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Time's 2010 Person of the Year
December 15, 2010 7:44 AM   Subscribe

"For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them; for creating a new system of exchanging information; and for changing how we all live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year."
posted by XQUZYPHYR (254 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey isn't that the guy from Juno?
posted by condour75 at 7:46 AM on December 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


You know who else was Time's person of the year?

I was.
posted by bondcliff at 7:47 AM on December 15, 2010 [26 favorites]


I do so hope that this is the kiss of Mainstream Media death and that Facebook will now cease to be cool and die.
posted by AugieAugustus at 7:47 AM on December 15, 2010 [27 favorites]


This is so bogus, man.

Assange was robbed.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:47 AM on December 15, 2010 [41 favorites]


Please. Assange's story is bigger than the billionaire du jour.
posted by unixrat at 7:47 AM on December 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


Zuckerberg came in at only tenth place on a reader poll; by and large the runaway pick from readers was Wikileaks' Julian Assange.

Assange was noted as a runner-up, along with the Chilean miners, "The Tea Party" and Hamid Karzai.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:47 AM on December 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


Fuck you Time magazine, you're years late for this to be a serious suggestion and the fact that you're still around means you're years late for your own funeral.
posted by 2bucksplus at 7:48 AM on December 15, 2010 [30 favorites]


"For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them; for creating a new system of exchanging information; and for changing how we all live our lives, Julian Assange is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year."
posted by mooselini at 7:49 AM on December 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


along with the Chilean miners

Seriously? Not to say this isn't tragic, but it's is the same sort of sob story that makes the news every so often and doesn't change a damn thing. There were no mining safety regulations which were improved as a result of the incident.
posted by LSK at 7:49 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you tint that cover blue you can pretend they're giving the award to James Cameron.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:50 AM on December 15, 2010 [7 favorites]



Clocked time of joke in 2007: 2:00
Clocked time of joke in 2008: 9:00
Clocked time of joke in 2009: 13:00
Clocked time of joke in 2010: 3:00
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:51 AM on December 15, 2010 [82 favorites]


They can't give it Assange. What would the headline be? "Shining a light on the journalists and exposing what a bunch of spineless, candy-ass, status-quo fixated, stagnant, pathetic, bought-and-paid-for weaklings we....ooops..i mean THEY are"
posted by spicynuts at 7:53 AM on December 15, 2010 [47 favorites]


Clocked time of joke in 2007: 2:00
Clocked time of joke in 2008: 9:00
Clocked time of joke in 2009: 13:00
Clocked time of joke in 2010: 3:00


Predictable on the blue. News at 10.
posted by mooselini at 7:54 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hope to God I am never Time Person of the Year, because my face couldn't withstand that kind of brightly lit, high definition close-up photography. You might as well take a picture of me on the toilet, or sneezing, or naked after swimming in a cold pool. "You're influential; now choke on your flaws!"
posted by dgaicun at 7:54 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you tint that cover blue you can pretend they're giving the award to James Cameron.

Now that you mention it, I suppose Pandora is one big social network.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:54 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hodgman: "Time Magazine just named its Person of The Year 2007."
posted by BeerFilter at 7:55 AM on December 15, 2010 [44 favorites]


Do people actually buy this magazine? The only time I've seen a physical copy of it is at my dentists waiting room.
posted by chugg at 7:56 AM on December 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


Also, if Facebook has changed how I live my life, I ask Time magazine to tell me how, because I haven't noticed.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:57 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please. Assange's story is bigger than the billionaire du jour.

My mother isn't asking about Assange.

I'd like to see how things play out with Wikileaks. I'm betting that next year Assange won't even be on the radar.
posted by nomadicink at 8:00 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Facebook does get quoted quite a bit though, not just on the maintstream television media, but on NPR as well. What's the MLA guideline for quoting a status update in an academic paper?
posted by iamck at 8:00 AM on December 15, 2010


The Onion is in the process of picking its 20 people who mattered this year. Most recently: The iPad - Wait Till You See What We're Doing With This One
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:03 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm sitting here wondering the same, Joe. Maybe one could argue that Facebook got a lot of people off the world wide web at large and onto a private network. Maybe Facebook is really the end to the Eternal September.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:04 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]



My mother isn't asking about Assange.


If their own readers chose Assange as the Person of the Year, it doesn't matter if your mom is asking him about it or not. Their demographic is interested. If you're not reading Time, do you give a shit who the Person of the Year is?
posted by spicynuts at 8:11 AM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


So there's this huge story that happened in 2010 that will change everything and it's... wait, it's Facebook? That site I joined in 2004?

Oh well. A six-year delay isnt too awful. Maybe Julian Assange will be Person of the Year 2016.
posted by naju at 8:11 AM on December 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


Also, if Facebook has changed how I live my life, I ask Time magazine to tell me how, because I haven't noticed.

You probably wouldn't have heard about the last twenty idiotic things Sarah Palin said.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:11 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is caring about what some acquaintance from junior high is doing with Farmville considered "changing your life"?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:11 AM on December 15, 2010 [11 favorites]


Facebook is great for getting pithy quotes from public figures on a topic. Especially if they left their laptop open and a family member snuck on and posted "Councilperson X has the best sister in the world, who means everything to me. Also I pick my nose and wipe it under the desk when I think no one's looking."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:13 AM on December 15, 2010


My mother isn't asking about Assange.

Is your mother asking about Zuckerberg or Facebook? Facebook, I'd bet.
posted by unixrat at 8:14 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Most likely Time has been writing on the piece for a while and couldn't be bothered to change it to reflect WikiLeaks and Assange.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:14 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Facebook provides a unified social-interaction protocol which is consuming the entire world at an ever-increasing rate. It's not unique, but it is uniquely successful. It's a BFD.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:14 AM on December 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


"Assange and company wrought deep disruptions in the marketplace of state power, much as tech-savvy insurgents before them had disrupted markets in music, film and publishing."

Once more, gets in the good insults early: Time announces new version of magazine aimed at adults.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 8:15 AM on December 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


Man that is a seriously unflattering photograph.
also this.
posted by boo_radley at 8:15 AM on December 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


Are you a Lebowski achiever?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:15 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kanye was robbed.
posted by rusty at 8:16 AM on December 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


My mother isn't asking about Assange.

That's interesting because last night I heard your mother was asking about

ah never mind I'm too frustrated it wasn't Assange, I can't even muster up the enthusiasm to talk shit about your mom never mind
posted by Greg Nog at 8:16 AM on December 15, 2010 [21 favorites]


Facebook provides a unified social-interaction protocol which is consuming the entire world at an ever-increasing rate. It's not unique, but it is uniquely successful. It's a BFD.

No one's saying it's not a BFD. They're saying that Assange's story is bigger and far, far more important than Facebook.
posted by unixrat at 8:17 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do so hope that this is the kiss of Mainstream Media death and that Facebook will now cease to be cool and die.

If it can survive everybody's parents signing up, I doubt this will make much of a difference.
posted by brundlefly at 8:17 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, Person of the Year is one of the ultimate super link bait content pieces ever. SEOs all over the world would kill for the backlinks alone.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:17 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not unique, but it is uniquely successful

Like the "successful" MySpace and Friendster before it, something will likely replace Facebook in a couple years.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:17 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


If their own readers chose Assange as the Person of the Year, it doesn't matter if your mom is asking him about it or not.

I'd guess that people who read Time magazine are not necessarily the same people who responded to the internet poll. By that logic, Ayn Rand is the best novelist in history.
posted by electroboy at 8:18 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


rusty: "Kanye was robbed."

IMMA LET YOU FINISH, BUT HUNGARIAN FREEDOM FIGHTER WAS THE BEST PERSON OF THE YEAR OF ALL TIME
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:18 AM on December 15, 2010 [16 favorites]


Oops, messed up the link.
posted by electroboy at 8:18 AM on December 15, 2010


Do people actually buy this magazine? The only time I've seen a physical copy of it is at my dentists waiting room.

The 'Dude and I asked for magazine subscriptions for Xmas last year (mostly cooking and other special interest magazines). For some reason, one family member thought Time would be right up our alley.

Occasionally there's one pretty decent piece of investigative journalism per issue, but all the other articles have this awkwardly-inserted fake-bloggy first person tone, and the opinion articles are mostly self-righteous "I'm correct and everyone else is a dumbass".

In other words, if you want to know what how your mainstream "silent majoriy" boomer parents or grandparents view the world, read Time.
posted by muddgirl at 8:20 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think the choice of Zuckerberg over Assange is defensible. Facebook has huge implications in privacy and advertising, and the fact that the guy in charge has shown some near-sociopathic tendencies is important. Assange is a great figurehead for wikileaks, but he's not an actual leaker - and is protected from knowing who the leaker is.

I see wikileaks as a force of nature - if Assange & co hadn't built it, someone else would have, and the documents would've found their way out. Assange, as a person, is less interesting to me than other people in the wikileaks ecosystem.

Facebook (or, a winner in the social networking wars) was also inevitable. But was it inevitable that there would be hard evidence - IM logs - of the founder of the most popular social network disregarding his users privacy?

tl;dr: Wikileaks is more interesting than Facebook, but Zuckerberg is more interesting than Assange.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:20 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hey, Trent Reznor got a Golden Globe nomination!
posted by Artw at 8:21 AM on December 15, 2010


I think it's defensible if only because the wikileaks saga is really just starting, and we don't know what the ultimate consequences will be.
posted by empath at 8:22 AM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


He only got that big picture in the yearbook because he fucked so many people.
posted by swift at 8:22 AM on December 15, 2010


Metafilter: I'm correct and everyone else is a dumbass
posted by electroboy at 8:22 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Like the "successful" MySpace and Friendster before it, something will likely replace Facebook in a couple years.

I don't think this is comparable: take a look
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:23 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Fuck, and I nominated Myspace Tom. Myspace has things that Facebook doesn't. Like ethnic minorities and animated gifs.
posted by dgaicun at 8:25 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


That was another thought, empath, that the Wikileaks saga is just starting.

