Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Price Of Face

Perhaps I have mentioned this before, and it might seem a little hypocritical to be taking aim at anything on Al Gore's Internet when the very words you are reading would have to come to you carefully bound and written by quill pen without it, but what is the deal with Facebook? Maybe I just missed the demographic, or maybe I am way too immersed in my own musings to imagine taking on anyone else's, but what is the deal?
It would make more sense if I were the one who went to see "The Social Network" and had the scales from my eyes. At last I could see what a craven enterprise this thing is. I would simply go home and cancel my account, relieved to be free of this horrible time-sink. I would start meeting friends the old fashioned way: looking someone in the eye and having conversations longer than the size of a text box. I would connect with people on a level just a shade deeper than their favorite "Gilligan's Island" character. I would stop using "friend" as a verb.
Or not. There are plenty of very happy and healthy individuals who continue to be very polite and active in analog ways who continue to use their Facebook accounts
. Sometimes we even make eye contact. These are the people who can walk away whenever they want. They aren't updating their status by the half hour. The trouble is, even members of that first group are apparently just as susceptible to the creeping tendrils of online creepiness. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that even those with the strictest privacy settings were in danger of having their personal information transmitted out into cyberspace for advertisers and those less scrupulous to do as they see fit with them. What I am saying here is simple: It's not just me.
Facebook currently boasts half a billion users. McDonald's would love to sell them all a hamburger. Coca-Cola would happily give them all both a Coke and a smile. And some bad people would love to use your personal information for making bad choices with someone else's lives. It's like the movie suggests: There's this great big party on Al Gore's Internet and no one wants to be left off the guest list. The trouble is, the guys who are running it keep changing the rules, and they seem to have a hard time keeping everyone safe. It reminds me a little of the 1980's.
Or maybe it's a little like heroin. "First one's free," says Captain Jack. Or like Captain Zuckerberg says, "It's free, and always will be." That one probably is just me.


Anonymous said...

1) what's with the creepy formatting?
2) did you know there's a little button at the bottom of each post that allows people to share on Facebook? Creepy, creepy, creepy.

Anonymous said...

Facebook's rules have been consistent from day 1: you give Facebook your personal information, they find ways to make money off of it.