The irony of personalization (part 2 of 2)

In my previous blog entry, I discussed how people seemed to be fascinated with Facebook even though it does not allow for much modification that a lot of people crave. Now, I will mention some possible reasons for it.

So why do people still like it?

In terms of personalization, I believe that the following reasons may have contributed to the effective counter attack of Facebook against the personalization mania:

1.The Minimalistic Style

Being minimalistic is one of the ongoing trends today. It has always been popular with

Asian countries like China and Japan.  This kind of style has been growing popular throughout the years, and even now, it is gaining more and more advocates.

This is a very superficial reason, but still, it does make sense. The days of over-decorating and over applying may be deteriorating. And as they say, less is more.

An example of the minimalistic style

2. Laziness is a curse that must be nurtured

A lot of people are like Jane.

People are lazy. Period. The digital era has even aided the cultivation of this kind of attitude. Using the internet doesn’t require you to do anything physical besides using your fingers to press some buttons. You can just sit around, wait for a download, or watch updates come in.

Let’s face it; personalizing is just too much effort. There are too many buttons to click, too many words to type, and too much time is required to think. There is also the very tiring job of searching for just the right wallpaper, image, or font.

So why tire yourself when there’s this social networking site that doesn’t allow you to personalize at all?

3. The sense of belonging

People will always want to belong. We always want to belong in a particular group or generally, in society. So it is only natural that in our online society, we would also want to belong.

Our personalities are one of the bases for belonging. Our tastes can either grant usaccess or condemn us to isolation. The way we personalize our profiles, the applications, and the widgets that we put in, show our tastes; and thus, these things bring about an uncertainty of our acceptance.

This uncertainty is eliminated when everyone is the same.  When everyone has the same wallpaper, the same icons, and the header, we cannot isolate anyone. Technically, with everyone being the same, everyone is accepted.

For that reason, Facebook minimizes the chances of being rejected.

4. Challenging, yes.

Having to go without the usual personalization tools poses a challenge to us users. With great limitations we are supposed to show our personalities. We are supposed to be able to portray ourselves in such dire conditions.

This is just like Tom Hanks in Castaway. We make volleyballs our friends to avoid going insane.

Sarcastic? Witty? Or maybe the sweetie pie? We have to be able to project these personalities in our status messages and comments. The videos that we post must show how funny we are or how intelligent. That also goes for books and other “likes” that we choose to click.

Besides the fact that Facebook offers a lot of applications and benefits that would compensate for it’s lack of personalization possibilities, the ones that I have mentioned above may also have an effect to a certain extent.

Certainly people are lazy. It is also certain that people want to belong and that the minimalistic trend is ongoing. A challenge is also never ignored.

Lastly, we may have not noticed it, but this may be a sign that personalization is now overrated.

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2 Responses to The irony of personalization (part 2 of 2)

  1. niccy says:

    I can’t find a better word to describe this phenomenon than… Homogenizing!
    (Regards to my sister who introduced me to this term, only she used it on an economic point of view)

    The internet, as I have noticed, has made people online look the same while still looking differently. Most of us, probably are unconscious of this. While we are allowed to be who we are through our online accounts, we are restricted to function in a certain way thus making us easy to control and easy to read and study. We are like those white rats in a controlled experiment- being carefully observed by a bigger being.

    This is where and how they get information about what we want and what pleases us.

  2. mavcastillo says:

    I have a theory, Facebook wants us all to look the same and act the same because Mark Zuckerberg is an advocate of communism!Kidding aside, I think the charm of Facebook lies within its being different from Friendster, not necessarily better but different. Facebook users are not being pressured to come up with brilliant designs or show their personality through fonts. On the other hand, Facebook gives us an opportunity to show our individual personalities through words, our status updates. And since people nowadays are more into conversations and in building relationships through these conversations, I think Facebook made a right choice when they chose to overlook the ‘change layout’ feature.

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