Saturday, October 06, 2007

more, but not merrier

Facebook and MySpace make me feel old. Not the technology, the concept. I am very confused about these personal sites. I do have a MySpace account, but only so I can comment on my brothers' MySpace blogs.

People who I absolutely do not know (at least I don't think I do) were requesting to be my "friend" on MySpace. Why? I would ask myself. They do not know anything about me as I have no personal info on my page. What is in it for them?

Today I read this WSJ piece by Christine Rosen about these sites. All my suspicions were confirmed.

Friendship in the online social-networking world also focuses a great deal on collecting, managing and ranking the people you know. Everything about MySpace, for example, is designed to encourage users to gather as many friends as possible, as if friendship is a form of stamp collecting. ...

There is something Orwellian about the management-speak on social networking sites: Denizens of MySpace make use of functions such as "Change my 'Top Friends,' " "View all of My Friends" and, for those times when our inner Stalins sense the need for a virtual purge, "Edit Friends." With a few mouse clicks one can elevate or downgrade (or entirely eliminate) a relationship. ...

... the use of the word "friend" on social-networking sites is clearly a dilution and a debasement of the term.

5 comments:

Auntie Lee said...

I so agree! That was the only reason I started a myspace and Facebook as well. Some people use the one and others use the other. If you want to keep in touch with everyone you have to be on two or three different services.

I also do not understand the idea of getting a bunch of so called 'friends' that you don't even know. I it impersonal. I think it trivializes the definition of the word 'friend' as well. I wonder if people really know what friendship is.

athena said...

i just got myslf a facebook account this week because a good friend invited me to. i have a bebo account too and i still have no idea how to use them. i must have the least amount of friends on my account, LOL. on my flickr account i have almost 100 but it's a little different from the other two because i'm really interested in looking at people's images.

Calandria said...

Auntie, here's how Christine Rosen defined friendship in the WSJ piece: "Although friendship is notoriously difficult to define, in its traditional sense it is a relationship that, broadly speaking, involves the sharing of interests, reciprocity, trust and the revelation of intimate details over time and within specific social (and cultural) contexts. Because friendship depends on mutual revelations that are concealed from the rest of the world, it can flourish only within the boundaries of privacy; the idea of public friendship is an oxymoron."

Athena, I think the flickr thing is completely different because you have a shared interest, passion in fact, with the other contacts. You make helpful comments on each other's images, etc.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Just the thought gives me the willies.

Auntie Lee said...

I don't believe Christine Rosen ever lived in another country. The definition of friendship here is completely different than in other places. I think the definition is a cultural one but even so I agree it is difficult to define. Maybe that is why these computer things are so popular, the definition is vague so easily accessible and cross cultural.