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Green on Facebook – Part 1

May 14, 2011
Stage Sketch by Dana Aubrey

© Dana Aubrey, Stage Sketch

Unofficially I’ve taken part in a facebook boycott (between me, myself, and I) since it’s inception. My boycott was not because I thought I was above it, not by a long shot, but because intrinsically I was (and still am) highly leery of it. Any place that people flock to and seemly throw all their personal data at willy-nilly makes me a bit sketchy. No pun intended. However, three days ago I relinquished and created my first account. When you hold onto an assumption long enough the idea becomes your child. It has it’s own identity but you still think its yours. Time passes, the idea grows up and it’s ready to leave for University. You’re not sure if your ready to let it go but finally you realize you have no choice because it has already left the station.

For better or worse I have volunteered myself to get sucked into the collective vortex. It may be that I totally disappear into the obscurity from whence I sprang, which is not necessarily a bad thing, or I will find a new umbrella to shelter my existential questioning. Time will tell but fingers crossed curiosity does not kill this cat. I’m one for reflection and I can’t think of a better petri dish then facebook to analyze what will be looking back at me through all the smoke and mirrors.

First I dipped my toe in, then my whole foot, and now I’m up to my knees in the social networking pool. Still green on experience and only having grasped the tip of the iceberg, already I wonder if my assimilation will have been worth it. I try to tell myself this response is just resistance to change talking but it is also all the horror stories of bad things that have happened to people because they were willing cogs in the machine. What is it about the human species that we have to learn the same lessons over and over again despite the shear volume of 20/20 hindsight examples we have to tap in to? Have you ever seen The Simpsons episode when Bart keeps reaching for a block of cheese that has been hooked up to an electrical voltage? He knows he’ll get a shock when he touches it, yet he repeatedly goes for it anyway while painfully exclaiming “Ow, ow, ow, ow…” every time he does? Matt Groening hit the nail on the head. Hence onto the stage I jump while holding hands with my inner Bart Simpson.

The stats make my head spin regarding how many people are online. Such as: “Social Network Accounts Outnumber People On Earth”. The term ‘clone’ came to mind when I read that. We are not users, we are accounts. We are statistics, fair game and prime for the picking.  I’m not sure which came first the individual or the mob.  Big brother paranoia and marketing conspiracies aside so much good can, and has come from online cooperation, contribution, and collaboration. It is an organism that is relatively young in its life cycle. Positive messages get spread, 15 minutes of fame are found (for those seeking it) and revolutions of all kinds are getting started. It’s fascinating. We collectively voted by way of participation that this is how the majority of us prefer to communicate. It’s almost to the point that if you want to be heard you no longer have a choice.

I believe all value systems and assumptions are worth a second, third and forth look as the world rapidly changes around us. I pride myself on being an open minded individual and yet my boycott towards facebook and what I think it represents, sans personal experience, makes me ignorant. How can I be open minded, or on the flip side judgmental, about something that I have only been on the outside looking in of? The time has come to draw the curtain and challenge my prejudice.

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