11 January 2011

Confessions of an Ex Poser

OK. It is time for the "Full Disclosure" part. See my tagline? Clue. That is where I'm going, and it all started when I got a Facebook account. I was delighted to connect up with lost friends. It was marvelous to know all the little details of the goings on in my big extended family. I thought it was the greatest thing since a low carb diet.

I am one of those kind of Facebook users who is picky about who makes the friend list. We have to actually know each other in real life, and we have to actually have a mutual feeling of affection. So it is an exclusive list. Others, I see with say, 434 "friends," and I'm like, "Uh huh. Sure."

I detect issues. But that is just me. I could be wrong. One such person tried to friend me, and this was someone I did actually know but who had—through a series of wicked acts—earned my deep and abiding mistrust. I looked at his page and saw those kinds of numbers, and I thought, "If a first-class bastard like this chump is that popular, then Facebook sucks."

Well, I figured it out. Surprise! It is not a perfect world! I decided not to delete my account; rather, I learned how to filter the noise. I do not like posers, but mainly I feel sorry for them. They are missing out on genuine connections.


There are still a lot of people I am still trying to find and get on Facebook. I have only just started, but I will stick with the idea that if you make the list, you have earned it. It is a way for me to honor you. Friendship is sacred.

So I started really appreciating Facebook, and I started to get curious about the story behind it. (No, I have not seen the movie, and I do not plan to.)


I found it so very interesting that the author of the article, Lev Grossman, observed that Zuckerberg has a blind spot when it come to privacy. Here's his chain of reasoning:

Facebook is the realization of a dream, but it is also the death of a dream, one that began in the late 1960s. That's when the architecture of of the Internet was first laid out, and it's a period piece. The Internet is designed the way it is to accommodate any number of practical considerations, but it's also an expression of 1960s counter culture. No single computer runs the network. No one is in charge. It's a paradise of equality and anonymity, an electric commune.

Now, Grossman is just full of wind here. Among the "practical considerations" of the then DARPANET (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), later renamed ARPA, taking the "Defense" out, and then renamed again. And again... pant, pant... was the ability to survive an atomic war.

Hence it was built for open communication not out of idealism but out of strict, military necessity. The internet was never really anonymous nor equal. That was an illusion. It was always an illusion, and lately, many of us have become technically proficient enough and emotionally mature enough to see it and embrace it.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Grossman continues:

Zuckerberg is two generations removed from the 1960s. He has no sentimental feelings about equality an anonymity.

Interesting theory. I read the whole article, looking for evidence of that, but did not really find any. It seems that Zuckerberg is actually pretty idealistic. As evidence:

Zuckerberg just wanted people to be themselves. On earlier social networks like Friendster and Myspace, identity was malleable and playful, but Facebook was and is different. "We're trying to map out what exists in the world ... In the world, there's trust. I think as humans we fundamentally parse the world through the people and relationships we have around us."

I totally agree with Zuckerberg on that. I truly disliked Myspace. A bunch of phonies. Who want to be friends with "DragonLady" or "Deathstar?" The hell with that. Facebook makes it easy to spot the phonies. They just don't get it.

Neither do a lot of big companies. Here's a great cartoon I found when I googled "poser." I found it on Tom Fishburne's site. He lets people use his images on blogs for free. (Thanks, Tom)


Well, I used to not get it either. I used a variety of persona to travel the Internet in my early explorations.

It did not work out. I made a fool of myself. I learned my lesson. I decided I would present myself just the way I do in the real world; that is, using my real name, with the same face I have, using the same language with which I ordinarily speak (and yes, I really do say stuff like "with which"), never trying to self-aggrandize, always trying to be considerate of others feelings—just the way I am, no BS.

And it is not even that I have this attitude of "If you don't like that, then the hell with you."

No, actually, if you don't like that, I'm actually kinda curious why that would be because I generally like other people. I find people, in general, to be very, very interesting. So I am always surprised when I experience hostility.

I like the world the way Mark Zuckerberg sees it. Grossman gets to his "blind spot" towards the end of the article (p69 if I counted right. Lame-ass TIME is lazy that way.)

But he [Zuckerberg] does have a blind spot when it comes to personal privacy, which is why the issue keeps coming up.

Grossman describes "Beacon," which revealed your buying habits to your friends. Users hated it. Then…

Incredibly, the same thing happened in 2009, when Facebook rolled out a complicated new set of privacy controls. Again, users saw their information going places they didn't want it to go. Again they revolted. Zuckerberg has a talent for understanding how people work, but one urge, the urge to conceal, seems to be foreign to him.

