Last week, someone offered to pay me $500 to write a short Medium article about their new NFT startup.
That’s a lot of money for someone with a brand new baby at home.
The company “sends” its “community” on a different digital “travel experience” each month.
One month everyone will digitally attend Coachella or Burning Man, another time they’ll go to the Superbowl or the NBA Finals.
It’s a really cool idea, until you think about it for like four seconds.
I wrote back:
“Dear [so and so]. Sorry to say I can’t support your project. It’s anti-human. If you’ve read much of my blog, you know that I’m deeply pro-human. Biological. Offline. Together. [Your company] separates people. It keeps them from going on real adventures to real places to spend real offline time with real people. My post-college volunteering trip through Central America changed my life and made me friends for life. [Your company] is the opposite of what human beings need. I hope you’ll seriously re-think this business.”
It was the easiest $500 I’ve never made.
New name, same game
Facebook is changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc.
It’s stupid, I know.
But then again, so is wasting 2.39 years of waking life on Facebook, so can the average user really judge them?
As most of my long-time readers know, I’m not a fan of the highly-addictive, extremist-breeding, time-devouring, money-gobbling, democracy-smashing, depression-inducing, hatred-boosting sludgefest that is Facebook.
Now, in an attempt to distance Facebook from its endless crimes and scandals, kid billionaire/Sith lord Mark Zuckerberg has decided that burning 76,450,684 years of human life each year in two dimensions is no longer enough.
No, in his profit-focused mind, it’s time for Facebook’s 1.908 billion daily active users to enter the Metaverse — in other words, he wants to further separate us from each other, but this time, in virtual reality.
In order to create “connection.”
In order words, the lie that built Facebook is about to go exponential.
The trillion-dollar vision
Facebook is built on an extremely simple and profound promise:
That if we will all spend more time alone staring at a screen, freely hand over our identities, and let an algorithm change our beliefs and behaviors, Facebook will deliver connection.
And guess what?
Old classmates who’d lost touch (for a reason) suddenly knew what each other were up to.
Grandparents got to see their faraway grandbabies.
Former colleagues got to argue about who stole the election from whom.
During lockdown, everyone got to see how bored everyone else was.
Oh, and millions of couples had affairs, with 20% of divorce cases now involving Facebook.
So yes, we connected.
But there’s a fundamental problem with Facebook’s unique selling proposition:
There’s a massive difference between connection and communion.
Facebook promises connection and hopes we won’t realize that connection isn’t actually what we want, need, or crave.
In the same way that Americans conflate autonomy with freedom, Mark Zuckerberg conflates connection with communion.
Humans don’t “connect.”
We aren’t USB keys.
We aren’t wifi signals.
We aren’t prongs that plug into outlets.
I don’t know anyone who’s logged off of Facebook feeling euphoric, content, or fulfilled.
Statistically speaking, most users log off either more depressed or more enraged.
Facebook is like McDonald’s — it’s temporarily satisfying because of the saccharine sugar hit, but it ultimately leaves you hungry within hours, craving another hit.
Communion, on the other hand, is different.
When people meet face to face, magic happens.
We smell each other.
Hear each other without compression.
We breathe in each other’s pheromones.
Our breathing syncs.
Our heart rates rise.
Our faces flush.
We really communi