Friday, November 09, 2007

Are YOU lurking in my life?

There has been a lot said about facebook and it’s positive and negatives it has on society. There definitely are positives. Reuniting with lost friends, keeping in touch with family more, just plain socializing.

The negatives are sinister but not unavoidable. You could put to much information up, and therefore compromise your relationship, your job, or your chances at getting a business deal.

But all these things are products of activity.

One thing I haven’t heard much about is the passive side. With just a name and a picture you can gather friends into you list. Then sit back and watch their lives transpire before you.

The handy news feature at first let people know what you were doing on facebook, but now it seems with people frequenting facebook and using it as a primary communication device I have started to receive a plethora of information on people outside life as well.

Some is innocent enough. "I am going to this concert", or "I am feeling blue". Without facebook I likely would not know these things. No harm done? Not so fast.

The people you interact with in real life are merely representations of them your brain has created. This is why the age old question is oft asked. “Do people cease to exist as soon as they leave your field of experience?”

This question can still be asked, but now they are in your field of experience much more often.

I lurk in others life. I will admit it. I don’t lurk in an active creepy way. I just read a news feed that is provided to me throughout the day. But I am finding that I am forming a different view of who some of my friends and family are.

I start to see the ‘not with family’ side of family. And see the ‘with family’ side of friends. I start seeing idiotic dribble from the smart people. Or wise words from someone I may underestimate. I have discovered sexual preferences that I was not aware of. I have known about a fight between two people 1500 miles away that I have not spoken to or had any contact with (other than adding them) in 14 years.

What will people become to us if we continue reading this little innocent feed? Will they become closer images to their true self since we have more information? Or will we develop a raw and distorted view as they have no chance to explain their actions? I am not sure. But the only thing I can think. What do I look like to you on the other side of the looking glass called facebook.

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