So Facebook. It’s quite a phenomenon. When you think about it, it’s kind of scary. You’re not connecting with random folks because you like their band (ala Myspace) and you’re not really finding new friends. You’re connecting with people you already know (most of the time), and you’re putting yourself out there in a really, well, public way. I mean, if I update my status to say, “Liz is crying uncontrollably”, there is going to be some fallout from putting that out there. Luckily, it’s good fallout, in the form of “Are you OK?” and “What’s wrong?”, but it’s something that your coworkers, your family members, your friends, and people you haven’t spoken to or seen in years and years are going to see.
So I guess the main point here is the Status Update, not so much Facebook itself. You can use Facebook and NOT update your status (but what fun is that, really?) and it’s not as (some people might say “exhibitionist” but I shy away from that) public as users who use the Status Upate feature. Plus, you’ve got to admit that you learn more about people who use the feature than the people who don’t. First, you learn that they are willing to be that much more open about their life and daily activities, and second, it involves you in their life in a way that you wouldn’t normally be involved. It makes you an active participant in that person’s life, at least for that moment that they chose to update their status with something like “Joe is watching The Simpsons” or “Mary thinks it’s Miller Time”. Of course, you don’t want to be TOO involved with people’s lives. Here are some situations where I think that it would be best to NOT update your status:
1. Joe is poisoning his neighbor’s Pomeranian. With arsenic. Right now.
2. Mary is getting paid to take her clothes off.
3. Joe has explosive diarrhea.
4. Mary just ate an entire quart of Ben & Jerry’s and quickly regurgitated it.
5. Joe just emailed naked pictures of his ex-fiance to her parents.
6. Mary is going to fake symptoms to get pain medicine at a Patient First.
7. Joe is laundering money.
8. Mary is telling her children that Santa Claus died because they were bad.
9. Joe is shouting at his girlfriend while putting his fist through the wall.
10. Mary just slept with her sister’s husband.
So I think what we see here is a fine line between what is appropriate for public consumption and what is beyond the pale when it comes to privacy and propriety. Also, hopefully not everyone engages in illegal activity. But if they do, we sure don’t want to hear about it, do we, Folks?