Facebook and the new world order

Am I the only one that thinks the world has gone a little crazy for allowing Facebook to literally rule our lives?

Now, I love to surf the Book, play Family Feud, and connect with old high school buddies or new just-met-you-at-a-college-party aquaintences as much as the next person, but I stop short of having a virtual farm which requires my attention 24 hours a day, heeding my “friends” who choose to rage against my personal beliefs and/or attributes, and giving credence to the hourly relationship status updates of some of my more relationship-challenged contacts. I choose to ignore a great deal of the newsfeed on my homepage, and a great deal more of the hatred spewing groups and yeah, I often ignore the “save the whales” and “defeat breast cancer” causes as well. It isn’t that I think they are bad or insignificant causes, it’s just that I don’t need another post on my wall from each and every one of them.

At our current state of interconnectedness, it’s no wonder that the walls of privacy and human decency are crumbling down around us. We complain that telemarketers can infiltrate our phone lines, yet we post them on facebook every time we get a new number, and yes, data mining applications will find and exploit them. I have to say that there are probably more sinister threats out there, but it is still disconcerting nonetheless. Yet, we have no right to complain about it because we’ve volunteered the same information to millions of strangers.

Not only are the walls of privacy crumbling, so too is our sense of propriety. This article describes a group of teachers that have been disciplined in some way or another for “misusing” facebook: Teachers, students and Facebook, a toxic mix. (Thanks to Nichole for the link) Several NY teachers are fired for licentious comments on student pages. OK, fair enough. It’s probably a bit inappropriate to friend a student, much less comment on “sexy” pictures. But read on.

You’ll notice that there are also teachers that have been suspended and reprimanded for things which don’t directly involve communication with students. Some of the things may be distasteful (posing with a stripper, posting pictures of yourself obviously inebriated), but they are not necessarily illegal, nor do they deserve to be rectified by official punishments.

Additionally, why is it that potential employers get to use our facebook pages to make judgements about us before we’ve even met? Don’t you think it’s utterly mad that my personal life should not be my own? As long as I perform on the job, why is what I do on my own time not out of my employer’s jurisdiction? I have my LinkedIn profile which I encourage employers to look at, but I firmly believe that my Facebook profile is separate… distinct…personal.

Part of the frustration with Facebook stems from its humble beginnings as a college based social network. When I joined the FB, many of my friends couldn’t because their schools hadn’t been added yet. Glad as I am that their schools were eventually added, it is disappointing that the makers of Facebook were lured into the money which could be made from advertizing and expanding the brand… first to high school children, then the world. The sad truth is that the exclusivity of a college-based network set Facebook apart from MySpace, and made it more appealing– to all sorts of people.

Until the worldwide expansion, it was MySpace that was home to the bullies, the sexual predators, and the miscreants. For those of us that enjoyed the Facebook that was… the demise of MySpace also became the downfall of Facebook. When the doors of social networkhood were thrown open to the world, the safe, quiet, studious campus-like environment of the Facebook platform which allowed former friends to stay connected across miles on the web became just that… a web on which to be caught in any manner of damaging situations.

Now not a day goes by that I’m not bombarded with a terrifying, maddening, or saddening news story about someone who lost their job/didn’t get hired, was kidnapped and abused, or who has taken their own life because of the influence of Facebook. What started as an excellent one-stop source for networking has degenerated into an all-consuming time suck that has literally started to climb off our computer screens and into our daily lives in horrifying ways. The ubiquity of The Social Network has even been immortalized in film now… only 6 years after it was created. It took the Harry Potter series 8 before it got it’s big Silver Screen moment in 2001.

The only difference is that Harry Potter isn’t real. Isn’t it time that we accept that about our Facebook profiles as well? I don’t advocate Facebook abstinence… Enjoy the use of this wonderful new technology that we have called social media, but stop short of allowing it to become a dictator and a tyrant. A very wise lady once said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor was right, of course, and this applies to all forms of Facebook abuse and spying. I feel the need for a cheesy-80’s inspirational song like “We are the World” to bring us out of the recesses of the dark corners of the internet and into the wonderful light of real life.

No crops died in the time it took to write this post.

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~ by aptessmann on October 28, 2010.

4 Responses to “Facebook and the new world order”

  1. ooooh i’m totally going to share this on facebook!

  2. *UPDATE*

    My point proven once again… Thanks to Valerie for posting, you guessed it, on facebook!

    http://mashable.com/2010/10/28/farmville-murder-mother-baby/

  3. Hahaha…nicely written and yes I am sharing this on facebook too. 🙂

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