Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reflection on Facebook articles and "Decline and Fall of the Private Life"

Summary: Articles one, two, and three all focus on the concept of an internet lacking in privacy, and the consequences of posting without discretion.

I feel more confident giving a more general response to all three blogs, because they all, basically, focus on the same thing. I had read the first article before, and even reading it now, I still find the idea of seeing some chubby-cheeked freshman prominently post his crazed rush onto the football field, a trip he carefully chronicled to make sure everyone knew he had been out there too, and then receive a visit from campus police three days later. After his academic hearing suspended from the university for a year, I could see him running out of the conference room screaming about the violation of all of his amendment rights and that the police really were. Really, that is a fucking fantastic image.
Granted, I’d be pretty pissed if that had happened to me. If CSU beat a team like Ohio State, I could easily see myself following the surging crowd onto the field. But even before this article came out, I knew the consequences of letting my mischief be documented by camera or videotape. The temptation to do so, though, would be incredibly difficult to avoid.
As presented in both articles #2 and #3, personal websites are ENTIRELY about image for those who frequently access them. As much as these websites are useful to building a cyber-network and expressing oneself, I really can’t imagine any other reason for people to spend time crafting their profile in a way so that they appear exactly the way they want to appear.
Facebook is the essential example: One’s profile picture can say a million words, so one must make sure it says every single word they want others to hear. Look at the photos of people prominently displayed with his’/her’s significant other, fully embracing each other for the photo to prove without a shadow of a doubt that they are a real couple. For me, it just seems to scream “LOOK HERE I AM WITH ANOTHER WHOM IM BANGING EVERY OTHER NIGHT, I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND, IM NOT WORTHLESS AFTER ALL.”
Then there are the profile pictures that you can tell have had quite a lot of careful planning. Most of the time, such photos have been digitally altered, with overlapping color layers or use of sepia coloring or special shading. For me, people spend such time on photos so they can create an “artsy” image.
Without wanting to drag on too long, I’d also like to point out that when someone uploads their profile picture of an image other than themselves (such as a movie/cartoon character or sports logo or their baby picture), I’d say 75% of the time, they have some sort of self-image problem. Note that I’m not saying this is the case all of the time, but being one who has a handful of ugly friends, they seem to be very careful about what kind of image they want to use to portray them without actually using their face.
As for me, I’ll often resort to goofy pictures of myself for my profile picture in the hopes that people will associate me with funny and/or laid-back and/or unique. Having held my previous theories, these images must seem like they haven’t been posed for, so others won’t suspect me going out of my way to create an image for myself. It’s impossible for me to imagine others not doing the same, whatever kind of image they want to project.

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