[Air-l] Facebook and privacy

Kevin Guidry krguidry at gmail.com
Sun Sep 10 12:30:00 PDT 2006

On 9/9/06, danah boyd <aoir.z3z at danah.org> wrote:
> Why does everyone assume that Friends equals friends?

   At the risk of sounding trite: because they're the same word.
Those who created and maintain Facebook didn't pick that work out of
the air.  They may not have thought of all of the implications of
using established terminology in a different way in a different
context.  Or they may have simply decided that the advantages of using
established terminology outweighed the potential drawbacks.  In any
case, they certainly chose that word because of its meanings and
connotations and this confusion is the price you pay for overloading a
very common word with strong emotional meanings.

> The term "friend" in the context of social network sites is not the
> same as in everyday vernacular. And people know this.

   It appears to me that most of the confusion is experienced by those
who have little or no experience in the alternative contexts -
journalists, politicians, parents, etc.- in which the word is used.
And thus their confusion is completely understandable.

   I don't think that most of us are confusing these two concepts.
But the fact that these two concepts are represented by the same
symbol certainly does make it all (use, discussion, analysis,
meta-analysis, etc.) very...confusing.


More information about the Air-L mailing list