Explaining Facebook to a 1949
Factory Worker


T R A N S C R do not copy image2 copy 3I P T


THURSDAY 3/17/49
12:15-12:40 PM CST
41.455196 -91.022739

PAGE 1 OF 4 

I go back Tuesday. I needed the break. All I do is work on my thesis. It’s like a massive term paper that you have to defend against the Supreme Court. No thanks I don’t smoke go ahead.

I’m doing my thesis on something called Facebook. Face book. It’s a seminal social media . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] . . . average people. You know that bulletin board outside your boss’s office? The one crammed with a thousand pieces of paper, the bowling league rankings, those fishing trip photos . . . Facebook is a bulletin board like that but it covers the entire planet.

Instead of cork and paper it’s made of trillions of bits of electronic info. They travel through the telephone wire or air just like a radio signal now. We look at the bulletin board with electric devices that have screens like televisions. Our viewing devices assemble the info bits into words, pictures and sounds we can access from anyplace on earth.

Well yeah I guess it’s swell. It changed the world. Not as much as time travel probably has but let’s not get into that. You can tack just about any non physical thing you want on the board. Not just notes and photos but even little movies and music recor—

Cars? Well they’re a lot smaller and quieter. Otherwise they’re pretty much the same. They look a lot different. Well they’re much smaller and less round. You don’t realize it but those cars in the lot outside are huge. No they’re not atomic. Ha. We wish. They still use gas.

You can organize the info on the bulletin board any way you want and that’s really the key thing. You can choose to only see stuff that’s been tacked up by certain people like your family members, your buddies, your kids, your—

Just gas. Gasoline. Unleaded gas. It’s gasoline without lead. I actually don’t know. I think it’s making your kids mentally slow. Honestly my crappy 2003 Accord is probably 75 percent the same as the Ford truck you picked me up in way out by the melon farm. I mean you’d be dumbfounded if you opened the hood but then you’d start recognizing things. They still have the fan, the spark plugs, the hole for the oil, battery, all that. I’d say they’re 75 percent the same as now.



Anyway the amazing electronic bulletin board allows you to maintain a particular kind of semi passive virtual relationship with hundreds of people all across the world. Thousands of people. All at once. Yes really.

We’re still figuring out how relationships that largely consist of frequent virtual reminders of a non-present individual’s existence and the shared perceptual connection are similar to or different from traditional distance relationships in which far less frequent but more intensely dedicated communic—

If you floored it? I don’t know . . . maybe 110 or 120. Yes miles. Well . . . your cars have bigger engines I think and . . . what? [UNINTELLIGIBLE] still 55 at least near me. Yes miles. It’s actually 65 in a lot of places but I think it’s a state by state thing. You probably have a lot of state by state things back now. That’s another game changing aspect of the bulletin board because it reaches acr— [UNINTELLIGIBLE]

Well I guess it is disappointing. I mean they get a thousand times better as far as maintenance and safety and . . . okay . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] 250 miles an hour is going kind of overboard isn’t it? Well there’s no intelligent reason for them to be saying this. They’re just making it up.

Car technology hasn’t completely changed but for raw potential of interactive technology to transform human society, which is my thesis, you have to focus on the bulletin board which has . . . excuse me . . . which has toppled murderous dictators from oppressive regimes by allowing disenfranchised citizens to assemble into vast networks spurring demonstra—

Well it might be 70 now but your roads are deplorable. Route 38 isn’t even paved. We had to drive around a wheelbarrow laying on its side yesterday. Kids stand in the middle of the intersection like they don’t care. I mean don’t you [UNINTELLIGIBLE]

I really don’t know. I think they dropped it to 55 like 30 years from now because of gas or safety reasons. I forgot to mention gas. It becomes a huge factor. What? From where to where? God I don’t know how many miles is that. Okay well that’s still really far. Well we’d probably do it in three days then because you’re going to see a major highway system constr—

I realize that. But you’re probably going to end up killing yourself in that truck and wiping out a whole



family one night when you’re drunk. Cars just don’t get that much faster in the next . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] you know what every car in 2014 has cold air conditioning and cruise control and four separate radio speakers. And they ride like—

Oh bullcrap you have that. Come on. No way— Now? Huh. I did not know that. No actually I did not notice that. It sounded like a crappy AM radio to me.

God I don’t know maybe like 23 thousand dollars new. No I’m not. I am not. Why would I? For what possible reason?

No I don’t have a picture. I have a piece of crap Accord with 170 thousand miles on it. I’m a graduate student carrying around my professor’s laptop while he does field work for his bullcrap post war manufacturing grant. You think I’d have a car I’d take a picture of?

No I don’t I don’t smoke. All those guys are smoking one will have one. What? No I let me check . . . no I don’t have any change.

You have to understand that the magic bulletin board will not just change paradigms it will destroy them. At the global level it becomes an immeasurably powerful framework that invites average non-sophisticated people with little means to— no it is not swell it’s an irrepressible force that will change the face of . . . the political . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE]

It has artificial intelligence. It’s smarter than people. Have you heard of artificial intelligence? You will. You definitely will. My friend. By the year 2011 the bulletin board controls how you . . . eat, marry, work, fly . . . no we like it. It does all the dangerous dirty stuff that we don’t want to do. Flying is the main . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] we don’t care about cars.

Well they don’t really look like planes. They’re called



sky mobiles. Like snow mobiles but obviously they . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] commute . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] twice the speed of sound. On average. Of course I have one that’s why I can have a crappy car. No I don’t have a picture. Because we just don’t do that. Because we think it’s stupid. I don’t.

Let go of my . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] . . . had one I’d not only give it to you but I’d let you keep it and send it to the newspaper cause it doesn’t . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] they post cancel the trip the picture wouldn’t be here anyway no one will remember stop . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] . . . gladly give it to you stop [UNINTELLIGIBLE] said let go [UNINTELLIGIBLE]

No actually I am not a fairy. That’s highly offensive to say to somebody in 2014. It’s not a joke anymore. You get fired for that. No for saying it. Yeah especially then but I’m not.

I don’t really care if I look like a pencil neck college boy to you I don’t take it personally because I know it’s due to your constrained exposure to your time. No. No actually not some are taller and some are shorter I’m actually of average height for my era. Well it’s true well it is.

That’s your opinion and you really wouldn’t know. A lot happens in 65 years. Well your totally theoretical grand kid might actually be a 
little fairy and then you’ll just have to deal with . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] because there’s no . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] no I’m saying you have no control over . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] quit . . . [UNINTELLIGIBLE] wouldn’t worry because you’ll probably be dead way before then in fact I know you will be. Well so am I stop [UNINTELLIGIBLE]

No I don’t have change [UNINTELLIGIBLE] said stop [UNINTELLIGIBLE] take what you need from this don’t [UNINTELLIGIBLE] 



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