07 September 2006

Facebook News Feeds

To the general audience who does not participate in the facebook phenomenon, sorry, there is too much back story to fill you in. For everyone else, you are obviously aware of the new facebook feature and the uproar which surrounds it. Here is a sample I just pulled from my feed
XXXX YYYY is no longer in a relationship. 9:23 pm
WWWW ZZZZ just posted a picture to a group. Utah Conservatives. 9:16 pm
The majority of the complaints claim the feature has made facebook more stalker-esque. If fact dozens of new facebook groups have popped up overnight begging Mark Zuckerberg to remove the feature or at least allow users to disable it if they'd like. With the news feed it is now much easier to see what your "friends" are doing. The problem is that many of your "friends" are not really your friends. Some are casual acquantinces or casual acquantinces of your friends which may only be acquantices. It is generally considered bad manners to reject a friend request unless you really dislike or do not at all know the person -- "what, they are not good enough to be your friend."

In my opinion facebook's popularity is derived partly from people's voyeristic desire to see what others are upto, including people they know only through a picture and an "about me" section. The cost of digging through everyones profile and pictures to get the "goods" on that person were relatively high. Now all the information is summarized for you whenever you log in. This has drammatically changed the rules of the game. When friends can be anybody, you have to watch your back a little better. Judging from the backlash in the community, people will generally post less personal information and pictures. And, if Zuckerberg doesn't address the demands soon, some people may soon find themselves with fewer "friends." This is probably a good thing.

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