on by a ruthlessly judgemental world where only the newest, best and most original are allowed to flourish and be accepted.
And let’s not even get started on the whole privacy thing, because if you’re not already worried about that then you are officially a grade A lizard or lizardette.
So, Facebook is working in cahoots with the lizard people to keep you mindlessly consuming. WAKE UP SHEEPLE! We’re through the eye of the looking glass here!
Well no, probably not. But it’s very disconcerting nonetheless. Why would a company that large and ubiquitous need this kind of television advertising? Well maybe they just want to improve their brand image. Seems weird though, when they already have a monopoly on social media anyway (they own Instagram and Whatsapp already). Maybe they want increase brand awareness? Again, why, when Facebook is not just a household name, but actually a part of your house, like a phone, or a cat. Maybe they just want to relentlessly break down any resistance to Facebook by repeatedly hitting you like the sound of a techno bass kick, until your pumping your fist along in unison?
WELCOME TO FACEBOOK: KEEP ME LOGGED IN.
I guess that’s why I feel so weird about these adverts, because they seem to be hinting at a future in which Facebook has become universal. Personally, I’m not even on Facebook (which by the way, is the future’s ‘I want to punch you in the face’ phrase coming to replace ‘I don’t even own a TV’) but the idea that it will soon be a utility that we all have to take part in, that it will be synonymous with friendship, making friends, and enjoying and remembering the moments you share, scares the fuck out of me.
Thing is, it won’t stop until it becomes at first inconvenient to not have it, then a massive hindrance. I can still remember when I didn’t even need a mobile phone. Now if I don’t have a phone that has enough technology to be able to fly me to the moon I feel like Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel. The same can be said of Facebook. I’ve already lost count of the times that I couldn’t look at content, join a competition or just plain see some pictures of my brothers baby, because I wasn’t on it. But that’s cool, I understand that I’m being a pretentious wanker right now so I don’t get to access the simple joys of entering in my email address 200 times in the vague hope I can win a free bag of Real Mcoys.
That’s fine with me, it can stay in it’s bubble. But it get’s scary when Facebook tries to leap out of the computer bubble and into real life. When it tries to assimiliate friendship as a product it’s selling. I shouldn’t need a computer for that. Or a phone. I usually need drugs and UK Garage, but not technology.
Ultimately though, I don’t know if any of this will come about or it’s even a legitimate point of view, I’m just ranting. All I know is every time I see those ads I feel an uneasy sense of anxiety about the future of society, and I don’t know why.
(P.S I’m probably anxious because they’re all lizards).