Friday, May 15, 2009

Why Facebook?/Dalai Lama/Lilliputians/

(P1) Philosophical

Help! Tell Me Why I Need Facebook!

There was a brief period in time when I belonged to the Facebook phenomenon. There were a few areas of value to me. I could look at photos posted by family and friends. I even found a few high school and college friends. Beyond that, Facebook, to me at least felt like one big redundant nuisance. Now, I'm told regularly that I need Facebook, that I'm out of touch. But I just don't understand. Why do I need Facebook when email is so very efficient? I realize that, to some extent, this is a generational thing. That many folks younger than 30 were practically "born" to My Space and Facebook and seldom check their email. Why? What's so wrong with email? What's so difficult about email? Why do I need to resume something which was fraught with so many cutesy little applications, privacy-denying walls, pokes and prods, iconic "gifts" and a mass of other confusing routes for sending websites, links, photos, and anything else I can send by email. What of privacy? What about the apparently facistic founder of FB who will keep anything you've given him and keep it forever, in spite of your telling him you want out?

I found these comforting passages from a student at St. Ambrose University in Iowa named Arielle Wilson ( in The Buzz)

...When I break the news to people that I do not have a Facebook account, many appear dumbfounded
. 'How can you not have Facebook?" they ask with confused looks on their faces. Until I hear a convincing argument as to why I should have Facebook, I plan to remain one of the two people on the planet (Ed: "three") without it. I would rather not damage my future career because of things that could be found on a Facebook account...Since I am stuck in the dark ages, I usually rely on e-mail...The biggest thing that worries me about Facebook is a lack of privacy...I don't want to sound anti-Facebook. It is a great way to stay in touch with high school classmates and friends that are far away. For the people that use it correctly, Facebook is a great resource to meet new people and join new and unusual groups. But after hearing stories of how Facebook accounts can be hacked by thieves and lead to identity theft, I think I will stick to e-mail.

I'll simply add my "Amen," and ask you for your comments. Do I need Facebook? Why? And I'm open-minded, so, if you convince me, I will rejoin, but for now it will be a hard sell.

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(P2) Political

Dalai Lama Sightings

The Dalai Lama, in a ringing denunciation, declared April 24th that the ailing global economy is the result of "too much greed, and lies and hypocrisy."

"These are some of the factors behind the global crisis," he said at a news conference at UC Santa Barbara. "Those people who feel that money is the most important thing in life, when economic crisis hits, learn that it is only one way to be happy. There is also family, friends and peace of mind."

"Therefore, this crisis is good," he added with a laugh, "because it reminds people who only want to see money grow and grow that there are limitations."

I also heard the Dalai Lama at a visit to a soup kitchen where he said wonderfully, "You know, I'm homeless too!"

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(P2) Poetical

Two From the Lilliput Review

Broken On The Wing

A bluebird flies one cage
to claim another

I punch out then
feather home to drink

it's a migratory curse
hollowed in the bones

to bend your neck & peck
before you sing.

-Bart Solarcyzk-

another friend has slipped
into the long and crowded
history of us -
the fish market's
thousands of open eyes

- George Swede -

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Anonymous said...

Karl: "four"

paulagraph said...

No you don't need it. I have a Facebook and a My Space page but I've lost interest in them. I too find email much more efficient. One group that I do love, however, is Goodreads (very addicting). And Ed, you're behind the times. I believe it's Twitter now. Facebook is way too slow.

Chiara said...

Why is facebook so worth writing about as something that isn't worth participating in?


centa theresa said...

Hi Ed,

I got a facebook account then "lost it" when it changed format recently. At that point I had a whopping total of 10 fb friends, 2 of which were my kids. My son, on the other hand, boasts 400 and climbing, same with my daughter. Corey insists he knows all of them! I'm certain I haven't had that many friends in this lifetime. Well, some of us are more social. I decided to create another page, since I didn't have a lot to lose and hadn't yet figured out how it worked. I'm still trying to get the friends back that I had on the other page, because they were actual friends. A short time after creating the new account, I signed up for a workshop through a pottery organization, and low and behold, I now have perfect strangers knocking on my virtual door asking to be friend confirmed. Apparently, the administrator directed members of this organization to my page, though I forgot to ask her why, maybe just a tad flattered. I decided to "let them all in" via a group I created called, get this, "clay friends"! Now, I have around 30 fb friends, 28 of whom are complete strangers, the remaining 2, my kids. Generally speaking, though, I have not found much use in it, banal bits of conversation, more flotsam on my aging brain than I can afford. An example: an artist whose link led me to photos of her work, I thought, how cool; a cool way to connect with other artists, and in other countries! I commented on one of her photos, and next thing I know, all subsequent comments to that photo from anyone! appears on my page! traveling like a virus!! It would be one thing if the comment was more than "wow, beautiful work, man"...but it's usually less wordy than even this example. I can see it's potential, though, as a marketing tool, especially for artists and maybe writers too, though there are so many online avenues these days. One idea behind social networking has to do with the "organic" development of a market for your product or service. When I am ready to market a new body of work, say ceramic vessels, I can market to my fb ceramic choir, and of course, visa versa. I've already bought a mug from a fella potter. Best, Centa

Anonymous said...

