Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Is Facebook Evil?

"Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them."
About two weeks ago I received an invitation to join Facebook. I had heard a lot about it, mainly from sources in the USA. I have been on many online social networks beginning with Orkut, then Friendster, Myspace (still using it), and the ones like and Last FM that share interests and objects as well. Now I have joined Facebook and it is without doubt the most addictive of the lot. This is digital crack. I have found people I have not heard from for 17 years on Facebook, old friends are re-entering my life with amazing stories of what they have been doing during the last decade. Facebook beats reality TV by a long shot as those people who I re-connect with were once part of my own drama and now we have TWO DRAMAS to compare and contrast; my life and theirs. As well there is the groups aspects where news and information flows through channels of association (and therefore geographical location) rather than just subject interest. The backlash against such immersive narratives has to come soon, and it seems it has already started:

Richard Cullen of SurfControl, an internet filtering company, estimates the site may be costing Australian businesses $5 billion a year. "Our analysis shows that Facebook is the new, and costly, time-waster," he said.

I may send Dr Cullen a friend request.

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