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I Refuse to Not Be Apprehensive About the As-Yet Unmade Changes to Facebook

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Wildly Exaggerated: I Refuse to Not Be Apprehensive About the As-Yet Unmade Changes to Facebook

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Refuse to Not Be Apprehensive About the As-Yet Unmade Changes to Facebook

I know what you're thinking: "Another social media post?!?!" Well, YES, in fact. It is another social media post. Thanks for asking!

Part the First: I am Allowed to be Displeased

When f8 happened in late September, all the super hip in-the-knowsters popped up on Facebook, Twitter, G+...everywhere saying the same thing: "Uh-oh! They're making changes to Facebook! All the whiny ignoramii are going to complain! It's a FREE service! You don't get to complain about a FREE service!"

Pardon my French, but you're talking out your organic gluten-free naturally-sweetened with agave bean sprout cookie hole, you accursed hipster! Put on your argument-parsing skinnyjeans, cuz this just got real.

Point #1: Facebook makes changes/people complain.
Well, quite. People don't like change. It's just a fact. How would you feel if Bon Iver announced they were taking Britney Spears on as lead singer and going in a "new direction"? Pret-ty unhappy, I should guess. Still, congratulations on making a massively unoriginal observation about one of the most basic aspects of human nature.

Point #2: You can't complain about a free service.
Really? Because WELCOME TO AMERICA. I can complain about whatever the I want, and you can't stop me! Since when can we not complain about anything we didn't pay for? Have you ever heard of PBS? The selection of books at the local library? Or "the weather"? We're professional complainers and we're not about to stop now. More to the point, though, we do pay for Facebook with our personal data. And that is why we are allowed to raise holy hell about "real-time apps".

Part the Second: Go Ahead, Tell Me EVERYTHING.

Since I started blogging, I've come to realize that my personal interest in maintaining a modicum of privacy makes me unusual, at least among bloggers. I try to write things that are funny and true (insofar as my opinion is true-ly my opinion), but I'm never going to use this space to tell you allllllll about my job, or my personal relationships, or my bodily functions. And yet I have found that other (often more successful) bloggers make regular post-fodder of the sordid details of their sex lives, the minute-by-minute report of their run on a treadmill(!), or the "inside story" of what went on at the widget factory today. But even those people could easily be lying through their teeth. The woman who blogs anonymously about her filthy dirty sex with a string of rich, gorgeous men may very well be a fat man in his mother's basement. That treadmill run may never have taken place! And NOBODY KNOWS WHAT A WIDGET IS*!

*As it happens, this statement is not true after all

But that's the beauty of the internet - you can control your own brand! Put forth the image you want to portray! As long as you aren't doing so in a private chatroom with an underage correspondent, no harm no foul. But Facebook is about to DESTROY IT.

Let's say your Facebook profile currently looks like this:

Billy Bob McLaughlin
Interested in:
Music, Movies, Reading, Rock Climbing, Gaming, Car Repair
Favorite Books:
The Bible, Anything by Stephen King, Catch-22, Watership Down, Bridges of Madison County
Favorite Movies:
The Help, Forrest Gump, Das Boot, Rudy, Die Hard, Transformers
Favorite Music:
Radiohead, Bon Iver, The Shins, Coldplay, Kings of Convenience, James Taylor
Inspired By:
Jesus, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama

C'mon, that's a pretty well-tailored profile. It's undersood that this is not a comprehensive list of EVERY little bit of entertainment you've ever consumed and/or enjoyed, but you've been allowed to curate it so that it reflects a certain image of you. And there's nothing wrong with that! This profile doesn't tell me everything there is to know about you, but it tells me that you're culturally literate, have a variety of interests, and are basically a normal person.

But with the new breed of "real-time apps", these days are gone. Now you won't just tell us what you want us to think you like; we're going to be privy to EXACTLY what you choose to do with your time, all the time. Like so:

Billy Bob McLaughlin
Interested in:
Netflix, 1:15pm:
Billy Bob just watched 5 minutes of "Ho-Down in Hooter Hollow"

Kindle, 1:20pm:
Billy Bob is reading Vehicle Maintenance for Dummies

Kindle, 1:25pm:
Billy Bob just highlighted the following passage in Vehicle Maintenance for Dummies: "You have to manually retract the caliper piston" and added the following notation: "?!?!?!?"

Spotify, 2:00pm:
Billy Bob is listening to "You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)"

Amazon, 2:05pm:
Billy Bob has just purchased 2 tubes of NARS lipstick and a blonde wig

Netflix, 2:30pm:
Billy Bob just watched the same 5 minutes of "Ho-Down in Hooter Hollow"

Kindle, 2:35pm:
Billy Bob just downloaded a sample chapter of "How to Tell if You're Addicted to Porn"

Netflix, 2:37pm:
Billy Bob just watched 5 minutes of "Ho-Down in Hooter Hollow"

Foursquare, 3:15pm:
Billy Bob arrived for his 3:30pm appointment at North Fulton Hemorrhoid Specialists and unlocked a $5 coupon for his next Egregious Hemorrhoid Treatment!

Wells Fargo, 3:57pm:
Billy Bob has just overdrawn his checking account while attempting to pay a $450 charge at North Fulton Hemorrhoid Specialists :(, 4:06pm:
Billy Bob used Amazon's new medical subscription service to arrange monthly delivery of a case of Preparation-H direct to his door!

Netflix, 4:15pm:
Billy Bob just watched 5 minutes of "Ho-Down in Hooter Hollow". AGAIN.

You take my point. There's nothing wrong with sharing as long as it's optional; linking other sites/apps to Facebook (by doing something as seemingly innocuous as clicking "Use Facebook to log in!") and letting them automatically broadcast my life from that moment forward is...not OK.

And lastly, a note to everyone who will inevitably say that Billy Bob should simply stop doing things he doesn't want other people to know about, I say this: If the choice is "stop watching porn" or "stop using Facebook", which option do you think will be most popular? Exactly.

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