But for me, Wikileaks became more than just a website for leaked corporate documents in April when they put the 'Collateral Murder' video. So I think it was, at least, a story that's been around all year. Have you all listened to Julian on Off The Hook in April?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:27 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, puke. Zuckerberg is one of those smirky frat boys you just want to punch in the face, over and over.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:28 AM on December 15, 2010 [22 favorites]


Zuckerberg came in at only tenth place on a reader poll; by and large the runaway pick from readers was Wikileaks' Julian Assange.

That's not a reader poll, that's an internet poll. The top three vote recipients (Assange, Erdogan,* and Lady Gaga) are all national or cultural figures with...wait for it...very active online social networks behind them pushing to skew the results in their favor. Further proof that Zuckerberg is on to something. Yes, in 2010.

*Even Time magazine has known since 1997 that Turks are especially fond of internet polls.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:32 AM on December 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


But mostly for not being Julian Assange.
posted by Naberius at 8:32 AM on December 15, 2010


I realized Time goes with the mediocre pick ever since Giuliani beat Bin Laden out in '01.
posted by Bromius at 8:33 AM on December 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yuck, but at the same time, if TIME's person of the year is so damn irrelevant, why the hell are we all talking about it as though it mattered?
posted by blucevalo at 8:34 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't think this is comparable: take a look

Interestingly, the Google trend lines support the notion that WikiLeaks is perhaps too recent for notability.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:34 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Predictable on the blue. News at 10.

I, for one, welcome our predictable overlords...
posted by entropicamericana at 8:34 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, puke. Zuckerberg is one of those smirky frat boys you just want to punch in the face, over and over.

You're going to love my new FacebookTM game!
posted by ecurtz at 8:37 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


"For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them; for creating a new system of exchanging information; and for changing how we all live our lives BEING THE GUY FROM THAT MOVIE WE SAW, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year."
posted by Sys Rq at 8:37 AM on December 15, 2010 [17 favorites]


You're going to love my new FacebookTM game!

Please tell me you'll call it ZuckerPunch!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:38 AM on December 15, 2010 [38 favorites]


I figure Zuckerberg never would've won except for the movie. They made a movie about him, did you know that?
posted by scratch at 8:39 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dammit, Sys Rq!
posted by scratch at 8:39 AM on December 15, 2010


Anonymous DDOS attack on Time Warner sites in 3... 2...
posted by acb at 8:39 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


I do so hope that this is the kiss of Mainstream Media death and that Facebook will now cease to be cool and die.

What? People don't use Facebook because it's cool. People use it because they want to keep in touch with their friends, some of whom are far away and might disappear from their lives otherwise. I don't see why that should die just because you're not interested.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:42 AM on December 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


I am not quite sure what is more maddening: the predictable and somewhat endearingly behind-the-times and/or demographically-pandering nature of the selections by TIME ever year or the outrage from MeFites (and others) over said selections.

If you really think TIME is irrelevant then why are you acting like they or the choice matter?
posted by joe lisboa at 8:43 AM on December 15, 2010


I'd like to see how things play out with Wikileaks. I'm betting that next year Assange won't even be on the radar.

No. He'll be buried under it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:45 AM on December 15, 2010


This is a joke. Time lost all credibility when it comes to 'person of the year' with the Guiliani pick in 2001 over Bin Laden. Remember how Hitler was named man of the year in what, 39? That would never happen today. The Times editorial staff is terrified that people are too stupid to differentiate between "influential" and "good" (hell, based on their target audience thye're probably right). This pick is about as important as People's "Sexiest Man Alive".
posted by modernnomad at 8:45 AM on December 15, 2010 [16 favorites]


Put somewhat differently: I fail to give a shit about the Country Music Awards, so I am not going to trumpet my EXTREME DISPLEASURE with their selection of Artist of the Year ever year because, well, I fail to give a shit.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:45 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ew.
posted by casarkos at 8:45 AM on December 15, 2010


This pick is about as important as People's "Sexiest Man Alive".

Precisely.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:46 AM on December 15, 2010


Time's person of the year award means about as much as China's Confucius prize.
posted by pwally at 8:46 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Zuckerberg? Really? Way to be as non-controversial as possible while still being stupid, Time Magazine.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 8:48 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Assange is unperson of the year.
posted by WPW at 8:49 AM on December 15, 2010 [15 favorites]


Every December for the past fifteen or so like clockwork I get a panicky call from my father. "I've got bad news." Dad, what's wrong? "I...I...(sniffle)...I can't believe it." Dad! "This is terrible, just awful." [this goes on for a couple of minutes] "Vicky, for the 56th year in a row....I have been passed over for Time Man of the Year." And we both crack up. He gets me every time. I don't mind the Time POTY fanfare. It's like my own personal April Fools joke.
posted by troika at 8:52 AM on December 15, 2010 [38 favorites]


Last night NPR had an interview with some Arab comedian. He was suggesting youtube be given the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing the world together. Now that was at least an interesting idea.

I think this is stupid, though I will give some credence to the idea that if you have a movie about you directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin that you should at least be in the running for Person of the Year.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:53 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hasn't anyone who was alive in 2006 already won this award?
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:54 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Guys, I think you're overlooking the fact that Zuckerberg has pretty much saved our agricultural industry.
posted by Legomancer at 8:55 AM on December 15, 2010 [21 favorites]


Last night NPR had an interview with some Arab comedian.

Sample "joke":

I wish there was an Arab James Bond. Instead of saying "Bond. James Bond", he could say "Abdullah. Abdullah Abdullah".

I wish I was making this up.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:59 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: "Like the "successful" MySpace and Friendster before it, something will likely replace Facebook in a couple years."

That is what I said in 2007
posted by I am the Walrus at 9:00 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sure, Facebook has been around for years, but nobody suspected that some guy had actually invented the whole thing until that movie came out this year and broke the whole story wide open.
posted by straight at 9:05 AM on December 15, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: "Please tell me you'll call it ZuckerPunch!"
Sweet moses.
posted by boo_radley at 9:08 AM on December 15, 2010


Yeah, don't expect TIME to challenge its readership, ever, by trying to cast a controversial figure in a new light, or even introducing its readers to someone maybe they've never heard of but was nonetheless powerfully influential. Facebook Guy is about the safest safe bet they could have made.

Joe Beese: "I wish I was making this up"

Wow, it's the Arab Yakov Smirnoff.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:10 AM on December 15, 2010


You know who else else was Time's Person of the Year?

That's right... your computer
posted by zippy at 9:10 AM on December 15, 2010


Zuckerberg hasn't done anything interesting since Airplane!
posted by steambadger at 9:11 AM on December 15, 2010 [13 favorites]


dgaicun: "Myspace has things that Facebook doesn't. Like ethnic minorities and animated gifs"

You should come hang out with us on Tumblr. We have ... one of those things.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:13 AM on December 15, 2010


The Times editorial staff is terrified that people are too stupid to differentiate between "influential" and "good" (hell, based on their target audience thye're probably right).

Is this your first Mefi thread about the Time Person of the Year? Because that confusion happens here every single year.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:14 AM on December 15, 2010


Yuck, but at the same time, if TIME's person of the year is so damn irrelevant, why the hell are we all talking about it as though it mattered?

Wasn't going to meta-game my own thread but I've posted this for the last few years now and at least partially I look at POTY the way Lewis Black once described how he views the halftime show at the Super Bowl - it's one way to take a look at where the state of American mentality is as a people at this moment in time, and you can use your own judgment to determine how far down the shitter we're going.

Over the years I've actually grown very fond of seeing the negative reactions to it (as well as the silliness of the online polls--Lady Gaga. Really.) because I think that the commentary really reflects that analysis. We're angry, I think, because TIME still attempts to establish some kind of iconic credibility with POTY and yet about four out of every five picks the more educated of us realize that it's sales-boosting name-dropping, and more importantly an example of how "journalists" are afraid to perform journalism. Personally I agree with the comments that said that Zuckerberg, important as he is, wouldn't have come close if he wasn't the subject of a popular movie making him a name people have remotely heard of. And hell, they'd have probably put up Lady Gaga if they thought they wouldn't be laughed out of the room.

Honestly, I don't know if POTY should have been Assange OR Zuckerberg-- in the sense of "the person who affected current events the most for better or worse" I'd probably say the collective Republican Caucus of the U.S. Senate except an appropriate analysis of those actions would be an article similar to the 1938 article on Hitler (and if you never actually read it, you should, because it's eerie in how effectively the magazine pointed out we're going to be going to war with this monster soon.) But like Bin Laden in 2001 and perhaps Assange this year that would have been an article too hard to write with our current media. Much like I look back on 2001 as the year bin Laden murdered a thousand of my neighbors and not how decent Rudy Giuliani was for three weeks, I'll look back on 2010 as the year Senate Republicans used every effort they had to deliberately inflict wide scale human suffering for personal gain. I'm not going to remember it as the echelon of Facebook. And yet that is the story the media decided to emphasize.

And that's certainly a story that matters.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:18 AM on December 15, 2010 [37 favorites]


I find that Facebook is getting quite awkward in the same way Myspace did in its dying days, and I'm hoping it's past its sell-by date. So many people "friend" their family and bosses/co-workers that you can't really go to your buddy's page and discuss anything that might get them in trouble with work or parents, i.e. pretty much everything because it's becoming standard HR policy these days to make sure no one has ever been photographed near open liquor or publicly said "work was boring today". On top of that, you're getting spammed by your friends to figure out which star wars character you are or to sign up for a daily chuck norris joke app or get bitten by a pirate-robot-zombie. It's still useful for seeing baby pictures from new parents and lots of photos of what people are eating, as well as to find out who is the mayor of their local Taco Bell (WTF is with Foursquare? WHY!?!?) and people's links to trailers for movies that they think look awesome though.

