07 April 2010


I've been meaning to write about the benefits and drawbacks of Facebook. Among other things, it provides the illusion of intimacy. You can spend hours looking at photos and reading about the likes and dislikes of family, friends, and acquaintances, without any actual interaction. Yet the level of knowledge you possess may provide an approximation of contact.

You might leave a comment on the post of a person that you would likely never call or talk to, if that required something more overt, like picking up a phone.

Obviously people can be too free with information. Many times I have seen people wonder why their isn't an "Awkward" button alongside the one for "Like."

Still, I love Facebook. I have been able to get in touch with old friends and enjoy the occasional philosophical and political discussions that can emerge. I also play stupid games. But I also try to be discreet, and encourage the same, particularly with young people I am acquainted with.

This post from a WSJ blog questions how Facebook and other social media may have led people to becoming too free with personal information- she calls it "oversharing."

I wonder whether society's tendency toward being less discreet is what led to social media's rise, rather than the other way around.

Food for thought.

1 comment:

Adhis said...

I'm definitely one of those people who is not very discreet, although, I am that way in person and have always been. I'm sure I'll tone it down as I get older. Maybe-ish.

As far as the illusion of intimacy, holy AMEN! Not just through FB but also through my blog, I have acquired a weird little following of people who expect me to know who they are when I see them in real life. They expect from me jokes or friendly banter at church, in the neighborhood, at functions, and truly, I don't know them.

I recently had someone at church become offended in real life because I had not commented on her FB statuses or blog. Hello? We never really knew each other in the first place; I just knew your name. And I don't wake up in the morning running to read about your life because, you know, I have a life.

So yeah, what you said. Except I'll still overshare.