[Air-l] Facebook protests

Nathaniel Poor natpoor at umich.edu
Thu Sep 7 14:02:46 PDT 2006

I like Sarah's last paragraph (below).

I am not really impressed with these protests at all, these are  
(mostly?) undergrads we are talking about. Yes, there are some  
awesome undergrads I have been lucky enough to have in my classes,  
but at MSU they riot in the streets over changes in beer policy (this  
was a few years ago). Just today I was walking behind some on campus  
(UM) and one was saying how he spent $100 at the bar but didn't  
remember that or how he hurt his hand in a fight with a wrestler in  
the bathroom.

I am left feeling there are far more important things in the world to  
focus on, and here we have a big dust-up over a social networking  
site or whatever you want to call it (I don't mean that in a negative  
way, I am acknowledging that there are different labels one might  
use). The reaction is interesting, but ultimately I find it rather  
pathetic. Yes, I know, identity politics. It's important to the  
undergrads. But overall it isn't important at all. Five years from  
now? Irrelevant.

That's not to say it shouldn't be of interest here, but the greater  
importance is lacking.

A few days ago there was a report I read about in the NYTimes and I  
forget the details (like who ran it) but they found that of people  
who believed there was a cover-up of some sort in 9/11, a larger  
percentage of people who got their news primarily from the Internet  
thought there was a cover-up (US gov) compared to those who primarily  
got their news from other sources. Not that the internet makes you  
stupid, but I think that is really interesting, and rather disturbing.


On Sep 7, 2006, at 4:40 PM, Sarah Brooke Robbins wrote:

> The whole Facebook discussion is absolutely fascinating. I love how  
> this
> list thinks!
> I was interviewed by our campus paper about it yesterday and among  
> many of
> the ideas already presented here I also expressed the importance of
> "personal brand" management that today's die-hard internet user  
> needs to
> become acclimated to. I think what we're seeing with the Facebook  
> backlash
> is more about a maturation of personal data management than a  
> problem with
> "stalkerish" behavior. Digital social networks are rather new in  
> the big
> picture and it takes time for communities to acclimate to any such  
> tool.
> Sometimes it takes a shift like this one to make users more  
> reflective and
> critical of their use and that's never a bad thing in my book.
> I also think it's truly fascinating that the protesters are using  
> Facebook
> itself as a tool to organize. There must be a sense of commitment  
> to the
> technology there that I haven't quite wrapped my brain around yet.
> It's also important to see this reactionary behavior in a bigger  
> sense.
> Unlike an offline protest that would actually require folks to get  
> out into
> the street and organize, participating in an online revolt is often a
> click,type,click level of participation. I could sign about a dozen  
> online
> petitions in ten minutes. How dedicated can I really be to the  
> cause if this
> is all the effort I have to put in to take part?
> Sarah "Intellagirl" Robbins
> Ball State University, Muncie IN
> On 9/7/06, 'Gail Taylor <gdtaylor at uiuc.edu> wrote:
>> I have a Facebook account. The feeds are being sent to others who are
>> designated as being a 'friend', as opposed to everyone who might  
>> be a member
>> of a larger user group (i.e., University of Illinois). Individual  
>> users
>> control this designation by choosing to accept or decline an  
>> invitation to
>> be someone's friend. What's interesting is that the people who  
>> seem to be
>> joining the protest groups are those who have a large number of  
>> friends
>> (200-plus), and also those who might have accepted invitations to  
>> be friends
>> when the other person was an acquaintance of sorts.
>> The number of friends one has is a status symbol for some students  
>> with
>> Facebook accounts. This information has come out in conversations  
>> with
>> undergrad students here on campus who have accounts. I get  
>> invitations to be
>> friends with others here at the university who do not know me, but  
>> have
>> heard about me from one of their friends, teachers, or other  
>> connections
>> here on campus. It also appears this practice is one that is feeding
>> feelings related to Facebook invading a person's privacy, as  
>> opposed to
>> reconizing this software has been enabling this process all along  
>> through
>> search and hyperlink functions.
>> /Gail
>> *****************************
>> Gail D. Taylor, M.Ed.
>> University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
>> Human Resource Education Ph.D. Student
>> Educational Psychology Teaching Assistant
>> "We can't just have mainstream behavior
>> on television in a free society. We have
>> to make sure we see the whole panorama
>> of human behavior." -- Jerry Springer
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> -- 
> Sarah "Intellagirl" Robbins
> http://www.intellagirl.com
> http://secondlife.intellagirl.com
> Yahoo: Intellagirl
> Skype: Intellagirl
> SecondLife: Intellagirl Tully
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Nathaniel Poor, Ph.D.
Professor, Retired

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