Malleable Musings

July 18, 2009

Facebook and bagpipes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Brendan @ 8:52 am

It’s been a funny old week, the highlight of which was my dad’s retirement party on Tuesday night.

He was a deputy head of a primary school just outside of Sheffield and has had a full time teaching career that has spanned 40 odd years. Unfortunately it was rotten driving weather so I didn’t get up the motorway early enough for all of the do at his school.

It was a really amazing night, even if I was surrounded by teachers. There were some great stories about how approaches to teaching have changed over the years. My favourite quote of the night was that to survive an Ofstead inspection you just have to “act like a gerbil on speed”.

However, the best part of the night though was going back to my mum and dad’s house and the conversations that ensued there. Chris, one of my dad’s oldest friends was staying over. Chris got sucked in to technology whilst he was teaching in the early 80’s and he and my dad wrote software for the old BBC model B for a while. I loved the stories that they were telling and I especially loved hearing about what Chris had been up to in the fifteen (or is it twenty plus) years since I’d last seen him.

Chris was always in to music (bagpipes in particular) and I remember when I was very young he showed me things like computer controlled synths, and automatic transcription software. These days he runs the North West England Bagpipe Web.

At one point my dad apologised and said that he had to go off and write a few thank you notes on Facebook. Interestingly my dad going off to write his thank you notes sparked another conversation as to how Chris was using Facebook these days. He cited the example of dropping a mention of a chanter for sale, or a kilt he’d finished making within a status update and being inundated with responses. There’s nothing particularly new in this I’ve heard similar stories a hundred times but what was interesting to me is that Facebook seems to be the only such social networking tool that both my dad and Chris use!

This should come as no surprise as looking at the numbers Facebook dominates networking sites in the same way that Google currently dominates search and the demographic is supposedly shifting upwards (make sure you read the comments).

However what’s interesting to me is that as I now only really use Facebook to keep my mum and dad, who joined FB before I did, updated easily (sharing photos of the kids etc).

I just never got in to Facebook other than for the occasional game of Risk and managing a fan page. A couple of years ago I was excited with the idea of making my own FB app for a few weeks, but just didn’t find the time, and moved on to something else. I do still think Facebook is still an excellent advertising platform, but as a social network it’s just not where I want to invest my time and energy.

Unfortunately as far as the mass market is concerned I wonder if we shouldn’t just admit defeat? The sheer weight of numbers on Facebook and the way they are copying/adapting make me think that it’s going to be a herculean task to move a network.

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