“Friedrich Nietzsche established the “declaring things dead” form, when—after trying about 400 other aphorisms in The Gay Science—he struck gold with “God is dead” in 1882. Fifty percent hyperbole, 50 percent trolling. Well played, Nietzsche.”
“In our phone survey, we asked SNS users a variety of questions about their close friends on and offline, the kind of support they received from their friends, the level of diversity of their social circles, and their civic and political activity. We matched the answers to those survey questions to data in these users’ Facebook logs and then analyzed the relationship between certain activities on Facebook and the social lives of these users. One key finding is that Facebook users who received more friend requests and those that accepted more of those friend requests tended to report that they received more social support/assistance from friends (on and offline). There was also a weak, but positive relationship between receiving and approving friendship requests, as well as posting status updates, and higher levels of emotional support, such as help with a personal problem.”
A Sorrow Beyond Dreams
Imagine arriving home to find a package on your doorstep. Is it a surprise gift? Chocolates or something similar? Instead, you find a wad of documents, covered in single-spaced small type. As the thrill of surprise rapidly disappears, you realize that these pages are all about you. More particularly, all about your life as it exists on Facebook. Every friend you’ve made—and every friend you’ve deleted—is there. So is every event you’ve been invited to and invitations you’ve accepted. There are the log-in details of the many locations where you’ve accessed your Facebook account, as well as a list of who you’ve “poked” and everyone who’s ever poked you. All this information is covered in the first 50 pages. This is not some random, futuristic scenario. Sadly, it is a present-day reality.
The United Kingdom is one of the first countries to introduce a law enabling social media-users to access their historical data captured by sites like Facebook. All information is required to be supplied to the user on a CD within 40 days. Needless to say, within hours of the law being passed, Facebook was inundated with thousands of requests. It is hard to see how they will be able to comply with the “40 days” requirement.”
“It seems that my tribute to Edward Said on the anniversary of his death has turned away from tribute and towards analysis. That’s exactly my intention. For, while it is hardly my right to tell anyone the proper way to mourn, I would maintain, with what I hope is a touch of Saidian intemperance, that there are in fact ways of missing Edward Said that miss his point. One such way would be to offer up sentimental remembrances of the man while allowing his work to be forgotten. This is always a danger with intellectual and political figures whose careers, and lives, are interrupted by early deaths, leaving us with the sense that they have been stopped mid-sentence. All too easily, they are transformed from intellectual and political interlocutors into statues: Saint Fanon, Saint Foucault, Saint Malcolm, Saint Martin. We need to resist simply offering pieties upon the altar of Saint Edward and then proceeding as though the difficult questions raised by his work no longer exist.”
The first time I laid eyes on the forthcoming Facebook Timeline feature, I immediately thought of Gawker. And then of TV. And then of how Gawker was trying to become TV and how apparently now Facebook was, too. I think going mass, and — better — becoming a mass of infinitely individualized niches is probably good business, but I don’t enjoy it. That’s about the time I start looking for the door. I might just be an early-product-life-cycle consumer, if there is such a thing. (In the early days of alt rock, I think we used to call these people pretentious assholes.)
Why might that be? Where do they lose me? I think part of it might be that what I’m really interested in is writing. I say that in the lowest-brow way possible. I like snarky writing. I like informal writing. I like long writing. I like short writing. I really don’t care, but my expertise — and thus my fandom — lies in the written word. And there’s a point in the life of every website where it makes business sense to go beyond writing, to other, more expensive, supposedly more compelling media. This is the idea behind enhanced ebooks — that books really contain platform agnostic stories that can be elaborated in a dizzying variety of other media”
Dave Winer wrote a timely piece this morning about how Facebook is scaring him since the new API allows applications to post status items to your Facebook timeline without a users intervention. It is an extension of Facebook Instant and they call it frictionless sharing. The privacy concern here is that because you no longer have to explicitly opt-in to share an item, you may accidentally share a page or an event that you did not intend others to see.
The advice is to log out of Facebook. But logging out of Facebook only de-authorizes your browser from the web application, a number of cookies (including your account number) are still sent along to all requests to facebook.com. Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit. The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook interactions.”