Facebook – Good or bad for a free democracy?

FACEBOOK.COM

In my brief experience with Face book, I do have to say this. After being hit with a tomato, having a funny icon of Hillary tossed at me or graphiti written on my wall, I come away from the site knowing that between Facebook and Myspace, Facebook rocks. Myspace is a mess of code, no standard in any sense of the imagination (and it shows in almost every other site visit), its a mess. Facebook on the other hand has a nice, clean, bland standard, something like this site. While it can be cluttered with extras that you can add or delete a will, the overall theme remains clean and unscrambled with code and banners and flash and java.

When I read the other day that Facebook was opening its code up to developers and the creative element, I swallowed hard, my left eye[level-basic] twitched and I readied my battle gear. As a fervent critic against Myspace, I was ready to take arms up about Facebook – the chapter remains to be written.

http://geekandpoke.typepad.com/

My eldest son said, dad, everyone uses Facebook- it’s easier than email.   That appears to be true and it seems like everyone is embracing it. When e-mail came around, traditional letter writing took a hit and now that we have the social networking behemoths like Facebook, will traditional communications take a hit as well? I believe that we will see a change in the e-mail process as well as traditional telephone calls. I predict that everyone will be able to communicate via video using your Facebook account either a computer or handheld device at any time.

This will revolutionize communications and wow that is wonderful, I still have reservations about mapping our minds on social networking sites.  People must step back and ask themselves, why are they given us this great thing for free?

In my personal opinion, there is no greater credit report being built then the mapping of your minds on a social networking site like Facebook. MySpace has already mapped many of people’s seedy sides and Facebook is collecting the rest. And then with the data collection monsters like Google, there is going to be a very unique report on every individual in this world, accessible by anybody with money.

Growing up in church, one of the biggest and most frightening aspects to the churchgoing community, was a prediction that we would be faced with the mark of the beast. It was predicted that it would be a number 666, or something that would have to be attached to the body or the forehead for easy identification. And that was very fearful for many people growing up in the church community. There were sermons upon sermons educating the church community that they may be confronted with the decision to die first or take the mark. And the same people that were educated in such a manner are freely mapping their minds and committing their souls to entities that they don’t even know.

That may sound extreme to many of you, and I think that is funny. People could brand me as a conspiracy theorist or somebody who is overboard with the worry factor. But that is okay, I firmly believe that the mapping of every desire and every thought and every image in every activity that you do in your life will come back to haunt you! You may not see it directly, but it will affect your insurance rates in the future, you’re ability to get and keep a job, and even to get and keep a spouse. The information that you’re putting online now, will be accessed by those to make decisions for you in the future.

One of the comforts of growing up in this country was that we had the freedom to say, “the government can’t read our minds”.

They can now.

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MYSPACE – a fresh perspective **yAwN**

One part of two part focus on Myspace and Facebook!

Well I have tested both and have to say this, I canceled both accounts with very little reservations. Actually, I just lied. I had no reservations. Many family members had pending friend requests, were hitting me with Hillary or something entertaining. What happened to the days of sending a postcard, flowers or just stopping in for coffee or a beer? God, I am getting old…

 

Spending much of my day (and evenings) online, I doubt the social [level-basic]engineering “fun” of social networking sites will catch my fancy. Friendster, Friend finder, match.com (lol) simply are just not my bag. However, I will try to give an honest opinion of both here. Take it for what its worth.

 

MYSPACE.COM

 

Is this a place for kids under 18, absolutely not! I am going to go way out on a limb and probably offend the likes of Tom (whom I admire) who created Myspace, but this site is decadent, immoral and bordering on abuse when it comes to our children. To pitch this site as a kid-friendly, or teen, tween or young adult site borders on negligence. There, I said it. The mechanisms are simply NOT in place to protect children from the porn, the abusive and the pedophiles on Myspace.com. Prove me wrong.

 

I have not only discouraged my children, I have educated them about Myspace and then promptly blocked them using Myspace, utilizing strong, encrypted parental blocking software. So much for trust…

 

Not only are there wayward porn and problem areas, the Wild Wild West JavaScript and Flash that could tear holes in about anyone’s secure computer is begging to destroy one’s vulnerable computer. It’s just not an option for our family, we have learned to live without it.

 

  • One has to be careful posting photos or they become in the public domain – for all to see. There are countless pictures of parent’s children, gleefully posted on Myspace – much to my horror, I could not see a public display of my kids as, well, responsible.
  • Privacy feature still allows you to be found by strangers and the main photo is shown.
  • Minors are everywhere, shhh! They keep it a secret and MySpace does very little in the way of verification.
  • Having said that, sex offenders appear to be easier to find, if news shows are to be taken seriously.
  • Kids have actually killed themselves over cyber bulling on Myspace…

 

When I found out early on that my young son had created a Myspace page, I quickly immersed myself in the site, choking on the content and botched codes of templates. I hosed a computer, twice and while I can’t prove it, I am certain it was viral code.

 

The next day, I wrote Myspace telling them to cancel my son’s “minor” account. They sent me this lengthy, pre-formatted email about me taking a picture of a newspaper in front of my son’s Myspace page in order to cancel my account. LOFL. No. I think I went to their IP upline… It was canceled quickly.

 

Is it any wonder why Michael Barrett, the Fox Interactive Media (parent co. of Myspace) CRO called it quits after missing his projected revenues focus? Find a way to keep the community cohesive and that starts by limiting the rampage of the have all and be all that is currently Myspace.

 

Myspace Addiction

 

I can see where people can become addicted to the “Myspace phenomena”. Most people are introverts and by using a false shield of a computer, they can turn on and off the extrovert within without (for the most part) exposing themselves to ridicule. Excitement builds up with each chance to login and see who is interested, who is visiting or just who is online. Just the mere fact that a community exists is exciting for most people.

 

We are organizers and the ability to tout ones thoughts, desires and definitions of personalities online, who we are has a satisfying affect.

 

Am I better because I do not use Myspace? No. Are my children? Absolutely.

 

In fact, I have found another way to organize, express and become online – this blog. In one sense I criticize and in the other, I am guilty of my own criticisms.

 

Be careful online and enjoy.

 

Eyes wide open, I am

 

— Derek

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