Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thursday Hubris, Part II

Facebook, popular website for collegiate social networking, rolled out a "News Feed" feature a while back. On Facebook, you can view profiles, events and the like, see who's dating who, and who's saying what to whom. Think of the feed as a "delta" for Facebook. That is, out of the profiles and events you yourself have access to, the news feed summarizes recent changes to inform you of who just said what to whom, who is breaking up with whom, et cetera.

This, oddly enough, has caused an "outrage" in the Facebook community. This feature does nothing more than summarize public knowledge, making available in a more convenient form. Who would protest something that would keep you from missing new photojournals, or the latest happenings with your friends? Well, wonder no longer. The news feed has awoken the phenomenally bad writing skills of thousands of students who probably shouldn't be in college:
This new facebook is waaaaaaaaaaay too stalkerish!!!!
We want to feel just a LITTLE bit of privacy, even if it is facebook.

theyre saying this is our generation's first revolution, pretty fuckin sweet
r facebook stopin us from invitin more people into this group now
its kind of funny becasue i heard about this group through the News Feed...
Even the opponents of the news feed acknowledge its usefulness. Through the avalanche of excruciatingly poorly written posts, the main criticism of the feed presents itself: it makes "stalking" someone too easy. The problem with this criticism is that it's the same Facebook, but with a new summary feature. Anyone who wants to stalk someone could, and still can. If you have a tendency to attract stalkers, you probably want to stay off of websites like Facebook. The whole site is an invasion of privacy to which you voluntary submit.

So, while it's not hard at all to stage a protest online (in fact, it's much easier thanks to the Facebook news feed), this protest has marginal hubris thanks to the speed at which it has grown. Still, being upset because of a "delta" feature is not too smart, so the Facebook news feed protest gets one hubris point, for being phenomenally ignorant.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Good point. But it doesn't mean I have to like it. And honestly, the news feed is slightly pointless. I don't really care to know if you commented on someone's photo last thursday *shrug*.

So, I still hate the news feed. Mostly because it annoys me. Maybe because I don't like change. And perhaps even because it does feel like my every move is now visible to the entire Facebook community, whereas before it felt like I had some sort of anonomity. Sorta. :)