As Americans and world citizens look at the events that have transpired since 2007 to present, we are looking to others for answers. As we seemingly ended a two year recessionary period and began a new era of prosperity, we had the carpet dragged out from under us. Housing start ups are at record lows along with interest rates and mortgage rates, consumer confidence is drained, unemployment rates are staggeringly high and the security of the banking/lending industry is at risk. It is an epidemic in which each one of us is or knows someone affected by this crisis.
The 1970′s underwent a turbulent period itself. As the Vietnam war raged on sinking tax payer money into a war many of us didn’t understand and a country was being divided by pro and anti-war sentiment, we were witnessing an economic crisis at home. Gas shortages, high interest rates and dangerous unemployment were key concerns for the Ford and Carter administrations.
How do you distract yourself from the harsh realities all around you? The great emancipation is in the ability to find another addictive element to off set the pains so many are feeling. In 1972, Nolan Bushnell became a pioneer creating what may have been the greatest addictive savior of the last century. Founding the video game and home computer company Atari and thus bringing the age of video games to the household. In 1977, the Atari 2600, which would be the most financially successful of the product releases, would take us into the next decade and spearhead the age of MTV, handheld gaming devices, computer based games, Myspace, IPods and Facebook.
In a moment of crisis where budgets are tight, families are worried and a state of confusion and unrest fills the air, what greater contribution to society than a device no more than five pounds that can hold a family captive hours at a time, day after day. Whether it was Frogger, Donkey Kong, Astroids, Centipede or Star Wars, this now primitive technology won the hearts of millions and gave us a reason not to focus on our own lives.
Now a new generation is scared.
We can’t spend our money…Malls, sporting events, concerts and dining are out.
We can’t find jobs…Boredom and depression are now susceptible realities.
We can’t travel…Alternative ways to see the world must be found
We can’t drive or talk on the phone…Costs are too high…How do I keep in touch with friends and family
Mark Zuckerberg could not have had better timing in 2003 when The Facebook hit the campus scene and then the world. 2007 began our generations Great Depression. With no signs that recovery is in the immediate future, now more than ever do we need another “Great Distractor”
Thank you Facebook for giving us a tool to take our minds off of the banking and housing crisis, terrorism, unemployment, budget struggles, world trade, political unrest and gas prices. We needed a platform with games, communication channels, quizzes, video/picture sharing tools, wall posts, message boards, communities and networking capability at the comfort of your own home, mobile device or coffee shop.
Mark Zuckerberg to some is a pioneer and to others a fortunate recipient of opportunity. Either way, he is this generations Nolan Bushnell. Without Facebook, perhaps there would be another tool to help numb our minds of global conditions but maybe not. We might spend hours a day on Facebook, complain about the new format, talk about how it is taking over our lives, start theories how they know everything (which they probably do), and even make a New Year’s Resolution to quit but the bottom line is that it is doing society a much needed service.
Thank you Facebook for being the most addictive non-narcotic creating a smoke screen to over one billion people daily and sheltering us from the harsh realities.