Dear Facebook, how are you feeling?

OK…so the title of this entry could imply that I am continuing on my quest to understand the identity of FB, to understand the individuals behind the collective facade. You might also interpret this question from another perspective though…

How does Facebook (aka “community” network) feel as an emotional experience? How do YOU feel when you relate to Facebook? How much of how you feel depends on what’s going on in your own life vs. the life of Fbook?

I’m interested in the identity of FB but also in the experience of FB….which is why I enlisted. If FB is something we experience than maybe we should think about how it not only affects our minds, but also our bodies.

How do we embody Facebook? How does Facebook embody us?

Postself is a project that invites and welcomes collaboration. The following is a guest contribution from Valerie Lyman – her words have inspired me. I have yet to get to know Valerie in “real” life, however, experienced a visceral connection with her on another blog in which we dialogued about social media. I don’t know anything about Valerie except that she is another node in this networked pursuit of the philosophy of the networked self. Valerie, if you’re out there, feel free to expand on your insightful words below….and thanks for contributing to Postself.

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May 12, 2010
from: http://www.ecuad.ca/~rburnett/Weblog/archives/2010/05/are_social_media_social.html#comments
Valerie Lyman

Another approach to the question of ‘are social media, social?’ could be, after using social media, do you feel like you’ve had a social experience? This leaves out the social value part of the question and focuses more on the feeling of the experience and what it does to the emotional body. The answer for me, surprisingly, is Yes. Even though I am not a fan (another word) of the quality of discourse on say, Facebook, I can and do leave an extended Facebook browsing session feeling much the way I do after leaving an actual visit with my friends – my emotional body is somewhat exercised and I am ready for work. This is not to say they are the same thing, but to find that there is any overlap in sensation at all surprised me. Why should it? The telephone accomplishes the same thing and I never wondered at that. What’s different though is that the telephone is a highly personal, intimate, generally one on one mode of communication. Facebook is personal in as much as identity creation is concerned – the way people mark up their facebook or myspace pages reminds me of an expanded version of the way students once marked up their notebooks or young adults invariably recorded a highly personal outgoing message (usually with music) on their first answering machine – their gateway to the world and small space in which to declare ‘this is me.’

So although social networking sites have expanded this space, the interactions that occur within it are more communal and less personal. We might ask what is the cumulative effect and value for us of such increased impersonal or group communications. The obvious upside is that as Ron pointed out we connect and cross paths with people (and interests) that we otherwise might not have, and can perhaps articulate ourselves into the whole of society with more accuracy than we could before. What is the downside to a de-personalized communication forum as the personal norm?

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