14 October 2007

Facebook: the twitching net curtain of the net

Some of my best friends would not be seen dead on Facebook. Can you blame them? It is, they claim, the death of real-life socialising, another way of chaining you to your computer, and a total abuse of privacy. That said, I like Facebook. In a guilty pleasure kind of way. It is the twitching net curtain of the net. Somewhere between socially sanctioned noseyness and an alumni association.

Yet it is also risky. Like most Facebookers, my ‘friends’ list encompasses a motley crew of the long lost, the estranged, the hardly known, the passing acquaintance, the former flatmate, the ‘person I once worked with’, family members and best mates. This is, as the Trade Union Congress pointed out a few months ago, an accident waiting to happen . Put simply, the kind of information sometimes posted on Facebook, from drunken musings to workplace bitching, are not likely to endear you to your boss. It disturbs the work life balance.

Another aspect of the same problem is that there are friends and then there are friends. This post demonstrates the point quite well: “The trouble with Facebook is that it’s a confused social space. There are too many different facets of personality being exposed through social openness. So much so, in fact, that it gets a bit difficult to manage.”It also has some handy diagrams and suggestions on how to keep them separated. Not in a friendship-apartheid kindof way, just recognising that the social networks we inhabit are uneven and that flattening those out may not always be such a hot idea

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