Today I am Going to Fly

Some men are born posthumously. ~Nietzsche

Facebook Feed Follies

Posted by penuruloki on September 7, 2006

So it turns out there’s a big uproar about the new feed on Facebook. I even got invited to join some anti-feed group.

The whole thing is just silly. I’m pro-feed for the exact reason most people seem to hate it: you don’t have to hunt and peck through the site anymore just to figure out what’s changed in your friends’ lives. I mean, if you didn’t want something to be made “public,” then you wouldn’t post it. Why does it matter if the changes are summarized? Would you rather picture some creepy guy poring over every detail of your profile every day taking notes to find any changes? This isn’t a tool for the stalker (they don’t need it), it’s a tool for the people who like to casually keep up with friends they don’t get to see that much, what with real life happening and all.

And there’s a reason I put scare quotes around the word “public.” Your feed info is only included in your friends’ feeds. If you’re adding stalkers to your friends list, the problem isn’t with the feed. People need to make smarter choices.

Ultimately, what it comes down too is that people have come to see Facebooking as an activity. It’s a mix of barfly socializing, friend collecting (with competition for bulging friends lists) and an Easter egg hunt to find new information. The new feeds are designed more with an eye toward the site as a tool for staying connected with real friends. That means they’ve eliminated the Easter egg hunt, and made a liability out of those bulging friend lists filled with fake friends and people you barely know.

I think people are way too caught up with the novelty of these sites, as opposed to their use. It’s the great Internet fad playing out all over again with Web 2.0. The Internet is a tool, not just a toy. Expect it to do something with the material fed into it. It’s not just your little sandbox to play in by yourself. The Internet is _supposed_ to make information easier to find and organize, not just provide a time sink for bored college students trying to avoid homework. I think some of these people need to grow up a bit.


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