Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Face(the Ken and Barbie)book

Man, I thought i was just being a paranoid shit when i started being bombarded with facebook friends requests. I honestly couldn't believe it at first. Who the hell were these people? How can they be my 'friend' if i've never seen or heard of them? After the facebook doorbell rang about 100 times i finally gave in and set up an account. I enjoy cyber space communication - and I'm well aware that this type of technology will only strengthen its grip on our way of life. So, in essence, its unavoidable right?

But facebook is such shite. There isn't an inkling of intellect in this ken and barbie-like set up, yet i still get bombarded by tonnes of my dear (and rather intelligent) friends (not to mention the heeps of people who come from god knows where). I couldn't, and still don't, see the charm of this thing. Yet on last check i have a whopping 70 something friends, half of them that i've never even had a coffee with let alone be able to call them my 'friend.' In fact, I'm such a schmuck that i actually feel bad not 'accepting' friend requests from people that i may have met indirectly or may be a friend of a friend. The thing is, I am all about forums that bring people together to share ideas, passions, and even vent grievances. Is this a 'social utility to connect us to the world?' Just go and glance at this social utility people -- it's one of the most insulting and condescending tools i've seen. 'Someone has poked you'....'xxxx is being with flirted with'....xxxx had 67 mohitos last night.' What a sham.

I am still trying to grasp the magic of this phenomena. 200 million people use this rubbish, myself included! 2 million people sign on every day? Email and blogs seem to do the job perfectly to me. Besides, what happen to having a coffee with a friend? Or a friend actually being a friend?

So have we been duped again by the silicon valley vice squad? An article from the UK's Guardian was a real eye opener for me. If you were dumb enough like me to get sucked into yet another completely useless toy for us to waste our time on then I suggest you take a peek. Am I being too tough on facebook? Is this a cutting-edge instrument to connect people and places or is it just another idiot tool to give big brother yet another way keep his eye on us.

Now i know its easy to dismiss the big brother theories and many people, both to the left and right, have been accused of being wacko and schitzo about the depth and reach of BB. But even last night, as George Bombya Bush addressed the nation on the collapse of the American economy, he couldn't resist emphasizing the importance of renewing the spy bill -- allowing the US intelligence agencies to spy on whoever, whatever, whenever and however they deem 'necessary.' And as you know, after all, there is nothing more important than GBB protecting the American people. In fact, he's done such a great job at it, Americans abroad are advised by the State Department to keep a low profile and stay away from any gatherings in most countries on earth. Now that's what i call feeling safe and FREE. So now that the temporary spy bill is about to expire in about a week's time, the white house is turning pale just thinking about not being able to hide behind this crock of a bill and eavesdropping on the world as they please.


So how does this have anything to do with facing the Ken and Barbie book? Perhaps its just a tool amongst thousands, but there are two elements that should make us think twice: one, of course, is its privacy policy. The United States, under Bush and his cronies, has systematically infringed on privacy rights both domestically and abroad. With dozens of major lawsuits launched against them, US spying institutions, and even companies that freely and purportedly illegally attained information on the who, what, when, where and why's of our lives, we should seriously question facebooks commitment to our privacy. The bottom line is that they are not, not even close! The other element, if we care to take a closer look, is that the whole thing is fairly idiotic.

At the very least, give the Guardian article a read my friends. After reading it myself, it not only reinforced my earlier hunches but made me feel the fool. Being a very conscientious consumer and caring very much which products i support and their impact on our world -- i find its high time to put facebook where it rightly belongs...in the trash (but as you'll find out - they won't even let you do that. Once a ken and barbie member, always a ken and barbie member. It's like the Hotel California, you can check-out any time you like but you can never leave.)



1 comment:

metabalcanico said...

You talked about the power of boycott in one of your other articles. I figured there is no more powerfull boycott than choosing not to watch the idiot box, or other crap trown at us such as facebook..I closed my account not long after creating it, and that felt damn good. It was one of those "what the f*** am I doing 'here'" moments..andthe beauty of it is most of my (real) friends followed suit.

cheers to that