Thursday, 28 June 2007
One day early this week, or maybe late last, I recieved an email telling me that one of my dearest friends wants me to be his friend, 'Huh?' I thought. This email was from Facebook and thankfully my son was looking over my shoulder - no privacy with kids around - and he told me what it meant and what to do. 'Click on the link... NO! that link... yes there...'
I clicked on the link: Now what?
Well 'what' turned out to be this: Several hours spent futtering about on the site checking it out, learning about it: exploring.
Facebook is a bit like a city: huge. There are millions of subscribers all doing slightly different things. You have your own page and this is like the face you present to the other residents of the city. You add different elements such as photographs, interests, educational details, or not. You can leave it as empty as you like, keep it as private as you wish. Some people are very bold and upfront loading their pages with masses of information, photographs and messages. They're like the people you see in a city wearing 'notice me' clothes and jewelry, maybe driving flash cars or talking loudly on thier mobile phones. Then there are the quieter ones you have to make an effort to get to know. They may only have one or two photographs and list just a handful of interests but you think 'Mmm... someone who also likes Captain Beefheart/felt-craft/green', so you say hello. Others mix only with people they already know or even keep entirely hidden from everyone. They are like the ones who never leave their houses.
It seems to work like this you browse the site checking out other people's pages and perhaps leaving a comment, a bit like talking to a stranger at the deli counter. You notice something about them, see what they are buying and then, perhaps, say something about it: 'Have you tried the unpasturised Yarg? It's great with those crackers and a bottle of Rioja.' You can bump into people you haven't seen for years and you can search them out too. You can also join clubs focussed on just about anything. I have joined only one, Friedrich Nietzsche, so far and it's great. The people who subscribe have actually read Nietzsche, some in great detail, and understand his thought. They have also read other philosophers so they relate and crossreference, it's like being in a university cafe whilst in the comfort of your own room. It may just save my dissertaion.