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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Death of Facebook

I was reading my favorite section of the Sunday paper--the comics (or the funnies as my wife and I say)--when I noticed a disturbing trend. At least three comics mentioned Facebook. Facebook has so well infiltrated society that I can't even read Sherman's Lagoon without coming across it. That is pretty lame.
I wonder what the trajectory for Facebook will be? One hundred years from now, will we still have Facebook much in the way we still have Fords? Will we just have a sleeker, more fuel-efficient version of facebook? Will we have something completely different or will the invasive, electronic-life-sharing phase of our modern culture end?
When I came of age in the 90s (about the same time, arguably, the Internet came of age), the big thing, as evidenced by much output of modern media at the time (The X-Files, The Matrix, and a hundred or so techno-conspiracy thrillers) was paranoia that the government or some entity was following us, tracking us, trying to steal our identities, or at the least, know all about or business. Now people put every detail of their life on Facebook. Heck, people even give detailed information on their plans for the night as their statuses. If we had these capabilities when I was in high school, I would have been afraid that:
A. People would know no one would be at my house and try to rob it, and
B. All the mystery in my life would be gone
Society at large does not seem to be much concerned about these things anymore. If they were--heck, let me say 'we' here because I have a Facebook and there is truthfully probably information on there that I pretend I would like to keep private but don't--if we were concerned about these things anymore, we wouldn't all have Facebook.
I wonder where this leads us to as a society. It's not like we can all go back to being private, right? I mean, far more former introverts are getting facebook accounts than any amount of people actually dropping their accounts. It appears this is a fad that is here to stay, but how long until a Facebook account is so necessary that it is mandatory? How long until jobs and colleges actually require you to have a facebook in order to belong to their institution? To take a great leap here, how long will every thought going on in our heads be private? If we are already so apt at allowing perfect strangers to see photographs of us our with our friends, how far off are we from allowing everyone to know what is really going on in our heads? Is secrecy and privacy a good thing?
You're darned right it is. Otherwise we would have all been created as telepaths, and we weren't, so I think we should think about the ethical implications of letting everyone in the world know everyting about us.
All this to say I am cancelling my Facebook account. I am tired of feeling like I am willingly putting my life on display. I am cancelling it right now...wait...no I'm not. Otherwise, how can I keep up with every little thing everyone else is doing?
I think it is my right to know these things now...and that is sad.
EDITOR'S NOTE: IN NOVEMBER OF 2010, HE DID, INDEED, FINALLY CANCEL AND DELETE HIS FACEBOOK ACCOUNT. HE HAS NEVER REACTIVATED OR CREATED A NEW ONE

4 comments:

jess said...

I'm Facebook-less, and I intend to stay that way. (And the same goes for Twitter.) If people want to know what I'm up to, they have my email address and my telephone number (that is, if I want them to be able to find out what I'm up to). I decided several years ago to quit the facade of relationships with people who only wanted to keep up with what I was doing and didn't actually want to know ME. I've had bad experiences with certain people, and I really don't want them to know where I am or what I'm up to. One stalker in a lifetime is more than enough for me.

I know that makes me in the minority these days, but I'm okay with that.

jess said...

Oh, and one more thing: I get a BIG kick out of people who get outraged when they get fired or lose friends because of something they've put on Facebook. It's on the internet and it is NOT private, no matter what you think. Don't put anything "out there" that you don't want everyone finding out about.

Nicholas said...

I don't think I am at a point where I can quit--I have some strange intangible ring of communication through it with people, and I do not understand it. I have recently blinded the majority of my "friends" from actually seeing anything I post and I have made all my posts private. I also went through and deleted any "friend" I either did not know or had no reason to be friends with. I am attempting to use Facebook to only meet my own needs, but I am sure it is using me in the process.
Despite all of the above, I definitely still watch what I say, even though most people who I left capable of seeing it will either understand or not care.
I am kind of bummed because in all honesty, I think if Facebook had come out six months later, I could have avoided creating an account, as Facebook only came to prominence at LSU in the final weeks of my last semester there. Five years later and I still have the darned thing. I guess I could always just cancel mine or consolidate with Crystal, but I can't and I don't know why.

Nicholas said...

I can say, though, that I do not, nor have I ever had a Twitter account!