The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

The wife has signed up to Facebook, and I have linked up to LinkedIn, and I am wondering if there's really any point to this all. Privacy concerns? Check out this piece by David Sexton of the Evening Standard

Facebook Turns the World into Big Brother


BEING a grown-up who wastes too much time already, I've never bothered to join any "social networking" websites.

It's hardly a tenable position any more, though. Facebook is exploding.

Already it has 27 million active users, with 100,000 being added every day.

Facebook is increasingly popular not just with 18-24 year olds, but also 24-35 year olds and even beyond. Half the staff of the BBC are said to have joined.

Over the past few weeks, it has entered the general consciousness, even of those who don't spend much time on the internet.

Facebook is so easy to use and makes connections for you so fast.

Lots of users boast several hundred Facebook "friends", who may, of course, scarcely be acquaintances.

Facebook can invite everybody in your email address book to become such a pal, and it's rude to refuse.

Some Facebook activities are pretty silly. You can "poke" people or "superpoke" them, so that instead of a plain poke, you can mirthfully bitchslap, dryhump, marry, divorce, sucker punch, chest bump, cock block, caress or grope them. It's a sniggering kid's dream, maybe a nervous flirter's, too.

But its real power is that it lets you surf trails of other people's "friends" so easily surf, or maybe snoop, or maybe stalk. For although Facebook offers various privacy settings, they seem little used: an amazingly large proportion of information personal profiles, lists of friends, pictures can be viewed, undetected, by anybody.

After all, if you've gone on Facebook to find friends, why hide? This way, you can find people you have lost touch with, meet new ones with whom you have interests or acquaintances in common, and

Nightmare in the socialise when worlds apart. But you can also easily find out grotesque amounts of information about people that you would never have learned in real life, or only after months of actual friendship.

I can, unseen, discover a colleague's favourite books, music, and films, the identities of all her Facebook friends, the interest groups she's joined, when she's been logging on, her holiday pictures ... Then I can move on to her friends ... and their friends ... Facebook is addictive and makes stalkers of all its users.

Some of the dangers are obvious.

Many employers already check up on employees or potential employees this way, for example.

The policing possibilities are alarming, too, as are the opportunities for commercial exploitation..

But the real shocker is what Facebook feels like for anybody who retains an antique sense of privacy about their life or the other people in their life.

For now most people people just want to make themselves known as much as possible. Facebook the whole world as one colossal Big Brother House..

(c) 2007 Evening Standard; London (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.


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