For most of the pop culture crowd, the phrase, "Resistance is Futile" brings up images of Star Trek: The Next Generation's big bad villain, the Borg, a cybernetic race bent on assimilating all races into one collective hive mind. Well, it's quite possible the Borg have arrived here on Earth.
For those unfamiliar with these characters from Star Trek, the Borg Collective was introduced in the second season as a race not really open to diplomatic discussion. Portrayed on-screen, the Borg are part humanoid and part technology, with their thoughts collected and funneled to speak as one singular entity. Because of this connective link, all thoughts are transparent and known immediately. Their mission plain and simple is to "add the biological and technological distinctiveness of other species to their own through forced assimilation."
This brings me to the concept of Facebook and the whole social networking trend. I was thinking the other day of how much a collective I have with this application, especially with the iPod/iPhone app. Within my collective (or group of friends), I know thoughts, feelings, events and random happenings. In return, my collective knows the same. Unlike the Borg though, we have the free will to post or not to post on Facebook. I can also remove friends or deny inclusion into my collective, much like when a Borg drone is damaged and removed from operational status.
Another similar trait between the Borg and Facebook comes from the fact that both rely heavily on communicating for performance. Cut a Borg off from the Collective and that Borg ceases reliable functionality, almost exhibiting a child like panic. Cut a Facebooker off from his or her collective, and well, same thing. I exaggerate somewhat, but as one that likes to use Facebook to keep in touch, when it's down (as it was recently), I do feel cut off.
Now, is Facebook really trying to assimilate people? No, not really, but they do want to know what you think, mostly for advertising purposes. Much better organized than Myspace and more developed than Twitter, Facebook has the capability of expanding beyond being a simple diversion and an avenue for advertising. If the right steps are taken, Facebook can become as useful as any home appliance, something that'll be explored in my next article.
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