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A Facebook identity crisis

May 10, 2010

When I was younger, I enjoyed using Facebook. I interacted with distant high school friends and learned more about the people I was meeting at college. Facebook was a means to an end – using Facebook made my real-life social experience better.

What is it now? When I log on to Facebook, I see the status updates and miscellaneous activity of the 50 or so friends that Facebook deems to be my ‘best friends.’ Someone has filled out a survey, the title of which is a provocatively sexual song lyric taken out of context, and the questions are personal, and in some cases, obscene.

‘What is bothering you right now?’ the survey asks.

‘I bet you miss someone right now,’ the survey asks. Is that even a question?

Three or four people state how much work they have left until they are finished for the semester. An innumerous number simply list the number of days until the last day of classes, and another innumerous number ‘like’ those status updates.

A girl posts the insecure lyrics to their favorite song, as if the lyrics reflect what’s going on in her life right now.

There is more than that, too. Take a look on CareerBuilder or Monster.com and look for how many companies are hiring ‘Social Media’ interns, consultants, and analysts to develop Facebook fan pages and to build a Facebook presence.

In short – Facebook is becoming a culturally accepted form of narcissism, a means to broadcast thoughts and ideas to a large audience, rather than one person connecting directly to another for the mere sake of connecting with someone.

Facebook wants to make a universal ‘like’ button so you can advertise what you like to all your friends. Already, your Facebook friends can give your interests and likes to external applications and companies. Essentially, it is creating an environment where your digital presence – interests, likes, friends, and relationship status – is quantitatively you, a set of raw data for advertisers to peruse and take advantage of.

Am I being too cynical about this? In theory, it’s a tool for your friends to find all of this out about you too.

But really, anyone who’s my friend should already know that my favorite movie is… (go ahead, guess)

*checks Facebook*

Die Hard.

-ben

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Andrew Gross permalink
    October 22, 2010 9:30 am

    *thumbs up* Andrew Gross likes this.

    In all seriousness, I agree with your sentiments above.

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