Getting the creepy out of Facebook

Facebook ModelThis was supposed to be a long and intense post, blending many different discussions that I’ve had over the past week, but I don’t have time and since I just got my new WordPress site, I need to write! (I’ll get the rest of it up some other time).

Here is the Jist of it:

I have spoken to so many people who tell me that “Facebook is creepy”. One of the biggest taboos here is to say “oh, I saw it on your mini-feed”. People get all weirded out as if they didn’t know that one of the key reasons of Facebook’s success is the fact that it is so good at distributing your information to those who know you.
Jocelyn and Ciara... Ballas
Jocelyn and Ciara (my resident Facebook experts) were lamenting that fact with me and we came up with the idea that maybe the problem is just the language that has evolved around Facebook. We put information on Facebook for people to see. We have complete control over who can see that information. It’s like creating a poster about yourself. It isn’t creepy looking at someone’s poster. Jocelyn and Ciara came up with some alternative names. They suggested something like “exploring” or “learning”. I think of it as “researching your personal social network”. Someone reading your profile is a good thing… it helps them to know you better. Someone reading your wall-to-wall with someone else is also a good thing. It’s flattering. Someone cares enough to read about you. If there is something that you don’t want people to read about you… you shouldn’t publish it and if you have to tell somebody something private… that’s what private messages are for.

One thought on “Getting the creepy out of Facebook

  1. I think part of it has to do with being tech savvy. I think people are nervous about the fact that other people can find out information about them, that they haven’t explicitly told that person. As tech savvy people, we know what it means when we flip a switch, join a network, or post something publicly. For those who aren’t, they may be seeing computers as a tool of people who want to control them, find out incriminating information about them, or use that information to otherwise threaten and manipulate either them or their social networks.

    That said, it could also be a social maturity thing. The thing is, is that that sort of thing happens all the time in real life *anyway* – it’s not too different from meet someone who knew an ex-bf/gf/bff of yours, isn’t it? Reputation was/is never 100% under an individual’s control. Adding tech to the mix, I think, is what creeps people out the most – because they don’t see it as something they have fine-grain control over.

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