Monday, November 19, 2007

Facebook Follies

The Internet has been pretty newsworthy lately. The Washington Post recently posted a bleak look at the blogosphere titled With Cruelty and Malice for All blaming the anonymity of the Internet for raising snarkiness to a new level.

"I don't know what it is about this particular moment in human history which lends itself to the sanction of miscellaneous and casual cruelty," says cyber-guru John Perry Barlow, vice chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Cyberspace, he says, "has a way of making us feel like other people are informational artifacts. If you cut data, it doesn't bleed. So you're at liberty to do anything you want to people who are not people but merely images."
Exemplifying this "liberty" is none other than celebrity blogger--or perhaps more accurately "celebrity defacer"--Perez Hilton who was recently profiled in Rolling Stone as The Queen of Mean. Snarky, snippy and snide gets a multi-page article in Rolling Stone. Sad, isn't it?

Bad behavior on the 'net is nothing new--when I started participated in online forums there was no shortage of trolls and flame wars. It still exists--cyberspace brings the freedom to create an entirely new persona. Which can give rise to predators, scam artists, identity thieves--and assholes. Sometimes this freedom brings tragic results--an in the case of a MySpace Hoax which ended with the suicide of a 13 year old girl.

Another social networking mishap ended less tragically--although I'm sure its victim (pictured at left) is suffering a case of excruciating embarrassment. However, when you post a picture of yourself doing some Halloween partying on your public Facebook profile after telling your boss that you can't come in to work because "[s]omething came up at home," you're just asking for trouble. I loved the boss' e-mail response--"cool wand."

Speaking of Facebook, my friend Stevie got me hooked into setting up a profile. I thought--why do I need to be on Facebook? I'm already on MySpace! But Facebook is like MySpace on crack. It's a combo of MySpace meets Craigslist meets Neopets. It has the potential to be a serious time suck. I can't quite get my mind wrapped around it yet. For example, some complete stranger POKED me! What is THAT about? I don't know but to me a "poke" seems kind of hostile. Maybe Facebook should change it to "nudge" or "tickle." Then again, if you did want to convey hostility, perhaps there should be options for "bitch-slap" or if you're really serious, "pistol whip."

Like I'm gonna poke someone...


  1. Thanks for the add!

  2. "It's a combo of MySpace meets Craigslist meets Neopets."


  3. Thanks for the request!

    And I found out today that Facebook has a Superpoke application where you can "bitch-slap" someone...