Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Book on Facebook

Here's a review about a book about facebook--its origins and its effects.   I should read the book, given my own facebook obsession, but I will not get around to that for a quite a while--my grad students are practicing convergence, turning in stuff to me all at the same time.

Instead, let me ponder what facebook means to me on this Independence Day:
  • It has meant a lot of lost time as network and notworking are not synonomous but related nonetheless.  Lots of time wasted on silly games like Knighthood that I now avoid.
  • Yet it has also meant meeting some new people that I would never have met otherwise, thanks to such silly games, including on the other side of the globe.
  • It produced, I think, a far better high school musical reunion as FB facilitated not just collective action but also directed shaming of potential non-participants.
  • It helped lead me to twitter via the status bar and to this blog via notes and various other updates.  Whether this is good or bad is up to my followers to figure out.  But I do like twitter a great deal for helping me access the parts of the web that interest me.  And this blog has been both fun and useful for me as I puzzle out stuff, so I owe FB a debt for that, I suppose.
  • In the aftermath of Lost, I feel a bit more sensitive about community and whether I fit into any or not.  My facebook friends have, indeed, become a community for me, and have helped me when I ask for it and even when I don't.
So, even if the book on FB is not as well written as it should be, the idea that it has been influential cannot be denied, at least in how much it has impacted me, even when my own computer is just a brick until I can get it fixed this week.
Despite its foibles, “The Facebook Effect” leaves you with a deep under­standing of Facebook, its philosophies and, most startlingly, its power. You come away with a creepy new awareness of how a directory of college students is fast becoming a directory of all humanity — one that’s in the hands of a somewhat strange 26-year-old wearing a T-shirt and rubber Adidas sandals.

1 comment:

Tony Kondaks said...

Mr. Saideman writes:

" that’s in the hands of a somewhat strange 26-year-old wearing a T-shirt and rubber Adidas sandals"

Whether it's the Facebook founder, the owner of whom I saw on Tavis Smiley's show the other day, the Google guys Brin and Page, or Steves Jobs and Wozniak (at least in the early days), the rule of thumb for corporate dress code for the mega-rich and mega-successful Hi-Tech guys seems to be jeans and t-shirts.

This is very frustrating for me. I don't look good in casual clothes, probably due to the fact that I don't have anything remotely resembling a svelte body. I droop a lot. Indeed, I find body-image refuge in suits and ties which can be quite effective in hiding pauches and whatever else last night's chocolate truffle super-fudge Rocky Road deposited just under my epidermis.

So I certainly hope that this nouveau chic Marlon Brando Street Car Named Desire American Apparelist way of dressing never catches on. I hope the corporate world doesn't give up the superficiality it lends to how we dress and present ourselves or else I'm doomed.

Third World Marxist governments often reject dress that reflects what they perceive as the trappings of capitalism, such as suits and ties, and, instead, adopt Mao-type shirts or Fidel-inspired fatigues. Unfortunately, here in the Arizona desert, there is a built-in climactic predisposition to also shed, although for different reasons. Any cultural trend that abandons extra or unnecessary clothing, particularly of the choking (i.e., "tie) or clinging (i.e., "suit") variety, eagerly finds an audience here simply because it makes the heat that much bearable.