Monday, August 31, 2009

Leif in New York Times says: "Shut Your Facebook"

A friend of mine was recently quoted in the New York Times Magazine online. Leif Harmsen is a Toronto based artist and an old friend of mine. He's practically my family. We met nightclubbing back in the day...and I used to stay with him in New York City when he lived there. He also bought one of my paintings and it was stolen. I keep meaning to post about that stolen painting.

From New York Times

Leif Harmsen, once a Facebook user, now crusades against it. Having dismissed his mother’s snap judgment of the site (“Facebook is the devil”), Harmsen now passionately agrees. He says, not entirely in jest, that he considers it a repressive regime akin to North Korea, and sells T-shirts with the words “Shut Your Facebook.” What especially galls him is the commercialization and corporate regulation of personal and social life. As Facebook endeavors to be the Web’s headquarters — to compete with Google, in other words, and to make money from the information it gathers — it’s inevitable that some people would come to view it as Big Brother.

“The more dependent we allow ourselves to become to something like Facebook — and Facebook does everything in its power to make you more dependent — the more Facebook can and does abuse us,” Harmsen explained by indignant e-mail. “It is not ‘your’ Facebook profile. It is Facebook’s profile about you.”

I have a Facebook page because I have a couple friends who post pics there and it's the only easy way...miles away to keep in touch with them. But it's funny...I always feel that Facebook is so "preppy". I hardly ever check in there...sometimes finding messages or notices from weeks earlier. I had a unfortunate experience there a couple months ago...and it just soured me even more with Facebook. "Some ex-users seemed shaken, even heartbroken, by their breakups with Facebook." I've never really figured out the best way for me to use the site. We leave a few messages for our bookclub there...and I have good pals in England who use it a lot so it's good to see their pictures. But overall, checking e-mail, making blog posts and visiting blog friends seems to take up as much time as I can practically use. I check in about every two weeks and catch up on new photos. I have some friends who really love the site. Is Facebook the devil?

Speaking of nightclubs and bars...there used to be an adage..."if you meet in a bar, you break up in a bar". I wonder if now...a new phrase could be..."If you meet on the break up on the internet"?


Karen said...

Candy, as you know, I gave up on Facebook a number of months ago. The urge to constantly check in lasted only a few days and now I don't miss it at all. Like you, it was a great way to keep in touch with buddies overseas but I got so fed up with all the apps, unwanted invitations, and general lack of practical use that I didn't see the point of continuing with it. then of course there's the privacy issue but that's another story. I've got my blog, my flickr acct and my email so folks now how to reach me if they really want to. And, as you said, who's got the time for yet one more place to visit, log into and check up on?

As for the meet/breakup connection...I agree. I met someone online a few years ago and thats the same way he dumped me. Sometimes email sucks :)

tweetey30 said...

I had got rid of my facebook but was talked into going back because of Jeff's family wanting to get to know us better through me but I dont go in there unless I get an e-mail saying I have a comment left from such and such.. But anyway it could be the devil of us all. Jeff doesnt like it one bit and I dont use it and I dont care how to use it correctly. I miss * and Red dearly on blogland but they are happier on Facebook.

Bloggerboy said...

I'm so relieved to find out that I'm not the only person who never caught the Facebook bug. I was beginning to reproach myself for being so antisocial.

brassawe said...

I came to the same conclusion about Facebook as Leif did but via a somewhat different route. My primary concern seasoned with a couple other concerns was the privacy problem. And Candy, upon your next rare visit to Facebook, would you kindly check for me to confirm that my account is indeed closed? Thanks.

Candy Minx said...

Oh those Aps Captain Karen are enough to drive one crazy. I also find the conversation potential with a wider range in blogging. I just don't have time to check a bunch of different blog formats. For me Facebook is like tht Seinfeld episode "I have to see the baby". I am very glad to see potos...but sometimes I just simply forget about Facebook.

Tweetey, I sure miss the long thoughtful and chatty blogs of Red and * too. I do understand though that Fcebook offers a great way to keep in touch with folks in a hurry. Blogging is more of a activity for reverie. no this kind of blogging is way more fun and intimate than Facebook. You're not missing anything.

Steve, rest assured...not a sign or trail of dust of yours around Facebook. You've completely blown us away with your blogging so I'm glad you're off Facebook har!

Gardenia said...

Facebook is frou frou compared to serious blogging. It works well as a quickie bulletin board medium.

I usually ignore invitations to applications - I just don't have time, besides I could get hooked, like addicted, as with Farm Town, a semi functioning game which I am about to dump because I'd really rather spend time on other things. I haven't heard of any other sinister things going on - lack of privacy? Well, that's the internet!

The Devil? Perhaps because FB becomes a time thief. I've vowed to cut back for more substance and accomplishment of tangible things.
Have found a few nifty uses - the sharing of photos, and notifying folks of group meetings, and a light, touching base with "whatever happened to.....oh, there they are, so that's what they are doing now...."

Candy Minx said...

Same for me too Gardenia. Everything is what we make it too, right? I have to be careful with games too. I'ma total frat boy trapped inside my body. Stagg and I would like to have a game computer but on the other hand...we both know forget it...we'd be playing games all night. We already have a neighbour we call "Bombingforpeace"...and he is up all night swearing at his war games.


mister anchovy said...

You mean facebook is still around?

Candy Minx said...

Well, Mister Anchovy...good question. it's funny all the old people worried about Facebook. Facebook was "preppy" because it started out for collge kids, who have lots of find each other meet for study or for parties. It's quite interesting how it has been co-opted by so many other "types" of groups from offices, to bands, to books. I guess the thing is, every format has an appeal or attraction to soem people. Facebook is just a different page set up for blogging. It's not that mysterious. It's like some people prefer t-shrts some people prefer button ups.

But I think it's cool Leif made such a funny t-shirt and got quoted in a big venue like NYTs blog.

Leif Hamrsen said...

Does nobody realize that you can share photos via your OWN email or website such that you are not beholden or subject to Facebook? I would never sign up with anything just to see someone's photos, they can bloody well email them to me or post them somewhere sensible instead, like their own website. There's nothing we can do on Facebook that we can't do better without. Some things you have to do yourself, like vote, own a bank account, or socialize. You don't want anybody or anything doing any of those things "for" you. You either understand issues of control and ownership, or you will be abused. Facebook and the like can only cheapen you.

Ms. Minx, can you easily export all your blogs and these comments such that you have your own backup copy on your own server? Or will you find one day that they are gone, censored, or held hostage? Or perhaps you will only get a warning, causing them to manipulate you to censor or otherwise misrepresent yourself to their liking. You'd do well to own and use it instead of Blogspot that you do not own.