Facebook is the village campfire?

M. Night Shyamalan's Village
M. Night Shyamalan may have lost his movie mojo but the village is a apt example.

Got to love Oli… He wrote about his return to Facebook and yes I did reply to his thoughts in a blog. To which he replied to in a new blog, stipulating Facebook is the campfire

Imagine living in a village, in your own cottage, doing your own thing. You wave to your neighbors, see them at the odd social event and maybe gossip when you meet. Nice huh? One night somebody builds a fire and a few people drift out and sit round the fire, singing songs, telling tales, toasting marshmallows, all the stuff you’ve seen in American summer camps that probably never actually happens.

Over time, more people join in the evenings, and the quality of the chat drops off a bit, and a few people are a bit arsey, but it’s nice, warm and social. You don’t have to do much if you don’t want, but you’ll get the odd beer or marshmallow and hear the little bits of news, a pregnancy, a holiday, who’s been snogging who etc etc. There are claps on the back when you crack a joke. Everybody faces into the fire.

Not going out to that fire is tough. It’s not that people forgot about you, or don’t want to see you or hear your news, but they do forgot that they haven’t seen you, or told you their news. They shared it round the campfire after all. You might still have people round to tea occasionally, or pick up the phone to speak to them but that easy comradery is missing. That warm glow doesn’t reach far either, in fact it’s very much a walled garden.

When I think of the campfire, I think little village and nice for a while but then its time to get out. Time to leave, explore and move forward. Maybe thats what bugs me a lot about using Facebook. Its all people I know and its too comfortable. I can talk about the filter bubble and data ethics and facebook messing with the news feed. But its all too comfortable. Theres nothing challenging your views, nothing making you explore (except the occasional event).

I would go as far as to say Facebook is making you a boring old sod. Remember, when I wrote how to be interesting ages ago. I wrote…

Talk to someone new at least every week

Good luck doing that on Facebook…  Even with a massive number of friends on Facebook, Facebook will filter out most of them. Yes welcome to the village campfire.

As I said above, M. Night Shyamalan may have lost his movie mojo but the village is a perfect example.

The population of a small, isolated countryside village believe that their alliance with the mysterious creatures that inhabit the forest around them is coming to an end.

If you not seen the film, you are not missing anything and I’m going to kind of spoil it for you right now for you. The mysterious creatures are other people and they exist in the outside world of the internet. That campfire keeps pulling you back but sometimes you just need to get out discover the milestones of freedom by getting out of the village and that super comfortable campfire.

Its nice to visit every once in a while, catchup, get warm and decide to leave. Do you want to hangout there and be known as the one who never leaves?

I thought not… Moderation Oli, limit your time at the Facebook campfire!



Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

3 thoughts on “Facebook is the village campfire?”

  1. Yep, I agree with all of that. FB leaves me very conflicted. I jump on once or twice a night to see what’s new, but haven’t visited it from any other device than the virtual machine I built for the purpose of accessing it.
    >Talk to someone new at least every week
    Yep, more of this. The Twitter Pub maybe ?

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