The Facebook Love/Hate Dilemma

Facebook.

It’s everywhere.

When you surf the Internet, most articles now have a little button with the Facebook logo so you can “Facebook it” by posting it to your Facebook account. When you run into an old friend you haven’t seen in years while you’re at the store, be expecting a friend request within the next 24 hours, also known as friending. Haven’t seen an ex in ten years that used to stalk you? YOU’LL GET A FRIEND REQUEST FROM THEM, TOO. Seriously, Facebook is everywhere.

It’s the new Myspace.

Years ago, when Myspace and Facebook were first plucked from the creative minds of their inventors, Myspace was the way to go. Facebook was boring and so very uncool and no one was on it because its interface wasn’t exactly user friendly. Before Myspace morphed into the Fantasy World of Goth Tweens and Emos. Back in its day, Myspace was the place to be.

But then Facebook started to get cooler. More people joined. And now we have a social networking site that has morphed from nerdery to all-the-cool-kids-have-it, becoming an entity in and of itself. If you’re under 30 and don’t have Facebook, you’re totally not hip.

I halfway expect Facebook to start breathing one day.

Because now, we have an evil empire that stalks its victims from ACROSS THE CYBER ABYSS. I find myself constantly looking over my shoulder, thinking Facebook is watching me and is on the verge of updating my status to say something horrifically embarrassing, like “Jen just farted in public” or something else equally mortifying without my consent.

Facebook alerts everyone about everything else I am doing. All photo comments are documented and blasted across the web. So are wall-posts, what groups I join, who I friend, any infinitesimal change in my information… It’s like I’m a celebrity and my life is just so important that every single person on my friend’s list must constantly be up my ass at all times and know every little thing that I’m doing on Facebook.

Facebook is the easy way to stalk someone.

So, tell me, how is this possibly fun? Maybe I’m just getting old, but I don’t give a crap who just bought a potato in Farmville or who needs a machine gun in Mafia Wars. I don’t care who friended who, and what friend X said on friend Y’s wall. And seriously, Facebook, why did you pop my husband’s picture onto my sidebar, urging me to “reconnect” with him? Or why I should write on someone’s wall that I haven’t talked to since high school? Or why, as it says in fine print, my photos are actually the property of Facebook and can be used in targeted advertising on my friends’ pages? Unless you figured out how to dig around in the account settings to turn this “feature” off, which many people don’t know to do.

And what’s up with the faux private profile and private picture albums? Because apparently, just because you have your profile on private does not mean that you are preventing access to your profile from people you don’t know. If one of your friends comments on a picture, for instance, it is documented on their wall and on the sidebar of all their friends’ home pages. Those other people can then click on the photo that was commented on and can then scroll around ALL your photos in that album. Even if you made sure to check the little box that specifically states everything is viewable by your friends only, not friends of friends.

Am I the only one who’s not ok with Facebook getting so personal? Does it mean that I am uncool because I find it a little disconcerting that everyone is kept informed of every single breath I take? That a private profile and private pictures are still accessible to friends of friends, regardless of the privacy settings you chose?

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love that I stay connected with friends- I hate the privacy that I have to relinquish in order to do that.

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8 Comments

  1. I am with you! That’s why I turned off the permission to allow people to “tag” me on a picture. I have also set my profile to allow no sharing with FOAF but only MY friends. Not that I am so interesting I have a stalker, it’s just that it’s nobody’s business… I know this is ironic coming from someone who shares this much about herself on her blog and on Twitter… I may need to go through therapies to explain HOW THAT MAKES SENSE. btw, thanks for explaining MySpace vis-a-vis Facebook. You know: Facebook has been totally invaded by suburban moms… I wonder when the “cool” kids will move out en masse. 😉
    .-= submom´s last blog ..Hello, December! =-.

    • Yeah, my photo albums are all set to my friends only as well… yet their friends (who are not my friends) can see all my pictures if one of my friends comments on them. It’s vexing me to death! Not that I have any embarrassing pictures, but I think I should be able to choose who sees them and who doesn’t. Like with blogging, I choose all the info/pictures to make public. I know the whole world can see everything I write, and I’m fine with that. Facebook just has so many glitches!

  2. Great post. I became enamoured with Facebook when I first discovered it. I constant updated my status, posted plenty of pics, played Farmtown. But now? It’s like I outgrew it. Sure it’s great to stay in touch (in this limited way) with so many of my friends – but the day to day minutiae? I’m so over that.

    • Thank you! I used to be like that on Facebook as well… I used to love it and was on it ALL the time, updating everything… but like you, I kinda outgrew it. Now I use it pretty much just to stay in contact with my friends.

  3. I love facebook.I am still addicted to it,i have met up and reconnected with people i knew from school,yet never got close to.Now i meet them for dinners,nights out at clubs,go to their kids birthday parties,and them to mine. And facebook has been working on tighter privacy features that you can change at any time,but i don’t think they have went into effect yet.Read the link to the letter atop the status update,it can tell you more about it.I love the games,especially the ones that work on memory or brain enhancement.Being a mom takes so much outta me,i feel like facebook has put some of that missing part back in place.

    • Facebook must have read my blog!! That letter was sent out on Tuesday- after I published this entry. (Yeah right, I totally know the owner’s of Facebook aren’t interested in this little blog.) Anyway, after reading your comment, I found and read that message and am happy that they are addressing the privacy issues. That was what really irritated me… anyone can see my photos even though I have my profile on private (viewable only by friends) and my albums set to Friends Only.

  4. Well, you know my story about my Facebook stalker. Heck, that’s why I didn’t want to start a F’book page–the awkwardness surrounding the whole “friend me!” “um…” thing.

    I have my privacy setting set ultra high (like, my husband from across the room was all, “I’m not allowed to friend you!”), which is the only way I’d feel comfortable with it. I also am kind of creeped out by the privacy stuff, still, and am interested to see what these new changes mean…
    .-= Falling´s last blog ..Somebody Call the Waah-mbulance =-.

    • I’m very intersted to see what the new changes mean as well. I’ve had Facebook since it first came out… I think it was about 5 years ago or so. Back when it was just for college kids. Anyway, Facebook has always seemed to be rather lax on their privacy. Hence, Facebook Stalkers!!! CREEPY!!

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