Intel: The Museum of the Disconnected Me
I'm certain it wasn't Intel's intention but this points out the glaring fact that Facebook can be a sad, narcissistic world. It also a reminder of the difficulties that brands and businesses encounter when they try and market to, and "engage," people in Facebook.
When I compare this with last year's Google Chrome experience, an interactive film project called The Wilderness Downtown, an experience so engaging that one of my 78 year old relatives played with it for hours, (the older you are the more places you've lived!) all the while acknowledging that, yes, it was an ad for Google Chrome, I can't help but think that Intel tried to emulate that experience and yet went in the completely opposite direction.
With the Wilderness Downtown, Google labs and the creative people they worked with remembered to tie the experience to human touch points, either because they understood that the web is all about people, not businesses, or the outside third party creatives pushed them in that direction; it was incredibly compelling to have the feeling of going 'back in time' to 'see again' where we were born, where we grew up, where we formed our early connections with our families and friends, and adding Arcade Fire to the mix was a nice touch.
On the other hand, Intel's Museum of Me, an online global hall of mirrors, reminds us that the cold, hard, heart of any computer is a mere chip, a compressor. Intel's ad sells technology of course; it's non-emotional stuff. They provide technology that allows me only to travel through a disconnected, soulless museum of images, populated by creepy, zombie-like figures and robots. Worse, I'm left without the ability to interact in that museum, and there is ultimately no reward for sitting through this techno display, I just feel deflated.
Intel has managed to solidly reduce what the web does best while reminding us that Facebook is not the web. Intel's idea of the web seems to be a product that sits on a shelf at Best Buy.
There's more irony at play here than meets the eye - Google Labs appeared to be attempting to redefine what product advertising was with the Wilderness Downtown project, and at first blush it might appear that Wilderness was anti-corporate and pro-people, pro-music fans. Yes and no. Google is in advertising and data collection; they are in the business of selling banner ad space to the Intel's of the world. Ironic then that Intel should be chasing Google's tail.
The "exhibition" also reinforces how Robin Dunbar got it right when he theorized that 150 is the theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships - the relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person. I have no idea who many of the people were in my "exhibition." Family members never showed up, real close friends never showed up either. Maybe that's my fault? Perhaps I should be more narcissistic and post more pictures of myself?
My point is that if this "exhibition" was scraping the social web, not just Facebook, it would have created a far more compelling experience. Facebook is not the web. Meanwhile as of this writing, 315,150 people "Like" it..
The web is almost by definition, anti-brand and anti-business because it is unwaveringly pro-people.
Intel should look the Web in the eyes and see who blinks first.