Or maybe I'm just old. But it seems to me Zuckerberg would have been a better pick in any of the last 5 years than 2010.
posted by Hoopo at 9:27 AM on December 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


ecurtz: You're going to love my new Facebook game!
Make sure you can purchase upgrades like brass knuckles and baseball bats.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 9:28 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I heard an interview with someone from Time talking with BBC and the dude was like "Yeah, yeah, Hitler was Person of the Year, but these are different times, people would be upset if we had a "villain" as a Person of the Year now. But we'll see." This was last week or so, IIRC. So it was obvious they didn't wanna offend the powers that be.

So fucking stupid.

Or, what XQUZYPHYR said.
posted by symbioid at 9:30 AM on December 15, 2010


There is a much more reasonable approach to gaining Assange publicity that even the U.S. government's PR machine cannot silence. You should send Amnesty International a donation together with a note saying they should name Julian Assange a prisoner of conscience. You might say roughly :

"I would be very appreciative if you'd consider spending this donation on evaluating more thoroughly the evidence against Julian Assange. I believe you will conclude that Assange is in-fact a prisoner of conscience once you've investigated the matter fully. We are all well aware that most regimes will go to great lengths to obfuscate their politically motivated criminal charges, but striping away that facade will naturally require more effort in the west.

Beyond this, there is an underlying truth that Assange's imprisonment sends a message of amoral support to repressive regimes the world over, especially those large enough to feel they have a popular mandate by virtue of economics, like China and Russia. The Bush administration has already provided these regimes with ample ammunition for acts of torture and coercion, assuming they can lie about any given prisoner seeming dangerous. Please take a stand against this further expanding this amoral support."

That'd be a shit storm if Amnesty deemed him a prisoner of conscience.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:31 AM on December 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


.

I mourn for humanity.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:31 AM on December 15, 2010


Zuckerberg hasn't done anything interesting since Airplane!

Favorited because funny. (But, c'mon! ZAZ's films were interesting for another fourteen years. And, arguably, their subsequent inability to be even slightly funny is itself somewhat interesting.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:31 AM on December 15, 2010


Biz Stone wept.
posted by Eideteker at 9:32 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


> "Abdullah. Abdullah Abdullah".

Yeah, I didn't think the guy was a very good comedian, but I thought some of his analysis was interesting. And I didn't think that joke was too horrible.

When NPR was interviewing this guy about the Mohamed Mohamud Christmas wannbe-bomber they were interviewing another Mohamed Mohamud who wanted to point out he wasn't related. I thought that was funny.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:33 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dammit, Sys Rq!

I accidentally left the strikeout on "Person" just for you, scratch!

posted by Sys Rq at 9:33 AM on December 15, 2010


I dunno, Kattullus started a rather engaging discussion on Facebook on whether or not Live was the most ridiculous band of the 90s, using the video to their song "I Alone" as evidence. A couple people suggested Creed, or Limp Bizkit, and I riffed on genres I felt were ridiculous. It was humorous, thoughtful and fun. So, I guess if all your Facebook friends are gibbering idiots who take poorly-spelled quizzes and spam you with game requests, you'll have a bad time. Until you unfriend those people, and start adding people who make comments you find interesting and/or entertaining.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:34 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I find that Facebook is getting quite awkward in the same way Myspace did in its dying days, and I'm hoping it's past its sell-by date.

Nah. You know all those people who put up with shitty computers infected with spyware and viruses? They're all on Facebook and it's a step up from those crappy computers PLUS they have a link to their kids!!! It's like heaven for them, they're never leaving.
posted by nomadicink at 9:35 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here comes a shocker: A lot of people don't care about WikiLeaks.

Besides, POTY became absolutely pointless the year they gave the title to "you". WTF, Time Magazine?
posted by SkylitDrawl at 9:36 AM on December 15, 2010


I saw the picture of Bob Guccione on this page of the Onion feature and said OMG Eric Idle died!?!

Thank fuck Eric Idle is still alive.
posted by chavenet at 9:36 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


That'd be a shit storm if Amnesty deemed him a prisoner of conscience.

An even bigger one if they gave it to someone better fitting the term: a 22 year old named Bradley Manning, who is being detained in supermax conditions that constitute torture.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:38 AM on December 15, 2010 [17 favorites]


jeffburgess - it should be Bradley Manning who is the Prisoner of Conscience, please read The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention.
posted by adamvasco at 9:38 AM on December 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'll buy you a beer Joe.
posted by adamvasco at 9:41 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Point taken that POTY represents one glimpse into an element of the American zeitgeist. Or TIMEgeist, I suppose.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:50 AM on December 15, 2010


Facebook is only really notable in that it's the first website to successfully mimic the walled-garden OSP shit America Online and Compuserve were doing twenty years ago.

Turns out, to make that sort of thing work, it's actually not entirely necessary to mail out seventeen free floppies to everyone in the known world--and not even any CD-ROMs, either! Go figure!
posted by Sys Rq at 9:51 AM on December 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


Y'all pick some weird shit to get ruffled about.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:54 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


You can pick what you get ruffled about?
posted by ODiV at 9:58 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Y'all pick some weird shit to get ruffled about.

How DARE you, um, say what pronouns to you use?
posted by nomadicink at 9:59 AM on December 15, 2010


Like the "successful" MySpace and Friendster before it, something will likely replace Facebook in a couple years.

Yeah, what IATW said. I've been hearing that for over 3 years. Now what?

tl;dr: Wikileaks is more interesting than Facebook, but Zuckerberg is more interesting than Assange.

More importantly, Mark Zuckerberg was the subject of a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE from the director of SE7EN and FIGHT CLUB!

I wouldn't suggest the award was bought, and I know Time Warner and Sony (Columbia Pictures) are two different companies, but I think it's silly to ignore the fact that TIME has an interest in promoting DVD sales of any movie.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:00 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


bondcliff: You know who else was Time's person of the year?

I was.


This is pretty much exactly what I say whenever anyone brings up Time Magazine in any context.

The truth is, not having Osama as the man of 2001 pretty clearly demonstrated that they had completely abandoned the idea of answering the "who is the biggest mover this year?" for "who can we use to sell some magazines this year?" But saying that, people seem to get sidetracked onto the bin Laden thing, so I use the god-awful year I was impressed into service as their fool du jour.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:00 AM on December 15, 2010


You guys are all electrohipsters. "HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME IVE BEEN ON INTERNETMESSAGEBOARD FOR BASICALLY EVER AND YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO ME SAY THAT FACEBOOK ISNT A BIG DEAL BECAUSE I WAS HERE FIRST." Please. I heard your complaints on vinyl.

You're also way blowing WikiLeaks' status out of proportion. Assange will be in the running for 2011; as it happens now we're right in the middle of the saga, and haven't seen the full extent of WL's actions. I would not say the most significant thing that happened this year was WikiLeaks. (I wouldn't say it was Facebook, either, but Facebook was the most significant thing of SOMETIME in between 2005 and now and I think Zuckerberg's nomination makes as much sense as Time's nominations ever do. Which is to say not much. But I'm going to defend him anyway because I love the guy.)

Zuckerberg's vision of the Internet is different from yours. (Most of yours, anyway.) You see the Internet as an open frontier where literally anything can and will happen. He sees the frontier, too, but not as the endpoint that I think a lot of you do. For him, the huge open place is a space to build new hierarchies that have never existed before. (Hierarchy isn't the right word, though, because on Facebook everything is flat.) Facebook is a system designed to bring people socially together, regardless of what social things they're doing, regardless of if they happen online or offline.

Have you guys seen the rest of the Internet? Have you seen what it's become? It's a fucking nightmare. I love it but it fucking sucks. It's a huge goddamn high school clique. Web sites competing for page views by selling shitty, quick articles. Huge swathes that are obsessed with celebrity, whether we're talking the classic celebrity of TMZ and Perez Hilton or the tech celebrity of TechCrunch or the "every single person" celebrity of the Gawker empire. Twitter has spawned the Twitterati with their prominently-displayed follower/following counts that makes them a social clique as much as it is an actually valuable tool. Tumblr has its fucking stupid systems of tracking popularity. Youtube and Vimeo offer you no way of hiding view counts on your videos. Flickr has its photo views that I know lots of photographers get obsessed over. Last.fm has people competing over listening to fucking music. You can't go anywhere without its being tracked and displayed prominently for the whole world to see.

This applies, of course, to Google and its PageRank system. Although they're trying to go slowly social too, now. Google, where the top-ranked entry is always a Wikipedia crowd-sourced piece of shit, or maybe an IMDb page. It shows you literally the most popular things of any search topic; THIS, it tells you, IS WHAT THE ENTIRE WORLD THINKS YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING AT. To Google's credit it's not pushy. It doesn't make you feel bad just because you don't want to look at its most popular results. But that huge enormous social hierarchy is still there, which is why there are all these fucking spamblogs and black hat SEOs and all that shit.

MetaFilter has this too, although MetaFilter handles it very tastefully. I don't get nearly as worked up over favorites as I get worked up on sites like Reddit and Hacker News. There isn't the same feeling that your number score equals the entirety of your self-worth on the site. But I've seen a handful of comments from people insisting on their superiority on the site because of how many favorites they have, so I don't for a minute doubt that that system's in place too.

Facebook breaks that system. It stores more information and more connections than any other site I can think of. Probably more than Google at this point. But the way it organizes and displays that information is geared entirely towards YOU. Towards what you want to see. What you might like. What your friends think you might like. Who are your friends? Anybody you want. I've got MeFites friended on Facebook. I've got my younger brother. I don't have my parents or other relatives because I find that on Facebook they're more noise than signal, but Facebook's new Groups system means I can still talk to them and see what's going on with them just by clicking.

