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Social Networking

Before the end of the year, I said, “Social networking is the fog we use to confuse our relationships and obscure our antisocial habits. Thoughts?” That was the entire post, so only click the link if you like the idea of my hit count increasing. I didn’t get much response. What I got was incredibly thoughtful. I just wish I had gotten more.

I’m not opposed to the existence of social networking. I was an early adopter of Facebook when it hit the University of Michigan. This had to be between my sophomore and junior years, if memory serves. Someone in the University of Michigan community on LiveJournal, a proto-social network itself, announced that The Facebook had finally hit Michigan and we could all sign up. Curiosity led to my account on the network, no matter how creepy it was at the time. Some may find the timeline feature disturbing, but there was a time when the site urged its users to post their class scheduled and share them – and there were no privacy controls.

But social networks are not in and of themselves problematic. They are essentially programs. They supply none of their own information, and they only occasionally pull information about you from other locations. Social networks are ultimately at the mercy of their users. Read the rest of this entry