My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

5 Articles Tagged with “Facebook”

  1. Stage-managing the most popular one-person show

    The Facebook image for those with no profiles, modified to wear Groucho Marx glasses

    Each time I try to compose a post for my philosophy class, I resolve not to discuss Facebook or Google this time. I keep mentioning them, using them as examples, to the point where one might think I spend all my time using one or both of those services. Not so. Not even close.

    Wait, sorry, need to check Gmail on my Android phone….

    Well, I will succeed in not mentioning Facebook and Google eventually. Not today. No, because for my second critical response, I am discussing "Friend Me if You Facebook: Generation Y and Performative Surveillance," by E.J. Westlake. This article is in volume 52 of TDR: The Drama Review, available through Project MUSE (couldn't find an openly-available copy, sorry). We will be discussing this during week eight of class.

    This is an article that is exactly what it says on the tin (or title, as the case may be). Westlake discusses how Generation Y uses Facebook, arguing that members of older generations tend to be dismissive of Generation Y's proactive use of Facebook, focusing on it only as a tool that promotes exhibitionism and apathy. At the same time, she examines how one's activities on Facebook is…

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  2. Your Internet may be monitored for quality control purposes

    Poster advertising the surveillance of London Metro stations by CCTV

    This is a critical response to David Lyon's "The World Wide Web of Surveillance: The Internet and off-world power-flows," published in the Spring 1998 issue of Information, Communication & Society. Those of you lucky enough to have a university account that has access to such things can find it there; those of you following along at home can read the earlier version presented at a Canadian Association for Information Science meeting in 1997.

    That was the single most difficult aspect when considering my response to this reading: it was written in 1997. True, that's only 13 years ago--but the World Wide Web itself is only 20 years old. That is pre-Google, the entity that has, perhaps more than any other Internet-based company, single-handedly changed the way we use the Web--not to mention introduced a suite of privacy and surveillance concerns that weren't around in 1997. So as a technophile upstart who came to the Web in 2004 and writes in HTML5, I had to keep my reservations regarding the article's age in check. After all, despite the changes since Lyon wrote this, most of the article is still valid. There are parts that read as outdated, and…

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  3. Why I hate Facebook's news feed

    For reasons beyond my ken, I cannot sign into AIM at the moment I'm writing this. This lapse in stimulus caused my brain to seek more meaningless information bombardment before it collapsed into a pile of quivering, atrophied jelly. That's right: I went on Facebook. And as I sat here, staring at the New Feed on the homepage, I sighed.

    The News Feed is useless for my purposes, as are many of the tools Facebook purports to offer me.

    Now, although I have been (and continue to be) critical of Facebook's privacy policies, I did not quit Facebook and have no plans to do so. Despite my forthcoming complaints, Facebook is a useful tool in some respects; managed properly, privacy is a concern but not enough motivation for quitting the service altogether.

    My experience with Facebook has had incredible highs and some lows. Facebook reunited me with some friends, with whom I lost touch after moving across town, from elementary school. They are now friends in this newfangled adulthood thing I'm trying on for size. On the other hand, I've accepted friend requests from people I barely knew in high school (or barely remember from elementary school), purely because I…

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  4. I guess Facebook is good for something after all

    Turns that like the Dark Side has a Light Side, so too does Facebook have a cream filling at the centre. (Tune in for more mixed metaphors at 11!)

    Through our mutual friend--the Oracle of English herself--Ms. Sukalo, I've reconnected with two friends who I knew way back before I moved to this side of town, back when I went to Algonquin, back in kindergarten and grade 1! Now, I have a terrible memory, especially when it comes to names and faces, but I certainly remember the twins Cassie and Carly. ^_^ On the cool scale from 0 ("heat-death of the universe") to 1000 ("The Colbert Report"), this is a solid 923 (about the same as "being John Cleese")! And if you have no clue what that means, don't worry.

    Although that reminds me of an interesting sidebar. Yesterday in English we were discussing the end of The Shipping News, which is seemingly a "happy ending". Our teacher put a quotation from E. Annie Proulx, the author, on the overhead and bid us to discuss it in groups. One of my friends, Andrew, quantified Quoyle's happiness on an interesting graph that he put on the board, concluding…

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  5. I surrender. Now stop sending me emails.

    Great Bird of the Galaxy, forgive me.

    It was just a matter of time, of course. My willpower is far from legendary or anything, and I knew that I was going to "cave", as Cortney so eloquently puts it, sometime or another--I fully intended to, since once I'm done high school I'd like to preserve my connections with my friends through whatever means available. And, as much as I hate to admit it, social networking sites help.

    So I joined Facebook.

    That's right. I'm tired of those snarky little "I've added you as a friend on Facebook..." emails finding their way into my inbox, begging me to get an account. -_- Fine. I surrender. Now stop sending me emails. (I have a feeling I'm going to continue getting them anyway, since that's the nature of the beast).

    However, an interestingly paranoid Orwellian thought occurred to me. As our technology increases, the government institutes increasingly complex methods of keeping track of us. The day is not far off when some sort of "national ID" system will be implemented. We already have several numbers associated with us--driver's licence, SIN, health card, etc. Naturally people start to get paranoid about the…

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