There’s something about the crisp autumn air that brings out the philosopher in Mark Zuckerberg. At this week’s Web 2.0 Summit, the Facebook founder mused, according to Saul Hansell of the New York Times, “I would expect that next year, people will share twice as much information as they share this year, and [the] next year, they will be sharing twice as much as they did the year before.”
Hansell dubs this Zuckerberg’s Law. But I believe it’s actually Zuckerberg’s Second Law. Zuckerberg’s First Law, enunciated on another fall day almost precisely one year ago, took this elemental form: “Once every hundred years media changes.”
Zuckerberg’s Second Law is certainly superior to Zuckerberg’s First Law, if only because it is not quite so obviously false. If you’re going to make up big laws, it’s always best to make them up about the future rather than the past.
And the Second Law has, as Hansell notes, a nice Gordon Moore kind of ring to it: “The amount of information we disclose about ourselves will, like the number of transistors on a slice of silicon, double every year.” I’ll buy that.
I’m troubled, though, by the implications of this exponential growth in our release of intimate data. I mean, aren’t we all pretty much tapped out already? Think forward a few years, and imagine the kind of details we’re all going to have to disgorge just to satisfy the demands of Zuckerberg’s Second Law. Shall no fart pass without a tweet?