Posts Tagged ‘ facebook ’

Facebook, how could you?

Dear Facebook,

You think you know me. You think you know what is best for me. You think you know what I want. What are you basing this on?…my activities and interests, the things I make up in my profile, the things I link to in my status? Isn’t that a bit naive of you? Did you ask me what I want, what I need? No….you just decided for yourself, didn’t you.

Why do I continue to put up with this? What people must think of me sticking it out with you…the things they must be saying behind my back.

It’s not just me, you know. People are angry…I have Friends who are angry…and they are voicing their opinions of this recent change of yours, which, I must say, seems to be having a negative affect on your community. Some are taking it quite personally. I hope you really did do your research…I hope you thought this one out….

Yes, the little things are what we miss but, if you think about it, those little things speak volumes about the level of control you are taking from the users making up your environment. What if we want to arrange the order of the information we choose to provide about ourselves – are you going to let us have that option? Some people have decided not to play your little game, opting to remove the persona that once existed on his or her profile. Is that what you want – a bunch of faceless nodes in your network that rebel against the restrictive and formulaic design?

I’m sorry to have to take this tone with you. Things had been going well… You must know that I speak out of concern….out of….

I’m sorry, I just can’t continue with this conversation until I know that you are really listening.

Are you there Facebook?

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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Late to the party


It’s always a bit awkward to show up at the end of a party. The food has been picked over, the gifts have been opened, and those remaining are either too drunk or too tired to engage in good conversation. Reasons for arriving late most often relate to previous commitments scheduled for the same evening. But remember back in high school when it was cool to hang out with your core group of friends before moving on to the ‘big’ party. And sometimes in the process of the ‘before party,’ everyone would decide to stay put and forget about the ‘big party’. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe the ‘deciding to stay put’ came with age and laziness. I think it also depended on the weather…who wants to leave a nice cozy house to venture out into the freezing cold snow or rain, to risk the potential of a dead party?

I planned a late entrance to the FB party. First I was a voyeur, planning my attack from afar, lurking with caution. After listening to the experiences of party goers — the constant invites from people you don’t remember from high school that you would have nothing in common with, the persistence of wanna be friends who won’t give up the promising relationship they foresee with you, and the barrage of unnecessary visual information streaming minute by minute — I initially restrained from accepting the invites until I sensed that the novelty had worn off and it was safe to enter. Maybe now, there will be less chance of that annoying guy sequestering me in the corner to entertain me with his ’humour’ for hours.

I’m not the only one who decided to wait to ‘join’ > http://mashable.com/2010/04/08/south-park-facebook-episode/

Now I get the feeling that the party might be over….and that the cool people are deciding to call it a night. I know that some of my friends left before I even got here…

There’s this other party starting up down the street that might be good…

image source

Facebook, tell me about yourself

Dear Facebook,

Why do you know so much about me, yet I don’t really know who you are? Why won’t you let me add you as a Friend? Are you in a relationship? If so, how would you define it? What are you looking for? What do you “like”?

You’ve been getting a lot of bad press lately. Do you want to talk about it?  You can talk to me.

Sincerely,

Heidi

“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…

Heidi worlds collide

…..

What has made me so resistant to Fbook?

Well, that is the purpose of Selfpost | Postself, to investigate this question…

The main thing that has held me back each time I have almost joined is the challenge I foresee in balancing my different ‘worlds’. I’ve learned to handle balancing my different ‘selves,’ although it is an ongoing struggle at times, however, the fear of ‘worlds colliding’ has always been a difficult one for me. Perhaps the challenge is allowing others to experience my evolving multiple selves (artist, teacher, philosopher, writer, academic, student, friend, wife, sister, aunt, daughter, niece, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, neighbour, animal lover, activist, realist, dreamer….) for themselves, yet within a system that defines me merely as a “friend”. I guess one might equate this to the blending of personal and professional worlds…there’s that too.

Quoting the words of George Costanza, “a self divided against itself can not stand.” Or can it?

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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