On Facebook there's no social friction. There's never a feeling that I'm missing out on something the rest of the world's got. No pressure for me to look at certain things or talk to certain people or follow certain trends. In fact, on the contrary Facebook points out explicitly how deeply weird every single person I know is. The girl who likes Justin Bieber? She's in the social minority. The girl who likes Taylor Swift and Disney? Her too. My friend who listens to all heavy metal and classic rock? Or the one who listens to indie Christian electronica? Or the guy who's obsessed, just absolutely obsessed, with funk? None of them are above and below any of my other friends. Facebook doesn't make them out to be better or worse. And they have their own circles of friends, so it's not even like my choice of friends affects them in any significant way. I'm free to say anything and do anything without any worries.

In real life, I can't handle groups that include more than a handful of strangers without starting to feel really unpleasant. I hate parties where I don't know the people. Even when I'm with a group of long-time friends, I can feel very alienated, very paranoid. I start wondering where the fault lines lie in our relationships, who is more connected to whom, who agrees with what, what every little facial tic means. I'm naturally overanalytical. But I find that in a lot of ways, Facebook helps me. Partly it eliminates those distinctions which naturally form in friendships. Partly also it's because I'm able to be honest about myself on Facebook to an extent, and so when I get together with people I feel like less of a fraud. Less worried that I'm somehow maintaining an image of myself that's inconsistent with who I really am.

And I'm not the only one. I know a lot of people who say stuff on Facebook that they would never say in a group of people in real life. But they say it, and other people respond, and suddenly this thing that might have been an uncomfortable secret instead becomes accepted. You can say this thing and your friends will still love you. You are not alone. We understand, and we are here for you.

I've formed close relationships with people I'd never think twice about if I just met them in a class twice a week. I've gotten to a point where I don't feel like I have any secrets from my friends. Not just my close friends, but from any of them. I don't hide parts of myself like I would otherwise. The prom night of my senior year in high school, I posted to Facebook a long, winding diatribe about why proms made me feel uncomfortable and scared and alone, and why I didn't want to be at the prom, and why I felt like in some ways prom intended to make me feel bad about that decision. Dozens of people responded, some of whom I'd literally never talked to, some of whom I'd thought must have hated me or thought I was a weirdo or any of the things a seventeen-year-old things people think about him. We all had a long, long, talk about our feelings. It was one of the first times I felt like I belonged — not just because of the amicability, but because I'd half thought that I was the only person who thought sad thoughts about things.

You can get these things on other web sites. But none of those other sites are designed implicitly to fit alongside your existing social life. There's a difference between meeting bright, wonderful people from around the world, and discovering the people you know are already bright and wonderful and have just been waiting to tell you.

Facebook is not MySpace or Friendster because it is not primarily about the profile, it is primarily about the exchange of information. The profile exists as a static document that you refer to now and then. The feed is where the friendship lies.

Facebook is not Tumblr or Twitter because it builds relationships between the information you post to it, and because it offers a variety of mediums in which to post. I can post a picture to Twitter but it won't be easy for anybody to find three years from now. Tumblr archives my posts but offers no architecture for my friends to build off like Facebook does.

And the genius thing of Zuckerberg and Facebook is that they're pushing this model. To everything. They want to replace RottenTomatoes with a system that tracks your friends. When you're searching the Internet they want you to know what your friends looked for along the same lines, because your friends might know what you're looking for as well as you do. When you're looking for a concert to go to Saturday night, Facebook wants you to be able to find what your friends are going to and tag along. (This already happens.) They want to take their model of friends-that-exist-without-hierarchy and push it to everything in the world.

Facebook is the first thing I've seen that makes me believe it could lead to a post-fame society. Most of my friends would rather hear news about their friends than hear news about Justin Bieber. There is no person on Facebook who matters more than any other, not even Mark Zuckerberg. The people who matter to me don't matter to you and Facebook doesn't pretend otherwise. This is a model that could work. In my own circle, I know that celebrity news is really warped in scope. Lots of slide guitarist Derek Trucks; lots of Cardiacs; a little bit of Julian Assange; no Paris Hilton. Even on MetaFilter we have "big topics" that lots and lots of people talk about, and we get a lot of people complaining about how much they get talked about. Meanwhile I'm losing track of what's big and what's not because on Facebook there is no big.

Does that mean Facebook is perfect? Of course it's not. Zuckerberg does some stupid shit. Facebook's design goes back and forth from brilliant to really really shitty. I think some complex things should be simpler. I think some simpler things should be more complex. Not to mention I don't feel entirely comfortable with its being a private institution; I wish there was a more open version of Facebook that operated with the same ambition. But there isn't. Diaspora doesn't have nearly the vision that Facebook has because Diaspora seems to think that Facebook is all about having a place to look at photos and see status updates. Diaspora's being made by some NYU nerds; it appeals to people who are, were, or wish they could be NYU nerds. I'd love it to become the go-to network for that sort of person, but that sort of person is not the global majority.

For all its flaws, Facebook is a significantly wonderful thing. It's changed my life so thoroughly that I can't imagine what my life would be without Facebook. I started using it when I was 15, so the entirety of my adult life has been Facebook-connected. I feel that's for the better.

I do get frustrated, though, with how dense the people commenting on Facebook (both here and elsewhere) are. Facebook has literally been talking about its grand vision since I started using it in 2005. Mark Zuckerberg has talked specifically about how he plans to connect people, and how he sees such a system working, since before the status feed. But people still insist on looking at whatever the most recent thing Facebook's doing is and maintaining that THAT is the one thing that Facebook has always meant to do, and then they explain why something else will come along and replace it.

"Profile pages? Big deal. You're just doing what MySpace does but cleaner." And then: "Status updates? So you're kind of like Twitter but you also do photos. Hardly visionary." Now: "So you're like Foursquare and Gowalla but without the fun games. But at the same time you're also like Digg or StumbleUpon with your new Like buttons. And also you're incorporating Kongregate and RottenTomatoes and Flixster. WELL I GOT NEWS FOR YOU THERES ALREADY A SITE THAT DOES THAT AND ITS CALLED FOURSQUAREGOWALLADIGGTWITTERFLICKRROTTENTOMATOES AND THERE IS NO CONCEIVABLE WAY PEOPLE WILL BE USING YOU NEXT WEEK FACEBOOK. GET OVER YOURSELF"
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:01 AM on December 15, 2010 [49 favorites]


Here comes a shocker: A lot of people don't care about WikiLeaks.

Here's a shocker: News isn't supposed to be about what people care about, but about what's important. And Time, ostensibly, is a news magazine. Their self-description is "Breaking news and analysis." If Zuckerberg is breaking news, wait until they discover talking pictures and recorded sound!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:02 AM on December 15, 2010 [16 favorites]


You can pick what you get ruffled about?

Actually, yes. It's a good thing to learn how to do.

On preview: damn, Rory.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:03 AM on December 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


Amnesty can name anyone they feel is fitting as a prisoner of conscience. Why not both Assange and Manning?

I'm not prepared to amend my proposed text to include Manning off the top of my head because there are subtleties with which I'm unfamiliar in his case, i.e. all the crap one signs for a security clearance. You might feel there is a clearer case for Manning one you take conditions into account, but I'm dubious that conditions are relevant to the prisoner of conscience label per se.

I would imagine that naming Assange would have vastly more impact within the U.K. than naming Manning would within the U.S. There is otoh a significant advantage to treating both cases simultaneously, so for that I concede your point : If your trying to get Amnesty to investigate Assange's case, why not also try for Manning's case too.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:03 AM on December 15, 2010


(And as I was writing that, the Facebook blog announced a new site that lets you figure out which TV shows your friends watch.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:03 AM on December 15, 2010


Heavens to Betsy!
posted by clavdivs at 10:03 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did that article really include the "word" Facebookization? I can't find my glasses, but I hope I never see that "word" again.
posted by emhutchinson at 10:08 AM on December 15, 2010


This is so bogus, man.

Don't sweat it, all. I'm sure Assange will show up on the cover next year, sporting a big red x.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:11 AM on December 15, 2010


Okay who just posted the Treaty of Westphalia?
posted by Big_B at 10:11 AM on December 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


Amnesty have the following rule: "Amnesty groups must not ask for, assess, or act upon information about individual cases in their own country."

Worth bearing in mind when soliticting them for help in particular cases.
posted by biffa at 10:13 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I should also say that a lot of what really bothers me about Facebook is the hostility of the people who dismiss it. John Gruber, a tech blogger I'm a big fan of, feels the need to remind his readers every time he mentions Facebook that 1) it's stupid, and 2) he doesn't use one, because 3) people who use Facebook are stupid.

When you've organized a part of your life around a web site — not the majority of your life, no, but a considerable part — then it feels really shitty when other people tell you that you're an idiot for using a web site they don't use. It's like when people tell you you're a shitty person for practicing a religion, or for liking a band. Maybe Facebook will go away and be replaced by something else. It's not like if it does I'll be totally pissed or feel like I was wrong for getting a Facebook account. So there's no need for the hostility or the vehemence. It feels so wrong.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:15 AM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wow, the Hitler Man of the Year article is a crazy read. It actually makes me feel slightly less horrified at the state of the world today. The matter-of-fact way it talks about Germany taking Austria and Czechoslavakia and nobody really doing a damn thing is chilling. I knew about all these events, but having it laid out in brief instead of novel form, especially after reading Zuckerberg dreck, was rather powerful.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:16 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hey isn't that the guy from Juno?

After we had seen The Social Network, a friend of mine turned to me and said in all seriousness, "It's hard to believe that is the same guy from Scott Pilgrim."

Of course this same guy, having first seen Gary Sinise in Forrest Gump, maintained for years that Sinise is a double amputee who usually gets about on very well-constructed prostheses.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:16 AM on December 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


So there's no need for the hostility or the vehemence. It feels so wrong.

The consistent hostility online towards anyone anywhere who might be doing something someone disapproves of regardless of whether it is hurting anyone at all, well, that's continually surprising (and disappointing) to me.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:19 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh wait, in 1966 the "man of the year" was young people, and three years later it was all of the middle class.

Time has been full of shit for 50+ years, apparently.

