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Kubricks Dawning of Man
September 21, 2012

Facebook: Extracting Business From The Maw Of Pandemonium

Or Sanity From The Psychosis Of Social Networking

Or Zuckerberg And The Chamber Of Echoes

For some, pain creates a sense of isolation and loneliness – as one's pain is hardly translatable to others. It's a fact, short of gesticulating some ridiculous facial contortion, grasping yourself and perhaps screaming, no one can ever understand that you are experiencing pain. It's this existential exclusion in life that temporarily alienates one from the physical world.

Like many, I am in pain.

Mine is a psychological pain though. One that emanates from displays of desperation and ennui, from an annoying drum beating to undulating crowds of mind-numbed millions starved of intellect and stimulation. One that bulldozes the IQ to rubble, destroys productivity and espouses pseudo-pundits, politicos and cat ladies-to-be.

One that I'm betting many of you can commiserate with in reading this one word:

Facebook.

Try as I might, I cannot like Facebook, button pun unintended.

It's the biggest exhibition of ego-stroking one can engage in. A circle jerk of lobotomy patients, scalpels in hand, lobotomizing others with puppy memes and e-cards. It's articulation reduced to a button mashing of unthinking responses. Like, block, delete. Gestures shy of grunting and chest-beating. Go ahead, post your cave drawings and watch the monkeys piss themselves to respond!

It's a scream in a vacuum...

Yet, I have a Facebook account. I log in every day. And although it's to manage business pages, I always find myself checking the news ticker to see how my friends are faring.

What I see in the ticker are always the same names, the same conversations. Nothing ever changes. Nothing stimulates. Yet I feel compelled to scroll through it. A leap of faith, if you will, that civilization isn't crumbling.

Facebook is a time suck, but it in itself is timeless. You can stay away for a month and come back to see the same life carnage in the same state of entropy as you left it. However, for someone experiencing Facebook, someone in the moment, the hours pass as if in a dream state. Never really moving, never really standing still, but passing nonetheless.

The pendulum of a wasted life ever descending.

But there is a lemonade ending for all those orbiting the outskirts of Facebook's event horizon. Imagine how profitable this social networking platform could be for a business with the right product to push.

Imagine a yard of chickens. Surrounding that yard of chickens is an old, split rail fence. And standing around that old, split rail fence speculating on the value of the chickens is a handful of entrepreneurs. They know there's money in those chickens somehow, but they just can't see past the frenzied pit of cackling and pecking hens that have seemingly no direction in mind but are ever moving in an unconscious dance of unreason.

The goal is not to understand the chaos, but to find the order within it. And for the astute businessperson who sees the order in the chaos, the chickens are all doing the same thing: looking for food.

Most Facebook users are in a constant state of semi-conscious awareness. That dream state. Hypnotized by the constant feed of news that lures them to believe something exciting is about to happen. They troll headlines and click pages trying to find a morsel of justification for being on Facebook. Facebook itself isn't the distraction. People are on Facebook looking for distractions.

That's where the savvy entrepreneur steps in with his big shiny object flashing like a beacon in the chaos.

Because birds like shiny things.

The key is figuring out how much your intervention into the bliss is permitted before you turn your crowd against you. Too much message will translate to spam which will trigger a block, delete, un-like, loss. Too little and you may as well not exist.

Forget about pushing ads, too. That's an entirely different pain. There have been enough studies to show the ROI isn't there for most businesses. Unless you've got some momentum, leave it for the recognized brands with high volume traffic and money to burn.

I wish I knew what the secret recipe is. I don't know that there is a silver bullet. While the chaos seems the same for everyone looking in, everyone's Goldilocks moment is different. What I do know is that the fowl are always hungry and if you toss enough kernels in the yard, eventually you'll get a bite. You just have to suffer through the pain while you wait.

Photo Credit: "Dawning of Man" scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
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