The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Facebook

by Steve Gajadhar

How many of you dig out your old high school yearbooks from time to time? Fess up. Even I’m guilty of this, if only to remind myself how silly my tinted glasses and long hair looked back in the early 90s. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. Nostalgia is also a potential moneymaker of gigantic proportions, a fact the dorkier (and smarter) looking dudes in our old yearbooks pounced on. Classmates, WAYN, HI5, there are dozens of social connection websites and purveyors of online nostalgia that my friends have been inviting me to over the years. I ignored these invites for the most part, but a few months back I peeped over my wife’s shoulder while she was surfing and asked her what the heck she was doing. That, folks, was my introduction to Facebook.com and now I’m an unwilling but active member.

Facebook can take as little or as much of your time as you want. You can spend hours hunting down friends and family, or like me, you can just log in from time to time to send a quick message to your buddies telling them when you’re coming home, or how stupid they look in that picture. It’s a great way to kill an hour at work (if your employer hasn’t already blocked the site). You could even start up a Facebook group for your office and coordinate happy hour. If your employer rags on you for it, just remind them about productivity levels before the communication revolution and tell them to relax a little bit, maybe check it out for themselves.

I just spent an hour facebooking (the internet is great for inventing new verbs) through all the new stuff since I last logged on. Now I’m all misty. Facebook grows like a virus or a successful pyramid scheme: leave it alone for a week or two and you come back to more friends, more pictures and more memories. Someone even posted a pic of me from elementary school. No wonder I had a hard time with girls back then….

The real beauty of Facebook is that it can be whatever you want it to be. You can use it as an anti-Proustian measurement of the passage of time (cause who really wants to read 40 pages about falling asleep when two words, or a picture will do), or you can use it for keeping in touch, looking at photos of the town you grew up in, the schools you attended, you could even use it to advertise à la Myspace. Unfortunately everything Facebook is not all for the good. Facebook can and will be used to do bad things. I’m sure there are people out there illegally sharing porn, movies and music, exam questions, college essays, etc. Undoubtedly there are Facebook stalkers trying to talk to kids. Any utility shared by millions of people will provide niches for nefarious characters, just like any city full of millions of people has alleys you don’t want to venture down. Like all things internet, use common sense: if you don’t want your house broken into, don’t advertise that you’re going to be away for 2 weeks.

But enough already, go ahead and check it out for yourself. Do a quick search for your friends. Don’t be surprised if most of them are on there and don’t blame me if you sign up. We could even start a “Friends of the CWC” group and get all our readers to sign up and share pics, stories, etc. Now I have to figure out a way to get Facebook to pay me for all this free advertising. And I also have to use Tamara’s handy copyright info to make sure I’m not going to get my balls sued off for using Facebook without written permission.

5 Comments:

Blogger Chumplet said...

I've been resisting the lure of Facebook for some time. My kids use it to keep in touch with their cousins. I expect it would be a good tool to keep in touch with old high school buddies, but I though Classmates.com was sufficient.

After a few years trying to track down classmates in my Spanish school, I wonder if I should look into Facebook.

Tue Sep 04, 09:20:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Thanks for this, Steve. I didn't know anything about Facebook. I did a little additional research and came across a video about the venture capitalists behind Facebook and their ties to the U.S Department of Defence and the CIA. The video notes that my joining Facebook you give them permission to use member content you post in any way they choose, including selling it. You can see it at:
http://www.albumoftheday.com/facebook/

Wed Sep 05, 02:11:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Ouch! I guess I should've looked into that...

Thanks, Tricia.

Wed Sep 05, 05:49:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Well, I haven't verified the info with additional references, so don't take my word for it, but it's worth thinking twice about providing a lot of personal info on Facebook.

Wed Sep 05, 08:13:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

This is a terrific post, Steve.

Sun Sep 09, 07:05:00 pm GMT-4  

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