Posts Tagged ‘ belonging ’

“Cousins, come play with us”

Serendipity…
Two significant things happened recently:
1) I watched the movie Fahrenheit 451
2) I became aware of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) website

In the 1966 movie, directed by Francois Truffault, based on the novel by Ray Bradbury, there is a scene in which a domestic wall/video screen functions as the stage for an interactive “play” between the virtual “actors” and the “real” actor at home. The actor at home is invited to participate in dialogue with the other actors when he/she is called upon by name, this making the home actors feel like they have contributed to what transpires in the play. The television program is titled ‘Family Theatre’ and the host refers to the audience as ‘cousins,’ just as everyone in the film/novel refers to one another (a bit cultish). The technology, or rather I should say those who produce the technology, create a false sense of belonging in those that participate. The director makes this idea apparent through the exaggerated absurdity of this scene.

It was exactly 20 days following my ‘outing’ to Fbook, when I flipped to this movie playing on TCM. Although I’ve spent years thinking about these sorts of ideas, this particular scene in the movie really struck me as an early precursor to the false sense of collective identity Facebook offers. Participation and that sense of belongingness is developed from a constructed interface, designed with specific requests and limitations that meet the needs of the creators. This is not to say that there is no value in the interaction that occurs, for both FB friends and the family actors, just that we should be reminded of the layered ‘screens’ that exist between our selves and the “stage”. And…that we need to consider who is asking us to participate.

Coming into the Fbook community, I knew the difficulties that would exist if I were to want to leave with all of my information. In fact, I might have scared off some ‘friends’ by  making a post about this only four days after joining. It was then that I realized that Fbook won’t allow you to post the website name for a group that will help you commit facebook suicide, stating that members find this information offensive. My first authentic Fbook censorship.

On April 28th, EFF published “Facebook’s Eroding Privacy Policy: A Timeline,” clearly revealing changes that have occurred in the interface from 2005 to 2010. Yes, they are making it easier for us to connect by connecting all of our applications together, but how do they know this is what its ‘users’ want? As an author of a recent Wired article states, “it seems almost inevitable that the web will become, at least for the near future, an extension of Facebook. Like it or not.”

More thinking to do…

Belonging to Fbook

It’s now been a week since joining Fbook. I’ve decided that I like to alternate between the Fbook and FB acronyms. Maybe this is some kind of internal desire to be different, I don’t know. I do know that I like saying Fbook because it makes me feel like I am venting some kind of frustration with the network’s controlling aspects. Demonstrating a very small bit of free speech, perhaps…

Putting aside my dislike for certain restrictive features of the Facebook interface, I must admit that the experience so far has resulted in positive feelings of self-worth – a sense of belonging. I honestly do feel different from when I would lurk under my husband’s profile. And the email bombardment of instant notifications has not been all that bad. Perhaps this is because I have had years of time to build myself up for the constant interaction. I decided to leave the majority of the notification settings to the default to intentionally test myself in terms of how long I could tolerate my inbox being filled.

Inbox Victory, Evan Roth, 2008 (screenshot)

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