“Coltrane was always concerned with blazing ahead, one popular line of reasoning goes; he didn’t place much value into what he left behind him.”
Ben Ratliff

Coltrane - The Story of a Sound

The Pied Pipers of Facebook?

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Of all the recent Facebook related media turmoil, one article on TechCrunch shimmered to me. I don’t know if it’s true or valid but in reading it I wondered about the potential effect of technological early-adapters in society. The TechCrunch article suggests that many Google-Geek-Engineers are leaving facebook due to privacy concerns that have arisen with Facebooks latest anouncements.

Disclosure: I don’t use Facebook, I tried it twice and left it behind. Whenever I reach a Facebook login page I walk away. I consider Facebook to be a very low quality form of social interaction and I strongly urge people I care about to refrain from using it. I consider people who criticize Facebook while still using it to be hypocrites.

Early adopters are passionate about new technologies, they are willing to spend time and effort to puruse their sense of curiosity. I wonder if inadvertently they are also a doorway into wider social acceptance? Tech companies seek early adopters to test the waters with new products and services. Assuming of course, that when early adopters sign-off on a service they will become points of origin for a natural process of viral distribution. So in a way (and I assuming there are other factors involved in the process)  early adopters lead their social circles into technological environments.

With Facebook I believe that early adopters were Pied Pipers, playing a nice melody but leading their followers into a dangerous place. Now the dangers are more apparent – but not to everyone. Technologists can envision the implications of Facebook’s anouncements on privacy, but most of the 400 millions Facebook users are not technologists – and they have no idea what the issue is. So a few technologists may walk away form Facebook, but most of the people will stay in the hands of a company that will stop at nothing (including legal prosection if it is deemed worthwhile) to infringe on their privacy and freedom to make a profit.
Do early adapters inadvertently play such a role in society in our technologicaly dominated era? Do their inherent curiosities and talents represent a dynamic evolutionry force? Do they know this? Should they?

End note: as I was searching for a “Pied Piper” image I came across something inspiring – it is a symbolic finding considering the context that brought me to it 🙂

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