Print

Print


*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Hi,
You might find it interesting: Tom Hodgkinson has written an op-ed in The
Guardian on Facebook, where he's sort of campaigning against the
substitution of digital networking for real life. He starts with the
narcissism argument: "Facebook appeals to a kind of vanity and
self-importance in us, too. If I put up a flattering picture of myself with
a list of my favourite things, I can construct an artificial representation
of who I am in order to get sex or approval. ("I like Facebook," said
another friend. "I got a shag out of it.") It also encourages a disturbing
competitivness around friendship: it seems that with friends today, quality
counts for nothing and quantity is king. The more friends you have, the
better you are. You are "popular", in the sense much loved in American high
schools." He's also wondering about authentic connectivity through Facebook:
"Doesn't it rather disconnect us, since instead of doing something enjoyable
such as talking and eating and dancing and drinking with my friends, I am
merely sending them little ungrammatical notes and amusing photos in
cyberspace, while chained to my desk? A friend of mine recently told me that
he had spent a Saturday night at home alone on Facebook, drinking at his
desk. What a gloomy image. Far from connecting us, Facebook actually
isolates us at our workstations." Next, Hodgkinson explores the blurred
facet of the issue related to capitalism and libertarianism: "Clearly,
Facebook is another uber-capitalist experiment: can you make money out of
friendship? Can you create communities free of national boundaries - and
then sell Coca-Cola to them? Facebook is profoundly uncreative. It makes
nothing at all. It simply mediates in relationships that were happening
anyway....The creators of the site need do very little bar fiddle with the
programme. In the main, they simply sit back and watch as millions of
Facebook addicts voluntarily upload their ID details, photographs and lists
of their favourite consumer objects. ... Here at last is the Enlightenment
state longed for since the Puritans of the 17th century sailed away to North
America, a world where everyone is free to express themselves as they
please, according to who is watching. National boundaries are a thing of the
past and everyone cavorts together in freewheeling virtual space. Nature has
been conquered through man's boundless ingenuity."  So, he concludes: "this
heavily-funded programme to create an arid global virtual republic, where
your own self and your relationships with your friends are converted into
commodites on sale to giant global brands. ... For my own part, I am going
to retreat from the whole thing, remain as unplugged as possible, and spend
the time I save by not going on Facebook doing something useful, such as
reading books. And if I want to connect with the people around me, I will
revert to an old piece of technology. It's free, it's easy and it delivers a
uniquely individual experience in sharing information: it's called talking."

You can read the whole op-ed at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jan/14/facebook


Greetings and see you soon at St. Pete!


--Moses

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.