Thoughts on Facebook

by Jinryu

I use facebook as a messenger platform nowadays, mostly because everyone I know is on Facebook.  Most usefully, this includes the people that I know but don’t know (or want to know) well enough to give them my email or phone number.  When you’re randomly looking up that one person who has a specific role to play in your life for that specific ability or thing that you want to borrow or whatever, Facebook is the easy way for me to find people.  It’s also convenient that my mobile phone carrier doesn’t charge bandwidth for any Facebook related data.

I also use it because it serves a pretty important hub function for certain activity groups… on one hand, there’s the work that I do for the Law Society that pretty much requires that I use Facebook.  The Baduk club also uses Facebook because it’s convenient.

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I used to upload all my pictures on Facebook, and post pretty much everything online. Nowadays… hardly ever.  I’m not sure when I decided that I would do a full 180 and become a reclusive netizen.  I think it’s just that there are so many people linked in my network of friends and whatnots that I’ve given up trying to manage my public image.  It’s important, I think, because of employment concerns.

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There’s  irony when someone writes an article about how so many facebook relationships are empty and ultimately add nothing to our lives– and then that article gets linked on facebook.

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I think some people know how to “use” facebook really well.  Essentially, it’s a marketing tool.  You use it to build up a public perception of you, and in some degree to bump yourself periodically to the forground of others’ attention so that when they think of something that involves people, they will have that increased chance of thinking of you and how you might fit into their situation.

That’s all good and well… like professional marketing, there’s a time and place for it, and it is undoubtedly useful in the right contexts.

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Some people really do just like sharing things about themselves.  So they’ll put up photos and little snippets of thoughts and links to things… but really, I think it’s actually just a newer form of blogging.

Blogging is really an act of self definition, more than it is one of self exposition.  At least, that’s what it is to me. I put my thoughts out there mostly because I like to read what I wrote and see if it makes sense to me, or gives me any sort of insight into how I think.

Facebook posting is much the same– except that it doesn’t require so much of the technique of writing.  There are other techniques, like uploading photos and linking things.  Then, in retrospect, the character of the photos and the things linked might congregate to give some impression of what the person is like.

I suppose that’s the main reason why I’ve been such a facebook luddite lately.  The thing about blogging is that, for the most part, people don’t know that I have this blog.  This allows me to discuss myself without too much of a limitation on what I want to say, and it allows me to paint a more accurate picture of myself that goes the full ranges: from confidence to despair; from sadness to happiness; from hate to love; and all those other things.

WIth something as public as facebook, it just seems impossible for me to completely publicise everything associated with my real name.   Not that I’d be reluctant to say anything about anything if you asked me– but the depths of my thoughts are either reserved for anonymous posting, or reserved for people who take the time to ask them to me to my face and care about my answer.

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