Facebook is the path to Krypton

Will Richardson posted an interesting link today. The link tells us that Facebook is growing by 600,000 users a day and that a lot of those user are over 25. Many are over 55.

Thinking about how many people are jumping into social networking — which is, in a way, a substitute for real world networking — got me thinking about the planet Krypton, Superman’s homeworld.

If I’m remembering my lore correctly (and recent plot lines in the comic series may have changed this), Krypton was a barren and cold place whose inhabitants isolated themselves in their homes, eschewing physical contact with other people. Physical contact and even meeting in person was distasteful and only done when necessary. (See also E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops”)

Is Facebook a gateway to this? Will we become so distanced from our natural world, so lost in the virtual one that we forget our connection with the world around us and eventually let mad scientist/dictators destroy our planet, leaving only a single survivor rocketing toward safety on some distant, habitable world where he will grow up to become a champion for truth and justice?

I’m just saying it’s possible. That’s all.

Facebook = FAIL

Okay, so I couldn’t resist a FAIL joke today. Facebook is down, at least for most people. How do I know this if Facebook itself is down? Twitter, of course. The search feed for “Facebook” is blowing up this morning with panicked messages from people just arriving to work and finding Facebook will not be with them for part of the day. Best one of the past few moments:

mjkopa: concerned that Facebook is down – is this the end of Western Civilization as we know it?

Blogging is dead; long live blogging

The Economist put out a short article on Nov. 6, commenting on Jason Calacanis’ retirement from blogging. Calacanis founded Weblogs Inc., and the Economist compares his retirement from blogging to Michael Jordan leaving basketball. It is, in other words, a big deal. Continue reading

Dropping the election ball

Even though I feel like my local newspaper completely dropped the ball when it came to providing timely coverage throughout election night, I have to give my respect to the staff’s work here in Gallatin County, Montana. I used to be a reporter on their staff, so I know how frustrating late nights waiting for election returns can be, and the results in Gallatin County were indeed late. Continue reading

Old friends never die, nor do they fade away

Scott Brown at Wired examines the always-growing economy of friendship on social networking sites like Facebook, where digital permanence makes losing touch nearly impossible.

We squirrel away Friends the way our grandparents used to save nickels—obsessively, desperately, as if we’ll run out of them some day… Friends are the currency of the socially networked world; therefore, it follows that more equals better.

Losing touch with friends, letting those old junior high friendships die their quiet deaths, is “sweet and sad and though you’d rarely admit it, necessary.”

Free speech on Facebook

So after watching the vice presidential debate last Thursday, I decided in my light-hearted way to poke fun at Sarah Palin’s folksiness with a oh-so-clever status update on my Facebook page. The update was perfect, just the right collection of all her choice phrases from the debate — well, it was perfect enough to garner a laugh from my girlfriend, which isn’t easy to do.

Yet, by the next morning, I had somebody respond to my light-hearted fun-poking with heavy handed, admittedly conservative invective. And this came from one of my supposed Facebook friends — of course it did; that is how the site works after all. Continue reading

Social networking guilt

Facebook makes me feel guilty. It’s not because the popular social networking site takes bites out of my workday, and it has nothing to do with my self-initiated compulsion to post news items for my friends to ignore (while they chat back and forth, lamenting the end of Scrabulous as they knew it). No, my guilt comes solely from a little link in the right-hand column: People you may know.

Continue reading