Also fun: notice the difference between the Man O' Year Stalin [as Hitler's ally] and Man O' Year Stalin [as our ally].
posted by paisley henosis at 10:19 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh my
posted by clavdivs at 10:19 AM on December 15, 2010


Damn it. I already used my daily quota of outrage over Neil Diamond's induction to the rock and roll Hall of Fame.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:20 AM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


There isn't the same feeling that your number score equals the entirety of your self-worth on the site. But I've seen a handful of comments from people insisting on their superiority on the site because of how many favorites they have, so I don't for a minute doubt that that system's in place too.

Facebook breaks that system.


4 people like this
posted by Hoopo at 10:20 AM on December 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


Rory Marinich: "Facebook is a system designed to bring people socially together, regardless of what social things they're doing, regardless of if they happen online or offline"

Facebook is a system designed to elicit as much personal information as possible from its users, regardless of what social things they're doing, regardless whether they happen to be online or offline - in order to sell that information to interested third parties.
posted by namewithoutwords at 10:23 AM on December 15, 2010 [32 favorites]


But I've seen a handful of comments from people insisting on their superiority on the site because of how many favorites they have, so I don't for a minute doubt that that system's in place too.

We're all just pretenders to the throne of MeFi user Anonymous.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:24 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


2002: The Whistleblowers

Yeah.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:25 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Do people actually buy this magazine? The only time I've seen a physical copy of it is at my dentists waiting room.

No, no, no, you're telling it wrong:

"I understand TIME Magazine's circulation is 3.4 million. I guess that means there are 3.4 million doctors' waiting rooms in this country."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:25 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


You guys are all electrohipsters. "HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME IVE BEEN ON INTERNETMESSAGEBOARD FOR BASICALLY EVER AND YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO ME SAY THAT FACEBOOK ISNT A BIG DEAL BECAUSE I WAS HERE FIRST." Please. I heard your complaints on vinyl.

[...goes on and on...]


tl;dr: "HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME IVE BEEN ON INTERNETMESSAGEBOARD FOR BASICALLY EVER AND YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO ME SAY THAT FACEBOOK IS A BIG DEAL BECAUSE I WAS HERE FIRST."
posted by Sys Rq at 10:30 AM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


My mother isn't asking about Assange.
Is she talking about Zuckerberg?
I think this is stupid, though I will give some credence to the idea that if you have a movie about you directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin that you should at least be in the running for Person of the Year.
How hard would it be to do a Wikileaks movie at this point? If anyone could do it, Fincher could. The facebook story is even more about people sitting in front of computers then Wikileaks.

Also, as other people pointed out, everything you can say about facebook, you could say in 2008. So what's the point of giving him the award this year?
posted by delmoi at 10:31 AM on December 15, 2010


Sys Rq: So you didn't read his comment, is what you're saying?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:33 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


My maternal grandparents had a subscription to TIME, but they died in the early 90s and I have not seen a physical copy of the magazine since. I had assumed it totally ceased to be and then I joined Metafilter. I am still a baby Mefite in a lot of ways, but I already know that good Mefites should HATE TIME magazine.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 10:33 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Facebook is a system designed to elicit as much personal information as possible from its users, regardless of what social things they're doing, regardless whether they happen to be online or offline - in order to sell that information to interested third parties.

Maybe I'm a dupe but I really don't think in 2003 Mark Zuckerberg was like "Hey guys I have an idea! Maybe we could make money by selling people's information to advertisers! Let's think of something that half a billion people would use! Then we'll sell their information and make MOOLAHS!"

Time's article (which was a really enjoyable read, screw you haters) sort of makes Mark out to be the kind of person who's so in love with this idea of his that he sort of ignores everything else, which is why in 2008 he hired somebody else to figure out the best way to get advertisers. Facebook pre-2008 sucked at convincing me to buy things. It's not like he's some advertising savant.

Also the article specifically says he doesn't sell information. Advertisers don't have a card somewhere that says "Rory Marinich, 20, enjoys bagpipes, Lynch, and puns". Instead, advertisers say "Hey, we have a new bagpipe CD by an ensemble formed in northern New Jersey. Facebook, do you know which 3 people in northern New Jersey like bagpipes? Can you let them know about this in case they might be interested?" And Facebook says, "Sure! I'll call this dude I know!" And then they call me up and tell me, all without that advertiser ever learning my name or my favorite breakfast cereal (French Toast Crunch, which I think has been discontinued).

It's an important distinction to make, because the way Facebook does it, all my information is (relatively) secure, and I'm not being sold. Things are being sold to me, and the advertisers pay Facebook extra to find people who might actually like what they're selling. Of course, we only have Time's word that that's how this works, and Facebook's word, and the word of every person who's ever reported on Facebook's ad system. Plus we can rely on the fact that Facebook wouldn't sell our information, because it would be fucking stupid for them to sell our information, because they don't have to sell our information to make billions of dollars in the ad market, and all that selling our information would do is piss us off.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:34 AM on December 15, 2010 [10 favorites]


Facebook breaks that system. It stores more information and more connections than any other site I can think of. Probably more than Google at this point. But the way it organizes and displays that information is geared entirely towards YOU. Towards what you want to see. What you might like.

Facebook doesn't actually gear anything towards you, does it? You pick your "friends" and Facebook shows you what they're posting. If Facebook's doing some filtering behind the scenes, that would be interesting, but I'm not aware of it.

Also, I don't see Facebook as a replacement of the frontier of the web (and of Google et al). I use Facebook almost solely to keep up with friends and family members. If I tried to use it to keep up with current events or music/film/other entertainment, I think I'd go crazy.
posted by ODiV at 10:34 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I read it, shakespeherian. Unless I'm mistaken, his position is that the internet has become terrible since favorites were introduced.

I mean, jeez. Talk about electrohipsters.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:35 AM on December 15, 2010


Perhaps the idea of “Person of the Year” is not a testament of persons political, scientific or artistic achievement but what they or what they created will become.

Were divisiveness becomes the necessary aspect of polity, the spice will not flow.
posted by clavdivs at 10:36 AM on December 15, 2010


In which case you are mistaken.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:36 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


>The matter-of-fact way it talks about Germany taking Austria and Czechoslavakia and nobody really doing a damn thing is chilling.

Kinda like the matter-of-fact way it(the msm) talked about the U.S.A. taking Iraq and Afghanistan and nobody really doing a damn thing is chilling.

Am I the only one here who has never(and I never will) been on facebook?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:39 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


tl;dr of this thread: Until TIME change the name of their magazine to JULIANN ASSANGE WEEKLY they are Hitler.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


And it would appear that FB is down. At least where I am currently. Anonymous, you're a naughty boy.
posted by ob at 10:40 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pretty much.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 10:41 AM on December 15, 2010


Rereading that sentence Rory, I don't know why I thought you meant that Facebook was doing some work to gear your feed to you personally besides letting you make "friend"s or "like" stuff.
posted by ODiV at 10:42 AM on December 15, 2010


it would appear that FB is down

Popped up lickety-split for me just now.

I then quickly hit the back button on my web browser.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:43 AM on December 15, 2010


I like Time. I've had a subscription for like a decade and a half. I can't do TV news, radio news is somehow even worse and I don't have time to read an entire newspaper every day. Time is like a Cliff's Notes version of the news that gives me a week's worth of information and isn't written on a first-grade level, and a lot of their long-form international coverage is actually really well done. Yeah, their opinion pieces can be pretty terrible sometimes, but they have a lot of decent writers.

As far as the other thing goes, I don't have a Facebook account and hopefully never will. I have a MySpace account because I help edit a music website, and without a MySpace account it's nearly impossible to get current promotional images for articles. Bands seem to slowly be migrating toward Facebook, and if they're going to make their promo shots "Friends Only" (or whatever term Facebook uses) I'm going to have to start haranguing them directly, or they're going to have to get used to me posting images of them from five years ago if we interview them.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:45 AM on December 15, 2010


Popped up lickety-split for me just now.

Hmmm... a couple of us have tried it here in Manhattan and it's down for us...
posted by ob at 10:45 AM on December 15, 2010


See paragraphs 3 through 7, shakespeherian. The rest is just, "And you can make friends and get to know them," as if talking isn't a thing.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 AM on December 15, 2010


Maybe I'm a dupe but I really don't think in 2003 Mark Zuckerberg was like "Hey guys I have an idea! Maybe we could make money by selling people's information to advertisers! Let's think of something that half a billion people would use! Then we'll sell their information and make MOOLAHS!"

You're right. He did it out of the goodness of his heart.
posted by Big_B at 10:47 AM on December 15, 2010


Just subscribed to TIME. Looking forward to articles like "Should You Join Twitter?", "That Rap Music: Your Grandkids Might Be On To Something" and "Wii Sports Looks Like a Fun Way To Pass the Time."
posted by naju at 10:48 AM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Complaints about the choice aside, the article itself is really interesting, especially in its assertion that up until now, Facebook has been a prelude for Zuckerberg, and the actual first act is about to start.

Perhaps they know something we don't. Maybe Facebook isn't actually old news, but about to become very big new news.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:53 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can we talk about what's currently annoying us on Facebook now? Awesome, thanks.

Comments on popular stuff like TV shows, video game franchises, etc. I don't know why I tried reading them to begin with, but they're basically as bad as news site comments, but not as on-topic.

So and so has started using X application. I don't care. And as far as I can tell, I can't block these messages. I can block messages from X application directly, but not the ones telling me who has started using what.

That's pretty much it for now. I also wish I could block stuff to my feed based on certain keywords or whether the exact same message has been posted previously, but that's just wishful thinking.
posted by ODiV at 10:54 AM on December 15, 2010


Kinda like the matter-of-fact way it(the msm) talked about the U.S.A. taking Iraq and Afghanistan and nobody really doing a damn thing is chilling.

Actually, no. I shouldn't have to point out the differences to anyone who knows even the least bit about WWII and the abhorrent mess we're currently involved in. I say this as someone who is utterly opposed to both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:56 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps they know something we don't. Maybe Facebook isn't actually old news, but about to become very big new news.