Grossman has his theories, but overall, he is generally complimentary. He is trying to be fair, and I got the feeling that he came to genuinely admire Mark Zuckerberg.

I have a theory too, and that is all it is.

People tend to see in others what they find in themselves.

At any rate, at some point I decided that I would no longer affect any persona.

It was a very liberating experience, and it is the theme of my blog.

Now here is an interesting thing. As I have been writing my thoughts, I have also been discovering other people's blogs, and frankly, I am kinda blown away. There are a lot of really amazing people writing great stuff!

Thoughtful, funny, wise, kind, brilliant... Heck, I'm sitting here thinking of all these neat adjectives, but you get the idea. It is a revelation. I had no idea there were so many interesting blogs. It's rather overwhelming.

But the wonderful thing is that I see that all kinds of people have basically decided the same thing as me. They are gonna keep it real. And the one's that don't? I see that they just kind of end up slinking off.

I love it. I just love it.

Here is another revelation. I have finally figured out who I am writing for. I am writing for other bloggers. We are each other's audience. I am starting to get it.

Your thoughts?


bruce said...

Just stopped by from the Simple Dude blog...SD is great! he writes for the masses, and the simplicity is what makes it work.

and he is funny.

i write for myself first (and if someone likes it then that is cool.) having a follwing is not as great as having comments...

check me out and say hi!

bruce johnson jadip
stupid stuff i see and hear
Bruce’s guy book
the guy book
Dreamodel Guy

Richard G. Crockett said...

Thanks for the comment, Bruce.

Yes, I agree. Simple Dude is brilliant, and his power is his simplicity and his humor. I sure enjoy seeing what he has to say. I was much amused when he made fun of me. That's not an easy thing to do: make fun of someone and then have then laugh along with everyone else.

It sure impressed me.

This post was something I just had to write. I had to get it out of the way. It was not simple, but so long as I left it unsaid, I couldn't move on, so in this case, I wrote it because I just had to. That's a good motive for a writer, wouldn't you agree? Never mind whether it makes you popular. You just say what you have to say, and that just HAS to be OK.

Now, I am gonna check out your stuff!



StephanieC said...

It's mindblowing, the number of good blogs out there. And the great ones. You can spend hours and hours just checking a few out at a time.

I started my blog because of Hyperbole and a Half. She inspired me to write out my "crazy", poke fun at myself, and connect with people in a way that Facebook or Twitter would never allow.

But in doing so, I thought my Facebook friends and real life friends and family would read and respond and be part of it. I was completely wrong.

The support comes from other bloggers. Most of us seem to "get it". We all love comments, and followers, and high page hits.

We support each other and it's a real community.

But write for you first, gain the feedback and take it from there. Because it will be joyless if you are only writing for others, right?


Richard G. Crockett said...

Hey Stephanie,

I was just putting the final touches on my draft for tomorrow's post (actually today, Pacific Time) when your comment came in.

It's a "bare all" kinda post. Wasn't sure whether I should go for it, but I decided I would.

Re: writing for others, well, I do like to tell stories, and the joy of that IS the joy it brings others, starting from the time I was a kid telling my little brothers and sisters stories.

Still, I think the keyword in your comment is the "only," so, yeah.

Also, I am starting to see what you are saying about where the support comes from. So far my family and friends are too shy to participate. I wonder? Are people just too indoctrinated into being an audience rather than a participant?

(Hmmm... Idea for post.)


StephanieC said...

I'm not sure, it is almost like they all have stage fright. My own boyfriend says he doesn't know what to say. Mom said she can't think of a comment "funny enough" to post...

So, if you find a way to draw them out of the woodwork, please let me know!

Richard G. Crockett said...

Will do.

I do leave the option to post anonymously. I use that on some blogs because I don't want to be bothered with another membership, not because of secrecy, so I like it when others leave that option, but I don't think that's the problem.

Hell, I have to nudge people just to answer a frackin' email, so there might be some real issues with communication at the heart of this. Beyond that, some kind of fear similar to that of meeting new people at a party? Doing something new? Breaking the ice? Like you said, some kind of stage fright?

I can understand that.

freddie said...

Would it work to have a "Single Word" comment section? I don't know about you but I seem to make single word comments all the time when I am reading on screen or hard copy.

Richard G. Crockett said...

Hi Freddie,

Already, I think I have revised my opinion. The fact is, anyone leaving a comment is worth respect.

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