Mark Zuckerberg was Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2010. I read this 10 page article about him and facebook and found it quite interesting and insightful. Toward the end of the article the indepth criticisms of facebook begin. The beginning is more like an introduction to Zuckerberg and I thought it was a bit syrupy. But by the time I got to the end, I hoped people would remain interested enough to hang in there and read the criticisms.
I came onto the net in the early 2000's and it was still pretty anonymous. I did think, when facebook came along, the kids want to be able to be themselves and that is their rebellion against the old geek network, which could be pretty darn harsh as one of the excerpts below point out. These are small excerpts out of the ten pages.
What do any of you think? I think net addiction is still a problem to contend with whether it is anonymous or not. I think there has been enough research to say it as fact. Personalities have been shaped around the anonymous net and that culture. Now we have people addicted to their I phones, and they can't seem to put them down, even to interact with family and friends right in front of them. I think they are shallow connections myself, to the people who only see each other through the net or the text.
"..Facebook is the realization of a dream. but it's also the death of a dream, one that began in the late 1960s. That's when the architecture 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 counterculture. No single computer runs the network. No one is in charge. It's a paradise of equality and anonymity, an electronic commune. (See pictures of Facebook's overseas offices.)
In the 1970s the communes faded away, but the Internet only grew, and that countercultural attitude lingered. The presiding myth of the Internet through the 1980s and 1990s was that when you went online, you could shed your earthly baggage and be whoever you wanted. Your age, your gender, your race, your job, your marriage, where you lived, where you went to school — all that fell away. In effect, the social experiments of the 1960s were restaged online. Log on, tune in, drop out.
We all know how that ended. When the Web arrived in the early 1990s, it went mainstream. The number of people on the Internet exploded, from 2.6 million in 1990 to 385 million in 2000, and we messed up the scene. The equality and anonymity that made the Internet so liberating in its early days turned out to be disastrously disinhibiting. They made the Internet a haven for pornographers and hatemongers and a free-for-all for scammers, hackers and virus writers..."
"...Empathy and bandwidth — you could inscribe the words on Zuckerberg's coat of arms. And they are without a doubt both good things. But are they good for everybody all the time? Sometimes Zuckerberg can sound like a wheedling spokesman for the secret police of some future totalitarian state. Why wouldn't you want to share? Why wouldn't you want to be open — unless you've got something to hide? "Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity," Zuckerberg said in a 2009 interview with David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect. This is a popular attitude among the Silicon Valley elite, summed up by a remark Google CEO Eric Schmidt made last year on CNBC: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.'..."
"...However much more authentic the selves we present on Facebook are than they were in the anonymous Internet wilderness that came before it, they still fall far short of our true selves, and confusing our Facebook profiles with who we really are would be a terrible mistake. We are running our social lives over the Internet, an infrastructure that was not designed for that purpose, and we must be aware of the distortions it creates or we will be distorted by them. The standard cliché for describing viral technology like Facebook has always been, "The genie is out of the bottle." But Facebook inverts that. Now Facebook is the bottle, and we're the genie. How small are we willing to make ourselves to fit inside?..."
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2036683_2037183_2037185,00.html