This would have been a great opportunity for Time to share that information with us
posted by Hoopo at 11:00 AM on December 15, 2010


Maybe it'll show up on Wikileaks.
posted by naju at 11:01 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't mean to be hard on Rory Marinich. I just don't like being immediately written off as a "hipster"--the laziest of ad hominems--followed by a 2100-word wad of hipper-than-thou. It's nothing personal.

Although... You were on FB in high school, you say? In 2005? Well, well, well! If it isn't one of The Youngsters Whose Presence Ruined Facebook! Nice to meet you! Leave a note on your mom's wall saying I blame her too, okay?

(Just kidding. Only Zuckerberg himself is to blame for all that.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:06 AM on December 15, 2010


Strange, it's working fine on handheld devices. Still, it seems like something weird is going on with the site...
posted by ob at 11:06 AM on December 15, 2010


The consistent hostility online towards anyone anywhere who might be doing something someone disapproves of regardless of whether it is hurting anyone at all, well, that's continually surprising (and disappointing) to me.

It sounds like another spin on one or more generations disapproving of what the younger generations are doing. It happened with our parents, and their parents, and so on. People have probably been screaming "Get off my lawn" since before lawns and canes were invented.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:06 AM on December 15, 2010


Should I find myself in a match of The Dozens, I will be prepared.

Your mama talks about Zuckerberg!
posted by Joe Beese at 11:13 AM on December 15, 2010


So and so has started using X application. I don't care. And as far as I can tell, I can't block these messages.

ODiV: I think this is exactly what the "hide user" feature is all about.

That, and being selective about your friends. You don't win some special prize for friending everyone that asks, or win the internet for having 1,500 friends, thus being selective about whose requests you accept arguably provides a much richer overall experience.

I think what Rory and some of the rest of us "get" about FB that maybe the rest of the internet clan doesn't quite grok yet is that Facebook only gives you what you specifically ask for. Ergo, if you happen to friend someone who plays a shitload of Mafia Wars and Farmville, or posts daily Bible quotes and nine million photos of their cat dressed up as the Baby Jesus, that's not Facebook's problem. It is socially the exact same issue as you having to go tell your roommate to please for the love of God, knock it off already with the six dozen repeats of Nevermind.

No one in this world gets to wave a magic wand and make their friends not suck, and that goes double for family might I add (which is why none of mine are on FB as an aside). It's up to you to be selective about the process. Works the same in FB as it does in real life.

If you don't like it, then don't get a Facebook account, jesus, no one's holding a gun to your head. Somehow every time I think the right wing has got the monopoly on narrowminded outrage, I read a thread like this and am reminded how much $PEOPLE just dearly love to go all $OUTRAGEY at $DIFFERENT_OPINION_THAN_MINE.

cheers,

42 year old internet luddite.

you kids take your fucking scooters with you when you vacate my lawn, I'm tired of cleaning up your shit.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:14 AM on December 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


Assange? Manning.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:16 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Plus we can rely on the fact that Facebook wouldn't sell our information, because it would be fucking stupid for them to sell our information, because they don't have to sell our information to make billions of dollars in the ad market, and all that selling our information would do is piss us off.

It would be very stupid of anyone to tell us to our faces that we're being sold. The most insidious type of power is the invisible type, where one is manipulated but totally unaware of the manipulation.

To quote blue_beetle :
If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:18 AM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


It is socially the exact same issue as you having to go tell your roommate to please for the love of God, knock it off already with the six dozen repeats of Nevermind.

You were lucky with your roommate. I had one that played Weezer's "In the Garage" on repeat. Not the whole album, mind you, just the one song.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:19 AM on December 15, 2010


One does not have to be an old fogie to deplore Facebook's methods. One also should not be perceived as attacking Facebook's users when one is attacking Facebook's methods.

All that being said, I can think of one legitimate reason for Zuckerberg to be the POTY this year instead of 2-5 years ago: the movie made him a household name this year—and they seem to dislike having POTYs whose names aren't household.
posted by AugieAugustus at 11:20 AM on December 15, 2010


It would be very stupid of anyone to tell us to our faces that we're being sold. The most insidious type of power is the invisible type, where one is manipulated but totally unaware of the manipulation.

That's one of the reasons I give for not being on Facebook. I'll sell my privacy, sure, but hell if I'm going to give it away.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:21 AM on December 15, 2010


It's an important distinction to make, because the way Facebook does it, all my information is (relatively) secure, and I'm not being sold.

Rory, your wide-eyed optimism is kind of endearing and everything, but Jesus Christ you could not be more wrong.

I mean, Jesus, this is the site where, the way their app architecture is set up, any applications that your FRIENDS install can see all of the information on YOUR profile that they can see. So that, even if you do nothing at all, your data is exposed. So yeah, facebook didn't even sell your data. They just give it away to anyone with an API key.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:25 AM on December 15, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm in finals mode and haven't slept in a couple of days so please forgive all of my repetitive "so"s and "even"s and "Jesus"es
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:27 AM on December 15, 2010


I think what Rory and some of the rest of us "get" about FB that maybe the rest of the internet clan doesn't quite grok yet is that Facebook only gives you what you specifically ask for. Ergo, if you happen to friend someone who plays a shitload of Mafia Wars and Farmville, or posts daily Bible quotes and nine million photos of their cat dressed up as the Baby Jesus, that's not Facebook's problem. (emphasis mine)

Facebook doesn't give you what you specifically ask for. Not even close. Facebook offers you a couple of options (hide all X application / hide all X user). I haven't friended anyone on Facebook who only plays the games and posts annoying things. I have friends who do some of that and also post things I'd like to see. I can either block/defriend them or put up with them doing X on occasion. I can't tell Facebook no links to X please, no notifications at all from X app, photos only from X user, no viral status updates.

Now it's not like anyone else is in this game and doing things better. Those are just my pie in the sky wishes. Blocking all from one user because they occasionally try a new app doesn't make any sense. Especially since everyone on my list probably tries a new app occasionally.
posted by ODiV at 11:27 AM on December 15, 2010


I think what Rory and some of the rest of us "get" about FB that maybe the rest of the internet clan doesn't quite grok yet is that Facebook only gives you what you specifically ask for

There's a lot about FB I don't get, it's true, but I don't know what this means. Other than email spam and pop-up ads, what part of the internet is giving me something I don't ask for? If I'm looking for something in particular, I usually go to a search engine, type in what I'm looking for, and bang! there it is, a bunch of stuff I specifically asked for.
posted by Hoopo at 11:31 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


In honor of his honor, I deactivated my FB account.

(actually there was no relationship -- FB simply doesn't do anything for me)
posted by hockeyfan at 11:34 AM on December 15, 2010


I can't tell Facebook no links to X please, no notifications at all from X app, photos only from X user, no viral status updates.

You can't block the status updates, but you absolutely can block an app from notifying you, and you can block app updates in your feed. In your notifications window, hover over an app notification and an X will appear; in your feed, hovering over an app notification will give you the option to hide that app entirely.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:37 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey! There's a new thread to make entirely about Wikileaks!
posted by Artw at 11:38 AM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Hoopo: "There's a lot about FB I don't get, it's true, but I don't know what this means. Other than email spam and pop-up ads, what part of the internet is giving me something I don't ask for? If I'm looking for something in particular, I usually go to a search engine, type in what I'm looking for, and bang! there it is, a bunch of stuff I specifically asked for"

It means if you friend people who play a lot of Farmtown, expect a lot of Farmtown posts in your Home page. If you friend people with interests similar to yours, chances are you'll see plenty of posts you can appreciate.

It's a social networking site. You know how in real life, you avoid some people, tolerate others to varying extents, pal around at times with others still and are best buds with a few? Why should a website that connects people do all that for you? Filter out what you can, learn to live with what you can't, and have fun with what you like. You know, just like outside the internet.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:41 AM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rory: I just checked and you're right. Did they just change that recently? Because it seemed like when those "Soandso started playing X" notices came up, I would only be able to block all from Soandso or just that individual post. I could go to individual notices from the game like "Soandso just got a donkey!" and block the game, but the notices about them starting to play it remained.

I wonder if someone has this archived somewhere, because I swear this was the case just a few days ago.
posted by ODiV at 11:41 AM on December 15, 2010


Facebook is down because all of our parents just tried to join.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:47 AM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


You were lucky with your roommate. I had one that played Weezer's "In the Garage" on repeat. Not the whole album, mind you, just the one song.

I was that roommate (or really, my boyfriend was). The song was "I Saw the Sign" by Ace of Base. His upstairs neighbor finally came down and said, "All I can hear is bass!"
posted by muddgirl at 11:51 AM on December 15, 2010


No, that's been doable for a year or two. Thank god. Otherwise I'd be flooded with daily horoscopes.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:52 AM on December 15, 2010


No, I specifically mean the "Chris has started playing Superhero City" or "Chris started using Questions about Me!" notices that only seemed to come up recently. Not the notices from the apps themselves, but the notice that the user has started using the app.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. I should've taken a screenshot because I swear I couldn't get rid of those.
posted by ODiV at 11:55 AM on December 15, 2010


Shit, Rory. You might have convinced me to start a Facebook account.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:56 AM on December 15, 2010


More importantly, Mark Zuckerberg was the subject of a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE from the director of SE7EN and FIGHT CLUB!
posted by mrgrimm


Time's 2007 Person of the Year is..... THE ZODIAC KILLER!

(PS: Please come forward and claim your prize.)
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:06 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why should a website that connects people do all that for you?

