Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Facebook - Will You Be My Friend?

I’m on Facebook – but I’ve had my ups and downs with that social media platform. I much prefer Twitter. I must admit I'm something of a spectator on both. While I keep my Tweetdeck up most of the day, I only check Facebook every other day or so, and rarely post anything.

Here’s an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal about the changing face of Facebook and social media:

Suddenly, our friends were something even better - an audience. If blogging felt like shouting into the void, posting updates on a social network felt more like an intimate conversation among friends at a pub.

. . .

Just as Facebook turned friends into a commodity, it has likewise gathered our personal data – our updates, our baby photos, our endless chirping birthday notes— and readied it to be bundled and sold.

So I give up. Rather than fighting to keep my Facebook profile private, I plan to open it up to the public – removing the fiction of intimacy and friendship.
But I will also remove the vestiges of my private life from Facebook and make sure I never post anything that I wouldn't want my parents, employer, next-door neighbor or future employer to see. You'd be smart to do the same.

We'll need to treat this increasingly public version of Facebook with the same hard-headedness that we treat Twitter: as a place to broadcast, but not a place for vulnerability. A place to carefully calibrate, sanitize and bowdlerize our words for every possible audience, now and forever. Not a place for intimacy with friends.

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