Facebook fetish

by Fred Showker

A lot of people these days have become obcessed with Facebook, the social networking site. It seems everyone likes to talk about it -- and once they try it, they can't get enough.

Reading Charles Cooper's CNet account, and many others, this Web phenomena isn't really anything new -- it's only the evolution of Web 2.0. MySpace seems to have faded as the media's golden child hunting grounds for articles only to be replaced by Facebook.

Charles writes:
. . . "A lot of other people I know confess to the same guilty pleasure. Trolling through their friends' buddy lists has become something of a way to pass the a.m. downtime as you sit down with the day's first coffee"(?)

He nails it -- I know many people who spend the first hour or so of the day following blog posts from family members and friends; searching through 'friends' links, learning some of the most unuseful information known to mankind. Really folks, can this be where society is headed:

. . . "My Poppy did a doodie on the front carpet and I'm so (expletive deleted) that (expletive deleted) is so (expletive deleted) I can't believe it! Made me a half hour late to Suggies for the party!"

Now, one really has to know who "Poppy" and "Suggie" are, and why Poppy's doodie would make the writer late. Oh well, some people find this truly interesting reading.

On the other side of the coin, we've seen all the digital communication channels get notoriety through the years from the first ARPA net discussions to AOL chat rooms, blogs, Second Life, and beyond. But we've also seen their abuse too.

It's all about connectivity, and getting links. Almost immediately after launching my YouTube archive of favorite videos, I began getting requests to be people's friend. Wait a minute... I don't even know these people. But I always check them out, only to find they have some commercial motive for getting their links in my favorites list. But it's really nothing new, the way the media paints it. I've been dealing with that kind of behavior since launching the first User Group forum on AOL in 1988. (Could that really be twenty years ago??? )

In a follow-up post, Charles sums it up with:

... "the thought of some of these folks having 3 friends, let alone 593, defies credibility. Mark Zuckerberg's supposedly multi-billion dollar social utility has ultimately devalued the concept of friendship for the newer crop of Facebook addicts."(?)

But be careful of what you wish for. The social networking industry is becoming the richest personal identity shopping ground to date. So much so that it's founder feels it's worth billions.

Andrew Brown, in "Comments are Free" says
. . . "At 75,000 idiots a day, the company might just conceivably be worth its $10bn without too much front-loading. The information that Facebook might gain about its users is far more intimate than even Google has."(?)

By the way, don't even ask what my Facebook account is -- I've set it up as an entirely 'new' individual -- just to see what happens. I've gone to great efforts to completely disconnect it from my present self. It has its own look, history, its own lifestyle, its own friends and pleasures. Who knows, some day I might even let it "be my friend" in my regular account. Seems the least I could do.

Thanks for reading...

Fred Showker

Fred Showker, Editor, Graphic Design & Publishing

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