I...don't know? Does such a website exist? It's a little frustrating that merely saying I don't really like Facebook that much and can do any of these things without it is generating all this outrage, and that my friends are lamer than yours, and I'm an electro-hipster. Yes, Facebook is a website, an immensely popular one. I still see it as essentially the same thing as having an email account where people send everything "to all" for their entire contact list. There's nothing wrong with that, but that I don't see it as significant for much other than it's omnipresence doesn't make me an asshole.
posted by Hoopo at 12:07 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


And then they call me up and tell me, all without that advertiser ever learning my name or my favorite breakfast cereal (French Toast Crunch, which I think has been discontinued).
posted by Rory Marinich


I know most people are taking issues with your Facebook-based opinions, but this? This I cannot abide.

French Toast Crunch was fucking disgusting. That cereal was soggy as soon as milk came within 20 feet of it. It was Cinnamon Toast Crunch after a bad botox accident.

Don't try to couch your cereal anarchism in massive Facebook rants to try and influence us with your subversive breakfast ideas. It has not gone unnoticed. Your tactic has not worked.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:11 PM on December 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


Maybe the European edition of Time that I read is substantially different to the US edition, but I quite like the magazine. Sure, some of the articles (especially about technology. Man, there's no end to how much they get that wrong) are quite obviously written by middle-aged journos trying desperately to sound hip and down with the kids today. But it's also one of my primary print sources for coverage of American politics, among other things. Also, I enjoy the pictures.

As far as Zuckerberg is concerned, can't we just say that him getting POTY was well-deserved, albeit way late?
posted by diogenetic at 12:11 PM on December 15, 2010


Are we deep enough into the thread that I can ask for a Diaspora invite?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 12:13 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hoopo: "I...don't know? Does such a website exist? It's a little frustrating that merely saying I don't really like Facebook that much and can do any of these things without it is generating all this outrage, and that my friends are lamer than yours, and I'm an electro-hipster. Yes, Facebook is a website, an immensely popular one. I still see it as essentially the same thing as having an email account where people send everything "to all" for their entire contact list. There's nothing wrong with that, but that I don't see it as significant for much other than it's omnipresence doesn't make me an asshole"

I really don't think anyone's calling you an asshole for not using Facebook. At least, I wasn't. To each their own and all. But I think Rory was speaking to the sneering and ridicule people quite predictable dump on Facebook based on their own misconceptions of the site; not their matters of personal taste.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:14 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


XQUZYPHYR (Well, actually TIME): "mapping the social relations among them"

I'd be a lot more impressed with Facebook if it wasn't so silo-based and did actually, you know, do some social relationship mapping. Even LinkedIn lets me see 2nd, 3rd, etc relations. Why can't I run a link trace for set of 1st-degree disjoint profiles or groups within Facebook? I realise that Friendster had this years ago and made it slow as crap, and that when Facebook came along with its cheaper, faster 1st degree only link tracing, it made Friendster's response time feel like treacle. But it's 2010 and FB has a lot more cash... I'm pretty sure it could afford to produce these sorts of maps and user navigation tools without impacting performance. I am left thinking, then, that the silo decision to avoid actually mapping and displaying social relations is basic social engineering: keep the frat kids separate from the ghetto kids, keep the suburban soccer moms isolated from the poor urban moms. A large part of FB's success is that it enables this sort of social segregation without appearing to enforce it.

FB is singularly successful at keeping casual users restricted within their close affinity networks. Unless they try hard, with something like OpenBook that randomly dumps them into unconnected affinity networks, FB users never have to experience much difference or diversity from what they already know. It's definitely not like MySpace, where there's almost some sort of emergent rule that upon clicking on random linked profiles, you will emerge within a swinger or stripper network within 5-10 clicks or so.
posted by meehawl at 12:18 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, is like winning the Heisman and makes you doomed?
posted by jadepearl at 12:18 PM on December 15, 2010


Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything. Facebook executed.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:22 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


ODiV, I'm sure you're right. I've had the same frustration and my solution was just to mark those things as spam. I have no idea what effect that has other than hiding the notice from the list, but no one has complained to me so there probably isn't a "Hey X, Godbert things you're spamming!" thing that they get, and these people are still posting stuff so they haven't been banned.
posted by Godbert at 12:25 PM on December 15, 2010


If I tried to use it to keep up with current events or music/film/other entertainment, I think I'd go crazy.

If you want to follow a lot of musical acts (i.e. hundreds), I find it fairly valuable. Just "Like" those 200-300 acts on Facebook (if they manage their pages, which they often do), then set up a custom list (mine is called "Music") to which you add those pages. Click "Music" in your Friends nav, and voila: updates from all the bands you like.

I'd go crazy (or spend A LOT more time that I do now) trying to track them all without Facebook (and/or Twitter). I get a lot of early concert announcements, free songs, videos, news, etc. about bands I'm interested in via Facebook.

Facebook doesn't actually gear anything towards you, does it? You pick your "friends" and Facebook shows you what they're posting. If Facebook's doing some filtering behind the scenes, that would be interesting, but I'm not aware of it.

The "filtering" (which I find annoying) is mostly an algorithm to present you with the most "clickable" content via the Top News home page. I think there may also be some friend filtering going on in the Recent News stream... Facebook's main goal is to get you to spend as much time on Facebook (and click as many pages) as possible.

I'll sell my privacy, sure, but hell if I'm going to give it away.

Is your phone number listed in the yellow pages? How much did they pay you?

I can't tell Facebook no links to X please, no notifications at all from X app

What? Then how come I don't get Farmville/Mafia Wars/Crappy App updates even though I know that some of my friends play (and post)?

You don't want to see Foursquare posts? Click the X on the next one you get and you will be given 3 options: Hide; Hide all by [FRIEND]; Hide all by Foursquare.

Click "Hide all by Foursquare" and you will never see another Foursquare post. It certainly works on Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc. I hardly get ANY app updates, except for my favorite of course: Cow Clicker.

(Oops. I see Rory got that one. That option has been around for a long time. As long as Farmville has, I think.)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:47 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


People still read TIME?
posted by xqwzts at 12:50 PM on December 15, 2010


No, they just talk about it.
posted by ODiV at 12:54 PM on December 15, 2010


Is your phone number listed in the yellow pages? How much did they pay you?

No.

Also, Facebook shares a lot more information than telephone numbers.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:01 PM on December 15, 2010


I started using it when I was 15, so the entirety of my adult life has been Facebook-connected. I feel that's for the better.

See, I think that's where us oldsters sometimes feel a little iffy about the Facebook thing. I have a Facebook account. I think it's great as a lazy way of keeping in touch with people I don't get to see very often. There are definitely people that I have become close to on Facebook that I would not ordinarily have felt connected to had my interactions with them been only in real life.

But my very closest friends are not people I met on Facebook, and in fact, I have very little contact with my closest friends on Facebook even though most of them have accounts. I can only speak for myself here, but as someone who remembers a time before the interwebz, I have found that my most meaningful personal connections have been the ones I made out in the world, not in cyberspace. And in most cases, if I want to connect with my closest friends I do it in person, on the phone, or through e-mail (which I hear is soon going to be obsolete...does this mean snail mail will make a comeback?). "Connecting" with these close friends through a Facebook feed doesn't feel like connecting at all to me. I need face-to-face interaction with my true friends.

I'm not saying Facebook is evil, just that it isn't (and maybe shouldn't) be the standard we set ourselves for personal interaction. In fact, I actually have a theory that all this cyber-connecting we do has actually made us collectively more intolerant, because finding people who share your specialized outlook on life is easier when you have all of the web to choose from, and therefore we don't feel as compelled to try and get along with the people we meet in our daily life. But I digress.
posted by Go Banana at 1:03 PM on December 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


mrgrimm: To clarify again, I'm pretty sure these messages were not blockable until fairly recently. The "Hide All by X" line was simply not there on messages telling you that a friend started using an app or playing a game.
posted by ODiV at 1:05 PM on December 15, 2010


I am left thinking, then, that the silo decision to avoid actually mapping and displaying social relations is basic social engineering: keep the frat kids separate from the ghetto kids, keep the suburban soccer moms isolated from the poor urban moms. A large part of FB's success is that it enables this sort of social segregation without appearing to enforce it.

I have dim memories of Facebook telling me more about friends-of-friends a long, long time ago (also something with a map of your friendship web that I could never get to work), but I'm guessing the reasons why they don't do so much of this now have a lot more to do with user privacy concerns than with social segregation. People have already lost their shit over Facebook privacy issues multiple times, and I can't imagine that telling people about these sort of connections would go over well with people who are already on edge about what Facebook is showing people they don't know.
posted by Copronymus at 1:05 PM on December 15, 2010


The most annoying thing about Facebook is that I want to let all my friends (who keep annoying me with "come join Facebook!" autoemails) know that I will never, ever join Facebook, but in order to tell them all at once I will apparently have to fucking join Facebook.
posted by elizardbits at 1:08 PM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


For all its flaws, Facebook is a significantly wonderful thing. It's changed my life so thoroughly that I can't imagine what my life would be without Facebook. I started using it when I was 15, so the entirety of my adult life has been Facebook-connected. [...]

I do get frustrated, though, with how dense the people commenting on Facebook (both here and elsewhere) are. Facebook has literally been talking about its grand vision since I started using it in 2005...



You grew up on Facebook in the late 00's. I grew up on Arbornet in the early 90's. The difference between what we wanted then and what we have now is striking.

Your data is locked to Facebook's walled garden. Mine was entirely portable. I was able to migrate from place to place over the years because Arbornet was just a straight up UNIX system. I've got all my email, ascii art, chat logs and scripts going back to 1990 or so. 20 years from now, where will your Facebook content be? How do you know it won't just evaporate? You can pooh-pooh the importance of data portability if you want, but I sure won't. That data is who I am. It's more precious to me than any physical object. It's a record of my life in a way that no diary could ever be.

Facebook is a meeting place. Arbornet/Grex/Well and all the other Internet-connected BBSes were communities. You'd show up knowing no one and were forced to go meet new people. You'd chat up strangers, none of whom were anything like you, and learn a ton about how other people live and think. It was AWESOME and that experience played a large role in shaping who I am today.

