*****  To join INSNA, visit  *****

Uhh... I think that he completely misses the point.  Except for the  
tech fetishists and bloggers, people primarily use sites like Facebook  
when they're not able to connect using the "free" means of  

1) teens because they're not allowed out of the house to hang out with  
their friends and if they are, their friends aren't or they have to go  
to highly regulated and supervised settings

2) college students because they know that they're supposed to be in  
class/doing homework/sleeping, but they're procrastinating because  
talking to friends is much more fun and a little bit of low-level  
talking through FB can be justified far better than meeting up with  
someone for a coffee

3) white collar workers because they're bored at work and want to hang  
out with their friends when they should be doing a variety of other  

4) nightshift/hourly service workers because their friends work  
different hours

5) parents at home because they can't really go and hang out with  
their friends because babysitting costs too bloody much

6) highly mobile adults and military folks because their friends are  
far away, probably in a different timezone and getting together in  
person can only take place sporadically

When given a truly open choice, most people would much much much  
prefer hanging out with their friends in person in an unregulated  
environment.  But there are unbelievable numbers of reasons why people  
cannot connect in meatspace at a shared time.  I'm not saying FB and  
MS are god's gifts, but their popularity is not caused by anti-social  
people, but by people who are highly social and are living in a  
society with all sorts of restrictions.  Maybe if we didn't work 80  
hour weeks... maybe if we didn't switch jobs every 18 months... maybe  
if we had more than 2 weeks vacation a year... maybe if we all worked  
9-5... maybe if we let our teens run around outside with their  
friends...  maybe if we didn't ship thousands of young men and women  
off to fight a foolish war...

Don't blame the technology - it's filling a gap, but it didn't create  
the gap.  The key question should be: what is up with that gap and how  
do we fix it?


On Jan 16, 2008, at 2:48 AM, Moses Boudourides wrote:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit  *****
> 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:
> Greetings and see you soon at St. Pete!
> --Moses
> _____________________________________________________________________
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