Thursday, January 08, 2009

facebook revisited: often

Like many people, I have found myself drawn more and more often to Facebook over break. Have free time? Check in and see what any of my extended friends are saying, doing, posting, etc. Late at night, I might troll through lists of friends' friends, finding people I grew up with or went to college with; next thing I know, I'm finding out what they're doing every day, or chatting with them. I keep up with my children, in various cities: what they do, what they say, what they say about me. One night my son and my sister were both on the chat at the same time and we agreed to go over to web-boggle (not part of FB) and play as a team.

I know enough about it to know that millions of people are doing this just like me, though my tech colleagues are less likely to be doing it, than just my everyday friends, other teachers, social people attracted to fb like moths to light. It's much different from the telephone or Christmas cards. It's too much information, in some cases like those of my students, who need to tell & show each other stuff, they don't really need to show me (they do, however, want to be my friend, and I enjoy this). So, there's a tension there when one has kinds of friends, and fb doesn't distinguish.

A couple of interesting stories highlight aspects of it that are interesting though I really have no idea what to make of it at this point. First, a colleague went in to change her "profile status" - wanted the world to know she was married in the personal description (which also, btw, gives your birthday, and a number of other juicy pieces of info.)...anyway she ended up announcing that she was married in the "status update" - thus setting herself up for considerable teasing from people who knew she already was. Second, a language program marketer confused personal space and professional space, and signed up on one side or the other of Proposition 8 (?) in California, thus taking sides on the issue of gay marriage; his/her program was then boycotted in an organized movement, to very bad effect.

I don't quite know what to make of these; on the one hand, I'm fairly cautious, don't join a lot of groups anyway, but have no need to set up separate accounts (another possibility, though fb doesn't approve) - for personal and professional. I'm spending the break carefully putting personal pictures, etc., on personal space (or SIUC mypages, which were intended for that purpose)...and it's important to me to delineate, not only because I do have personal opinions, sometimes, but also because I make personal mistakes, sometimes, go places as a person, or even do pop art, writing, or music as a person. I have nothing to hide in particular, I just feel like I could possibly have two profile pictures, only one with the tie.

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