I think the FaceBook phenomenon is fascinating. As many have pointed out, there was Friendster and MySpace that came and went, and probably some other stuff, too, that never really took off or wound up serving a particular industry or demographic. So why FaceBook? Why not FaceBook? Like, half the Planet’s on FaceBook now.
I facebook a fair amount, although that’s largely the result of my desk-driven current existence. FaceBook is a good brain break when I’m trying to figure out exactly how to phrase something that someone will hear when they don’t want to hear it. And, supposedly, looking at cat pictures on the Internet really does lower blood pressure and positively influence other objective measures of stress.
Some people are surprised I FaceBook in public on my phone or public or work computers—I’ve been asked a bunch of times if I’m not worried about getting in trouble. I’m not really sure for what—the most exciting thing on my FaceBook, aside from the severely disabled cats who overcome with the help of dedicated humans, are various news articles from the National and International press posted by friends in various locales. Wow! The Australian Government just issued a hard hitting report on the causes of the Black Saturday fires. MotherJones is writing on early childhood education. Ooohh. Total geekzone. Other than that, it’s a lot of random updates from friends about their lunch at the new restaurant in their neighborhood, or maybe the rare Big Life Update—a baby, a new engagement, a new house. Exciting to me and other friends, but news otherwise lost in the whitenoise of 7 billion people going about their day.
Of course, there are always those moments when a Friend of a Friend posts something that a Friend comments on and it shows up on my news feed and I’m like, “oh, K. So, X has a friend who’s into [NotSafeForCatLovers].” Um, keep scrolling.
So, I guess maybe there are people out there who have FaceBooks filled with “scandal.” I guess a FaceBook must reflect the FaceBooker. I guess it would be interesting to study FaceBook pages and feeds. I wonder how it would track to personality tests, perception of the individual by community and social networks, casual acquaintances.
I do think FaceBook creates an opportunity to get to know someone better. Social events can be very posture-y, with a lot of people trying to get attention and mug for cameras and make some kind of impression for whatever purpose. Others retreat into the background, not interested in playing social King of the Mountain, looking for more genuine or “authentic” interpersonal experiences, keeping their own game face for the masses.
Although, even a FaceBook can be an image tool, rather than a genuine reflection of self . . . . typified by the celebrity public image page. I’m guessing a lot of prominent people have a real page under a false name. I actually have ordinary people friends who do that already—the “look at how fun I am page”, and the real them page for people who they are close to. I understand why some do it, but it must be bizarre, like you are two people at once. Better than just one page that is a Image You, and nothing reflecting who you really are? Guess it depends on how else you can express yourself . . . .
Me, I get enough trying to keep up with one FaceBook. I guess if I want to hide my geektastic, sappy, inspirational flower pictures and triumphant cats loving self, I’ll have to keep my security settings high. That is, until the next time FaceBook sends out a mass email announcing that all security settings are now removed, good luck figuring out the new ones. 😉