Social Media Experiments – ‘Facebook In Real Life’ With Greg Benson And Jack Vale
Do you remember what life was like before Facebook and Twitter and even Myspace and AOL messenger before that? Kinda makes you wonder how we all got by without being ENORMOUSLY connected like we are now. I have over 2,000 friends on Facebook and admittedly, I’ve never even MET probably a good THIRD of them.
Case in point: I was walking my kids around the neighborhood for Halloween Trick-or-treating and we walked up to one house when I got the feeling that I’d been there before, but I hadn’t. at least not physically. The house’s owner (whom I don’t know personally but we are Facebook friends) had posted a pic of their well-carved pumpkins on their page and it showed up in my newsfeed earlier. I realized I was looking at those exact same pumpkins in front of me but couldn’t tell you for the life of me who they belonged to, nor did I recognize the person’s face who answered the door. Creepy.
Apart from my ‘legit’ friends and acquaintances that I’ve at least met once and had a conversation with, the other third has either seen me out playing onstage or heard me on the radio, or maybe just saw that we have many mutual friends and wanted to investigate further. I very rarely request someone as a friend but I have also friended people in the past in a manner like I described earlier. I don’t know if I feel an obligation to accept a request from everyone given that I’m a public figure of sorts or if I just enjoy the fact that someone finds me interesting enough to want to follow and get to know me better, or to use Facebook lingo, STALK. Would it be creepy if someone whom you’ve only met through Facebook came to your door and wanted to hang out? Watch.
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The dictionary defines stalking as ‘pursuing prey or quarry stealthily’ and although most of us aren’t looking to prey on someone necessarily, we are being allowed to peek into their lives privately, always without detection. Even though they offer that information freely, it still feels sneaky and there’s no accident that a term like ‘stalk’ has caught on like that. Don’t forget, everyone on social media is in complete control of what they share and what they don’t so the picture we’re getting of them is not an accurate picture, not completely anyway.
I mean personally, I only post something when things are good or when I’m interested in a topic and want to interact with others about it. I don’t post a picture of my girlfriend and I in a fight or me reprimanding my kids till they cry or myself with my head in my hands because life has just beat me senseless. Maybe you’re not as private, but I am all too aware of who could be watching and we don’t always want to air our dirty laundry for everyone to see do we?
But what about the harmless stuff, do we want everyone seeing that too? What if some random stranger came up to you randomly on the street and started ‘magically’ describing things about you that they shouldn’t know? Watch.
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Now while these guys are poking fun at these ‘flaws’ in the system, I found my skin crawling watching, wondering what it’d be like were I in those people’s shoes. I use social media to my advantage, but it’s a two way street. If you’re gonna be on Facebook or Twitter or whatever replaces those two down the line, for God’s sake make sure you educate yourself on privacy and who can and cannot see your stuff! My wheels have been turning a lot lately and call me paranoid or whatever, but I think it’s only a matter of time before the things we post are used against us by someone (if that hasn’t happened already) or at least to someone else’s advantage (advertisers, etc.)
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that we aren’t told in this internet age and bit by bit more light is shed on these omissions as our information hungry society is trying to quench it’s insatiable appetite for more. We’re trusting our privacy to imperfect systems and products made by imperfect people and while a service is being offered to us, there is something being taken too in exchange and the hidden costs are still being uncovered.