I had a completely inactive account that I had set up a few months ago after being invited to be "friends" with a few old friends. For quite some time I've been waffling about becoming an active user of 'facebook' or getting out of it entirely. All along I've been inclined to delete the account but wondered what I'd be missing.
I have two completely separate sets of concerns.
The first thing I'm concerned about is privacy and security. I understand that, in Facebook, only people you designate as "friends" can see pictures or information about you. Nevertheless I do still have some concerns about security on the internet. After reading the posting at Betty's blog titled "Privacy and security online", and the article I found on Betty's blog concerning the Canadian Privacy Commissioner's fight over Facebook's use of its users' personal information, I feel a little relieved to be out of it.
My other concerns are more general ...
- Several of the message strings I read through were literally like reading the transcript of a phone call between friends. I was able to read a series of notes between two people trying to figure out when they were going to be able to get together for coffee! I'm inclined to think it would be easy to get bogged down in Facebook and waste too much time.
- I got far enough in my examination of Facebook to see lots of pictures people had posted of themselves and notes that they had posted about themselves and their comings and goings. The pictures were all of happy, smiling people - it was like one great big "life style" ad. A lot if it seemed awfully self-absorbed and contrived. I'm concerned about people feeling the need to present themselves in a particular light or "market" themselves. We have enough trouble dealing with the psychological damage resulting from marketing pressures already.
- I noticed that the number of "friends" was prominently displayed in each user's profile ... this explains why I keep hearing about people getting "friend invitations" from people they never really knew well. I guess you'd have to keep your "friend numbers" up! Nonsense!!
- I was very impressed with the Burlington Public Library search results. I had only heard of this kind of application of the social networking phenomenon. The Burlington Public Library page was full of very interesting and current information. I see that this would be a terrific way to get information out to the library's users. However, even searching 'Burlington Public Library' I was disappointed to come across the BPL pages' profile titled "BPL Pages Unite". There's too much freedom in anonymity maybe?!
In the final analysis I concluded that I should be able to get the information I'm interested in from other sources. I can see that networking groups could be a useful way for people with common interests to stay in touch however I still prefer more "personal" ways of staying in touch with my comparatively small number of friends!
Now that was long-winded! Looks like you pushed a button Library Lady.