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Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe.

Facebook Open Graph and the post-literate society

Here’s Mashable in an article with a title that sounds like it was created in a random buzzword generator: Facebook Open Graph Seeks to Deliver Real-Time Serendipity:

Facebook felt constrained by the Like button because it was an implicit endorsement of content. Facebook wants users to share everything they are doing, whether it’s watching a show or hiking a trail, so it decided to create a way to “express lightweight activity.”

So in essence they’re saying that clicking the Like button is too much of a commitment; the action is too heavy. We need something a little more indifferent and “lightweight”.

With the Like button you already didn’t have to use words. With Facebook Open Graph you grant permission to an app once, and then it silently and passively starts broadcasting what you’re doing. No thinking required.

By continuing to reduce the effort needed to share and communicate with others we seem to inch ever closer to a post-literate society.  In his essay Like, the Post-Literate Society, James Shelly discusses this phenomenon and quotes Bruce W. Power:

What happens to thinking, resistance, and dissent when the ground becomes wordless?

He goes on to say this:

Thus I ponder: do we become a post-literate society at the moment we manifest an incapacity to discuss our own potential status as such? If so, are we already there?

These are good questions on a day like today.