6 ways Facebook is like Bob Dylan
This post was originally published at www.digitalpivot.com.
Yeah, I said it. Facebook is, in some ways, a lot like Bob Dylan. Right now, some of you are probably saying…”huh?” Others are likely cursing me to an eternity of “500 miles” by The Proclaimers on infinite repeat. Hear me out, curse-casters: First off, I’m a bit of a Dylan fanatic. I’m also a bit of a Facebook fanatic. And I happened to notice a few similarities between the two:
Facebook doesn’t seem to care what people think.
Bob Dylan wrote “It Ain’t Me, Babe” in response to all the crazies who’d started calling him the voice of their generation and following him around like a guitar-slinging Jesus. When a fan shouted “Judas!” during the infamous electric set of his 1966 Royal Albert Hall concert, Dylan called the fan a liar and then told his band to “Play it f***ing loud!” Facebook makes random changes without warning users, lies about how it uses profile data (and then says it’s sorry), and doesn’t seem to care about responding all that often to issues and complaints posted in its help forums. People complain about all of the above, yet somehow continue to stick around.
Facebook is a game-changer.
Like him or not, Bob Dylan’s music has influenced thousands of musicians — The Beatles most notably (their music took a more insightful, creative turn after meeting Dylan in 1964). His music changed not just folk music, but popular music. Facebook has changed the way people interact with friends, the way people make buying decisions, and the way people express themselves. Facebook may not have been the first social media site (Dylan certainly wasn’t the first good folk musician), but it’s been the most successful, and the most influential.
It’s undergone a few transformations.
First, Dylan was Jewish. Then, born-again Christian. Then Jewish again. Then…who knows. Facebook’s redesigned its business pages, News Feed, Insights, and added more features and functions. Facebook continues to evolve (regardless of what users think). Facebook has gotten overexposed. That whole cue card thing from Dylan’s video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues” was so cool at first. Then it got copied, and copied some more, and then it became cliché . Like Dylan, Facebook attained a level of popularity that warranted a major motion picture (“I’m Not There,” for Dylan, “The Social Network” for Facebook). But unlike Dylan, Facebook won’t be taking a hiatus to spend time with family somewhere in upstate New York.
Incidentally, Dylan himself starred in some movies, mostly recently “Masked and Anonymous” (which was pretty random and weird). There’s also a pretty funny parody trailer going around called “The Social Network 2.” It never ends.
Facebook’s had a few flops.
“Empire Burlesque,” anyone? Dylan isn’t immune to failure (critical or commercial), and neither is Facebook. Some of the more notable face-palms in Facebook’s history: Facebook Deals, Facebook Lite, and FBML.
You either totally get it or can’t understand it.
“What the h-e-double hockey stick is Bob Dylan saying?” We die-hard fans get that a lot. Admittedly, Dylan might not be the most gifted orator, but he can sure turn a phrase. It was not his voice, but his lyrics that hooked me. And once you’re hooked, you totally get why others are hooked too. Many people wonder how on earth some people can check their Facebook accounts incessantly throughout the day, or put up with phone alerts every time something on Facebook updates. Then, they try it out…and they get hooked too. Or, they confirm the notion that Facebook just isn’t for them — and that’s OK.