Monday, March 16, 2009

Facebook, the Movie

The recent TIME article on "Why Facebook is for Old Fogies" amused me, but only a little. The nice things about Facebook are that I can track what's happening with my first cousins once removed, and I can play vicious games of faux Scrabble with Kris instead of hustling for work. The insidious thing about Facebook is the fact that it's a giant timewasting black hole that makes you feel moderately connected to complete strangers when you actually know nothing about them. Facebook has a new look that is slightly even more confusing than its old look. It has new groups, including the hideous "Six Degrees of Separation," in which strings of conversations can take place among strangers, who are even invited to guess or predict information about each other in ways that take Facebook out of the "safe" mode of Internet chat and well into the "creepy" mode. You don't have to be "friends" to converse on these groups. Although I can still (mostly) track O's conversations on her wall, I can't always know what's happening in these side columns. I do know that people guessed her age as 20 and commented that she looked like a young Mary Tyler Moore and a cuter Winona Ryder. Since she's not 20, she had to Google each of those references.

During the Depression, people went to the movies to lose themselves in fictive fantasy. Today, you don't need to leave the house. Now that's Depressing.


Anonymous said...

I haven't yet seen one word that has tempted me to even peek at Facebook. Why would I want this in my life? It's hard enough to keep up with the people I want to know. And why would I want to have 6,000 casual friends? I may be too young to join the cranky codger group, but this certainly does not bode well for civil society.

The only reason I joined MySpace was in order to inform an otherwise unreachable person about the death of a mutual friend.

KAZ said...

The fact is that college students now use it instead of email, and that's trickling down through HS and MS. College profs we know are having to face this challenge to their prior forms of communication. So it's here and must be dealt with.