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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Speculates on the Nature of Facebook Again, Contemplates Deleting Facebook Account Again, Doesn't Delete Facebook Account...Again

Last night I typed out this Facebook status:
Everybody wear your red, white, and blue tomorrow...unless you are a terrorist who hates America.
My wife, looking over my shoulder, immediately said, "Nic, change that, you can't post that."
"You know I'm only joking about the second part, right?"
"I know it, but a lot of people won't."
Unfortunately, she is correct.
According to Facebook, I have 346 "friends", and considering only 1/5 of these people are actually my friends, that leaves about 280 people who don't really have any idea who I am. Not one of these 280 people will understand that the above proposed status actually means:
Yes! The US is playing a big World Cup game tomorrow! As you know, I love World Cup soccer, and this game means a lot to me. I know it doesn't really mean a lot to most of you, though, and I wish it did, but I love you guys anyway.
I don't want to spell it out like this, though. Why should I when I could say something that my friends and I would all find funny? The answer, of course, is that Facebook is a sham. It isn't a community of friends, but an arena for any acquaintance, co-worker, or friend of our parents to eavesdrop into our lives. A lot of these people have apparently been appalled by what they have seen, because I have been defriended more times than I can remember. I haven't really been emotionally impacted by any of these defriendings because, really, what do I care? Better that people stay out of my business. I once had a woman Facebook friend me after meeting me on a single occasion, only to comment on this awesome video I posted with the word "Seriously??" and immediately defriend me. This kind of left me awestruck. Lady, don't take a bite out of the cake if you don't know what the filling is!
Sure, Facebook does give our acutal friends an opportunity to have a new window and easier access into our lives, but should they even have that access?
Why do we even humor each other with the question "What have you been up to?" anymore?
If we are being honest, we can say, "I see your vacation went well. Your new bathing suit is really cute. I see you and your husband ate at this particular restaurant, that you ordered this particular entree, and that you thought it was good, but a little too salty. I see your oldest son won his soccer game. He is getting so tall. I'm sorry work isn't going well. Hopefully that big project will stop stressing you out. I thought Toy Story 3 was great as well. Well, nice rehashing things we already know about each other. See you later." We won't say this, though, because we have already posted this on their Facebook page.
With this setup, we don't even need physical interaction anymore.
And going back to the story that I introduced this post with:
Did I really spend my adolescence, teenage, and college years fighting to establish my identity, just to wuss out as an adult on some stupid social networking site?
Screw Facebook!
Still, I'm not deleting my account.

In Defense of the MP3

In January I posted my opinion of the compact disc. Instead of linking to it, I will just say the gist of it was that I don't really feel like I own music unless I can actually touch it. I still feel that way for the most part, but...
There is one condition that actually makes me feel like I own the music without actually owning a PHYSICAL copy: some bands have begun to sell their albums in MP3 form, direct from their websites. I think this is great. It cuts out the middleman, i.e., the distributor, and in some cases, the label. This means that the creator of the music can actually make money off the music. As awesome as I find this, I still feel an intangibility that I do not enjoy...unless the band releases a down-loadable version of the album booklet along with the MP3 files. This is easy for the band to do, but it goes a long way. I recently bought Portugal, The Man's excellent new album, American Ghetto, direct from their website. I paid less than ten dollars for it, and the band included a digital-version of the CD booklet in the download. I put the booklet onto my picture-holding MP3 player, and now when I listen to the album, I can click through my player, look at the song lyrics, and view the artwork the band intended to visually represent the album. Sure, I can't flip through the pages and smell them, but I guess a few trees got saved, and instead of losing shelf space, I am losing a negligible amount of drive space.
So there, I am not a technophobic-troglodyte.
BONUS: With the money the band makes from selling their album directly, they can easily pay the producer, graphic designer, photographer, etc. No label involved. VIVA LA REVOLUTION! Or something...