Note from Connie: Because I live many thousands of miles away from all my blood-relatives and most of my friends, I like to use Facebook posts to let anybody who's interested know what I'm up to. I can post a photo of my garden, my dinner plate, thumbnail of an article I've read and enjoyed, whatever, and thus try to stay in touch, trying to make a post once a week. I have fewer than 30 friends, some of whom know each other. When I send out a group email (non-FB) with news, I rarely get any response at all, I'm thinking it's seen as too anonymous. But on FB, I often get comments from pals who have taken the time to check my page. And it's a good way for me to get an idea of what my pals are doing, too. One pal is especially good about posting photos when she's traveling on vacation, I love that. I wish more of my friends were on FB, hey I've got a couple close friends who don't use a computer at all, it's telephone and snail mail only! I do find that a bit difficult, I think of them often but what a pain to stay in touch. Otherwise, I do still use email for messages I want to keep private, or when there's a lot to say. Photos of people I post on FB don't have last names, so I hope they don't embarrass anyone. Big hugs, Connie

Anonymous said...

I'm a big advocate of email as a form of communication. Facebook to me, is somewhat like twittering or blogging....Allowing me to let people know how or what I'm doing with a quick blurb on my page without having to intrude on someones inbox. If there interested, they can just visit my page (or their own). For direct communication, I find email is the way to go.
Touching base with your friends and sharing experiences/pictures/events using facebook is quick and easy.

As far as identity theft is concerned, if you publish personal information such as credit card or SSI on Facebook, then you deserve to have your identity stolen...People just need to know that just about everything you do or write on the internet can be 'viewed' by some manner.

Fred said...

too much to learn in facebook .. givem something quick and easy .. like email. ... something short and sweet like twitter .. and Im happy

Duncan said...

Chiara says it all.

Facebook users, maybe twitterers (twits?), too, sound like people looking for a real life.

elemdeevee said...

Lin Marie: "five."
FB is a big cyber beer kegger, w/ everybody standing around blahbbing. I find it superfacial, occassionaly amusing. I'd rather play my guitar, read tarot, dance, swim, walk, talk to a real person,cook a meal, go to the beach, paint, write, play my drums, eat popcorn, sing to my garden, or READ.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit puzzled by other comments, and please excuse me if I step on toes here.

Facebook is a tool, like a telephone or a tv, you're not required to use it and being self- righteous for not using it seems a bit much, frankly.

You like it, you don't like it, fine, it's your choice.

When the telephone was first made widely available many decades ago, a large part of the population refused to use it, and comments directed at its newly minted enthusiasts like "get a life" were probably tossed about. The tossers of those words preferred writing letters or talking in person, and I'm sure we can see how they'd think that. Whether they had more of a life by avoiding phones, we can't say.

Many of us were thrilled when we first learned to use faxes, probably some bewailed having to learn how to work it, but it had and still has its uses.

Plenty of folks when email came out said they wouldn't use it because it was unnatural and de-humanizing and they'd stick with the telephone. Some of those have changed their minds by now, some haven't. Fine, we all like to hear familiar voices on the phone and we understand how somebody could be put off by a computer, which is clearly more complicated than a telephone, and not everybody can afford a computer anyhow.

Of course FP presents challenges: it's awkward to deny somebody's request to be your FB friend. It's not readily clear how to lock off access to parts of your profile to keep various bits relatively private, but it can be done.

But geez, I don't think it's particularly useful to characterize FB participation as self-indulgent superficial yakking, usurping time during which you might otherwise be engaged in more lofty pursuits such as playing your guitar, reading tarot or walking on the beach in moonlight.

Please just set me out to pasture when I find a communication tool which is potentially useful and fun as "too much to learn."

Sorry, folks, I'm just callin 'em like I sees 'em.

Ed Coletti said...

Thank you for your intelligent comment about the Facebook interchange, "Anonymous." Please do comment frequently, but also let us know who you are or, in the text body, give us a reasonable facsimile. Thanks again.

Larry C. said...

Although not a fan, I've been too busy on Facebook, and have missed your great P3 postings. Facebook is good for events or poetry readings. But, alas, too many friends, colleagues and family use it to send messages.
Twitter? I went on four months ago to track Lance Armstrong. I never use it but not a week goes by without learning of 2 or 3 new Twitterers tracking me. Huh???

Jack Crimmins said...

Ed, hope you are well. I broke down a few days ago and signed up for facebook. not convinced it isn't an end of world conspiracy deal; however, actually kind of fun for a minute or two. and, thought of you, cuz of your question of whether/why to sign up. you can post photos/art. it would be a cool way for folks to check out a bunch of your paintings in one place; it would be cool for folks to be able to easily pull them up from your site. i've got a few of my books, broadsides up (with massive tech support from a friend!). Another way to publicize yr readings also. but mostly thought of your cool paintings.

anyhow, not sure how long it'll be interesting but i got tired of folks asking me to sign up over and over so i pulled trigger. jack

aoblack said...

Well, I have found FB to be social. I seem to piss people off face to face, so Face book puts a page between me and the others.

I have found school mates from high school. Count that 48 years we did not know any thing about any of us, but have connected up as a wide diaspora in France, Spain, Ar, Chicago, Or. Wy. we are getting re-acquainted, by using this tool.

We have had lively discourse about the cause of war, who starts wars, the Ireq, murder of Nada Soltani, all timely and multi threaded topics among the names of the face book email participants.

The advantage of FB over email is that making links to pages with topics we want to included as part of the conversation, posting photos, and looking at all of the reply in one place, make the FB tool better for groups than email.

I guess FB is really about the folks you hang with. Yes it has become a time taker. It took me 3 days to write a concise reply to a thread on war. I guess that was time consuming, but was a thoughtful topic.

FB is a tool, and for me has open up an intellectual discourse that reaches so much farther than the residents of the town houses next to mine that don't take the time to say hello, let alone take the time to have a 5 day discourse on the cause of war.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks for the tip of hat, Ed.

Don @ Lilliput ...