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Facebook. Don’t we all just love it. I was first sent an invitation and joined up back in November when it was still more of a student thing. I found it a really marvellous way to catch up with people who had been in my youth group when I was a youth worker, and it still is. Of course now it has mushroomed, overtaking other social networking websites by a long way in the circles I move in.
There are downsides of course. I have heard people talking about Facebook as being a sort of an online ‘gated community’ or ‘walled garden’, as discussed by this popular web blogger. I can’t remember why this is a bad thing, but I seem to recall that it is. Something to do with the fact that if you are in inside it is all very well, but outside there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then there are the security and privacy aspects, which do concern me. Richard has some things to say about this. I’m wondering whether there are implications that we haven’t quite realised yet. I know you can set your privacy levels and everything, but I think there are some security issues that will become apparent before too long. Some of us might just realise that we’ve shared just a little too much with just a few too many people. There are people I know who have chosen not to be a part of Facebook -perhaps one day we will realise how wise they were.
One of the good things about Facebook is that for most people it isn’t a mad rush to get numbers of friends, as Myspace often seems to be. There are people who have 700 friends or 1286 friends or something like that. These are, one supposes, people who will be friends with anything that moves. Personally I tend to prefer to only add people as friends if I know them… more or less. I’m not sure what the social implications of not adding someone as a friend are if they request it. I suppose they’ll just hate you for ever.