A young girl’s YouTube video of a song detailing Facebook complaints went viral, as the parody’s critiques of the social media giant resonated with many people.
Is This Thing On?, or ITTO, is our Wednesday column showing how everyday people use technology in unexpected ways.
Australian Madelaine Zammit’s song describes how she is so over boys who post pictures of their cars on Facebook and how young, attention-seeking girls post “photos of themselves wearing nothing but their extensions.”
Zammit also pokes fun at the social network’s randomness of friendship requests and annoyance at fending off 40-year-old men who try to add her as a friend. Her acoustic tune features lyrics such as “I get distracted then go scrolling up and down the feed / Then notice all the people that I really wished I didn’t have to meet.”
Zammit sang the song live during an Australian morning show last month, and soon after, her YouTube diatribe took off and went viral.
“I thought only my friends would watch it and like we’d have a laugh about it,” said 16-year-old Zammit. “Then, it got to be over 300,000 hits. I didn’t think it would be.”
Zammit’s song hits home the theme that Facebook doesn’t enhance the social experience, but fragments it, and uses humorous lyrics to convey that notion. The lyrics tumble out in a rambling, fast-paced fashion, echoing the chaotic manner in which people check updates, poke friends, and check the latest postings so they can “like” them.
Zammit is capitalizing on her status as a new YouTube phenomenon and has taken to Twitter. A recent tweet indicates she is interested in pursuing a musical career, though she hasn’t done any “proper gigs yet.”
The teenager, who says she has always had a passion for singing, has written other Facebook songs, featured on her “Madelaine Zammit Music” Facebook page, with 6,000 fans.
She isn’t the first to belt out the Facebook blues, however. Other artists have created songs about social media experiences, creating a mini-genre of Facebook blues.
Lynnea Malley created a social media stalking song several months ago that went viral on YouTube as well, tallying 390,000 views. Her love/hate lyrics alternately cheer and curse the social media. “Facebook, stop wasting all my time / it would be sublime if I could erase you.”
In addition, Facebook is a theme in Kate Miller-Heidke’s revenge song about a former lover wanting to still be Facebook Friends, which debuted on YouTube two years ago and has 1.3 million views. The soulful song starts out detailing a broken heart and builds to incredulity when the singer reveals that the guy sent her, of all things a Facebook friend request. Her reply is a curse-laden negative.
While definitely not heralding the demise of Facebook, Zammit’s latest parody and the many before her, hint at a possibly more subtle shift.
The news comes a month after Facebook shed about 6 million users in the U.S. this past May. The one-month drop of nearly four percent had people wondering if the social network had reached a peak, even though its global membership continues to grow, swelling to a reported 750 million recently.
The arrival of new kid on the block, Google+, is sure to generate some buzz, too, and could make Facebook seem like the “old fogey” by comparison.
Google+ aims to lure users from Facebook, with its new features, like “circles” of friends, video chat, and a move away from the “friending” model in favor of a one-sided following that lets people interact in a more natural manner. It also avoids the awkwardness of handling friend requests that Zammit’s song touches upon.
A story earlier this week reported Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, amassed over 21,000 followers since the Google+ launch last week — more than Google co-founders Larry Page with 15,000 and Sergey Brin’s 12,000 followers.
So when Mark Zuckerberg joins Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and other moguls at this week’s annual investment banking conference in Idaho, the smart money is betting he’ll be looking fiercely into the future, blocking out any distant humorous guitar strumming and the shuffle of curious footsteps straying to other social media for a peek.