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Facebook – Now a dead fish going with the flow

I survived outside the community for over five years, which isn’t bad, but as the temperature outside slowly grew colder, it sometimes occurred to me that perhaps joining Facebook wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all. But I always decided that indeed it was a bad idea, and one of which I had no need. Until yesterday, that is. I have now registered an account on Facebook using both my Western name (Olle Linge) and my Chinese name (凌雲龍); you should be able to find me regardless of which language you prefer. That was the important part of this post, the rest I’m going to spend on self-pity and petty excuses for why I decided to be a dead fish and join the mainstream. There are two reasons, please bear with me.

First, I realised that I’m the only one in my class who hasn’t got a Facebook account. This might be a sign of independence, stupidity or, more likely, both. Since this medium has become so ubiquitous in recent years, it’s simply a handicap to not be in on it, to not share the information and communication that constantly flow between most of my friends and which I only can get a glimpse of occasionally. It’s a little bit like not using a mobile phone: I’m sure it’s a good idea in general, but it’s going to ostracise you from the rest of society, which is quite stupid if you happen to be an ordinary social being, like me.

Second, although I hate to admit it, there is an advantage with communities like Facebook which isn’t covered by services I already use and have been using for a long time, such as e-mail, instant messaging, IRC, etcetera. These are very good for handling very slow and very fast communication, but completely useless for acquaintances and people you only want to keep in contact with, but not spend time every week talking to. I know it’s the whole point of Facebook, but even though I intellectually understand that and have done so for a long time, it wasn’t enough to overcome the problems I see with using Facebook.

I don’t intend to use Facebook in the sense of actually putting anything there (text, photo, anything), mostly because of the infamous terms of use, but also because of the fact that I can’t be bothered to post things both on my website and somewhere else, and my website is and will be far more important than any other online activity. The possible exception to this might be idle posts in Chinese to enhance everyday language, but we’ll see about that. In general, I still despise much about the Facebook phenomenon (read this article for a nice summary), but I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying the benefits it can provide. So, yes, a part of me has died, but possibly that will make the future a little bit easier.

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