BBSes were basically content-free portals to the broader Internet that pushed you out into a new world of ideas. Usenet? IRC? Those things are the antithesis of Facebook. Facebook doesn't push you into a big new world. It lets you retreat into a little familiar one. I've used it enough to know that I'll never learn shit from Facebook. It's not expanding my horizons.

Facebook is absolutely the opposite of what I want the Internet to be. It's pushing the world back into the walled gardens of AOL and Prodigy and CompuServe. Facebook users are the new AOL users.

I think Zuckerburg might deserve Person of the Year, but not a good way.
posted by pjaust at 1:09 PM on December 15, 2010 [29 favorites]


It's a little frustrating that merely saying I don't really like Facebook that much and can do any of these things without it is generating all this outrage, and that my friends are lamer than yours, and I'm an electro-hipster.

*sigh* Okay, I won't pretend to speak for Rory, except to say that he was being a tad hyperbolic there. Dude, no one said that, or at least, that wasn't the intent.

I think the outrage being projected here is not necessarily coming from our little FB-Supporter-Camp with the rickety stockade and the shabby hand-lettered flag, so to direct that back at us seems kinda "NO YOU ARE" in some fashion that I am not articulating very cleverly.

The outrage here, right here in this thread; all this directionless, seething vitriol is aimed at an internet site, nay, its founder, who simply had the audacity to have a better idea than six+ billion of the rest of us. And I'm not sure what to make of that, really.

It seems (at least in my analysis) that somehow, because an admittedly archaic news source had the temerity (oh my stars!) to award a shiny gold prize (which isn't even relevant according to half the commenters here) to a guy who came up with a rather clever idea to provide a service that the mass market has since wholeheartedly grasped onto as a Good Thing, that somehow this gives us the licence to call him out as being unworthy of the notice? Granted, Facebook is old news, and it must be since I've had a profile since at least 2007. However, the subtle change effect that Facebook is potentially having on society? Well, kids, the jury's still out on that. What I do know that nowadays when I want to get rid of $OLD_OUTDOOR_LIFESTYLE_WIDGET, I post a quick "hey who wants X?" on my Wall, not on craigslist or ebay or Freecycle. Because, bottom line, it gets seen by a targeted audience and goes away quicker. Plus my friends seem to appreciate our used ski, bike and camping gear. So there is that.

I'm somewhat certain that the bulk of the outrage here is just because the dirty unwashed mainstream is out there adopting it in droves (oh shit! WAL-MART SHOPPERS!!!... Zoe, hide the kids and our organic free-range spinach, they maybe dangerous!). Ergo, it's gotta suck bigger schlongs than U2's latest sellout album.

A decade or so ago in this country, I remember similar attitudes about mobile phones as they started to really take off in popularity. They were looked upon as the Tool of the Idle Wealthy and if you had one, you Must Be a Poseur or a Goddamned Lawyer. Then they were portrayed as the Next AntiChrist by the media, who are all about outrage and controversy to sell eyeballs. Nowadays? not so much, well okay now it's those-goddamn-kids-texting-will-bring-the-End-Days-OMG, but yea. Cellphones are nearly as ubiquitous as cars in the developed world, and no one thinks much of them except as communication tool.

Social networking as Facebook presents it is a net-positive thing in my life. I get to chatter and interact with a bunch of neat people with diverse views that intersect with mine, who are widely scattered across the globe. So, okay, Facebook tells advertisers I'm a cyclist who likes Top Gear and the little brewpub up the way. That's the same level of okay with me as the fact that I am currently wearing Merrell shoes with the brand prominently displayed on the heel tag.

You may not agree. That's fine. Don't buy Merrills, or put up a profile on Facebook. Perhaps I'm just inured to it all, since I live in the good ole USA, cradle of the Consumer Mentality. I guess to me it's more than a little naive to think I'm not going to be bludgeoned by marketing wherever I go, and at least FB does a well-integrated, not-obnoxious job of it.

Nothing on the Internet is free; even if you think you may not be paying for it, there's a cost somewhere. So if I want this service (my online social network, which I do value) then I pay for it by allowing them to target-market me. That's fine with me, it's just like the vanity tag on my shoes, I ignore it. And, Facebook, at the very least, so far hasn't ever spammed me or blathered at me about stuff I've zero interest in, unlike fifty million other places I go on the web EVEN INCLUDING (ahem) mathowie up there in the upper right-hand corner.

To me all this outragefilter about the ZOMGUNFAIRNESS!! of Zuckerberg-vs.-Assange tho? It smells like the equivalent of a Your Favourite Band Sucks argument spawned by a crappy Pitchfork top ten list.

And getting all LOLZJUDGMENTAL on the guy because he "looks like a fratboy so I'd like to punch him in the face"?? Jesus Christ wept. I thought we as a website were better than that.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:11 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


mrgrimm: To clarify again, I'm pretty sure these messages were not blockable until fairly recently. The "Hide All by X" line was simply not there on messages telling you that a friend started using an app or playing a game.

ODiV, I've been using that selective app-blocking tool for... oh hell, what, 18 months or so now? Granted, it's somewhat hidden and seems unavailable on iOS, but it's been there.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:19 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, Facebook shares a lot more information than telephone numbers.

Ye gods. I am far from a huge Facebook fan, but can we please get past this? This sort of vague, ominous warning is like watching a Greek tragedy where the sybil steps forth from behind a pillar, utters a dire prophecy, and slips away again, leaving Agamemnon to puzzle out the riddle.

For five years I have been reading alarmist tripe about how everyone who goes on Facebook has his or her social insurance number and credit card numbers on display for all.

It shares exactly what you put on it. My mother is on facebook under her maiden name with no photo and no interests, and she is on it purely to keep in touch with a few former colleagues who use that as an e-mail server. Facebook could potentially share a name she has not gone by since the Johnson administration, which is not connected to her usual identity in any way whatsoever. Please -- for our benefit -- outline what danger she faces.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:20 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Never saw the movie, and not planning on doing so. Toddler CEO, bla bla bla. Meh. 60 Minutes already proved its irrelevance (again) with last week's non-story on the kid & FB. But funny to see how funneling classified shit onto the web turns a purported sex offender into a folk hero 'worthy' of this non-honor from an erstwhile news rag.
posted by VicNebulous at 1:36 PM on December 15, 2010


Ah, here we go. I'm not crazy.

You haven't been doing this for 18 months lonefrontranger because these messages have only been around for the past little while.

I'm thankful they changed this anyway.
posted by ODiV at 1:36 PM on December 15, 2010


mrgrimm: To clarify again, I'm pretty sure these messages were not blockable until fairly recently. The "Hide All by X" line was simply not there on messages telling you that a friend started using an app or playing a game.

Yeah, that's relatively new, and now in the past few days, I'm seeing notices about apps that I cannot block by hiding all posts by the app- they're like links posted directly by the friend, I can only block the individual post or the friend himself. It seems those particular developers found a loophole, and they're going to exploit it until Facebook closes it up. I swear, Facebook is the most confusing website I've ever been a member of. Just when I get to understanding it, it changes again. And I'm web-savvy! How other people (like my Grammy and my aunts) learn to navigate it is beyond me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:39 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh preview, YES, ODiV, I am seeing those, too! You are not alone.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:40 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


sorry, ODiV, didn't realize you were talking about "started using" notices, which are a new thing. I'd never seen one before. Now, of course, I did get one today and it's hideable. I didn't realize they weren't for a while, but good to know they fixed that.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:07 PM on December 15, 2010


If you don't like it, then don't get a Facebook account, jesus, no one's holding a gun to your head.

The counterargument to this is easy.

I'm someone who has a lot of friends who are "early adopters", and I'm one myself. I've been aware of Facebook ever since it first started and when you still needed a .edu email address to sign up and the whole thing was just for colleges and universities.

I've told this story on MeFi before - that I had to create a Facebook account just in order to delete it, that I wanted to be permanently banned and blocked. I was getting so many goddamn auto-harvested invitations where people I didn't even know had signed up for Facebook and my email address was harvested from their address books.

This is due to the number of art, music, science, politics, culture and other special interest group listserv-like email lists that I'm on. You folks remember email lists, right? They've been around for decades now. They predate Usenet, we even used them on BBSes, and they're still around providing real grass roots social networking and communication.

Some of the lists I'm on could be considered... politically interesting. There's a lot of cross-pollination between art and politics. Some of the people on some of these lists are not people I would associate myself with online or off. They are not people I would invite to dinner, because I think they're potentially crazy and unpleasant.

Yet Facebook thinks they're my friends because they happen to have my email address in their address book, because gmail or whatever email client they're using automatically harvested my address from some post on some list we're both on.

So now I start getting invitations to Facebook from these non-friends, to view content that I don't want to load, to read politically charged posts that I don't agree with or even really want to pollute my brain with. And my email address is now socially linked to these people, because they're the ones that are dumb and/or crazy enough to let Facebook rape their entire gmail contact list. Not just one person, dozens of people that I don't want to be associated with in public, or on a private marketing database with dubious security practices and ethics. People I've never met before outside of say, reading a comment I disagree with on an email list.

Sorry, but this auto-association is not ok. It's fucking dangerous. I don't want to be associated or listed as anything remotely resembling a contact with someone who is stupidly vocal about being a monkey-wrenching Earth First anarchist or something just because we happened to be on the same email list about raves eight fucking years ago and for some reason my email address is still in their address book.


So I made Facebook permanently ban and delete my email address, that I never wanted to ever see another invite or an announcement emailed to me from Facebook.com. That if someone joins with my email address in their contact list, that that email address needs to be deleted and never associated with anything.

Of course, Facebook isn't blocking/deleting my email address. They've just set up a filter so I never get emailed. I'm still unwillingly in their fucking massive database.

Turns out I'm not even permabanned. After a blissful year of silence, someone recently tried to activate a Facebook account using my email address, starting the process all over again, but this time the support staff remembered who I was and handled it quickly when I wrote them a "HEY WTF!?" email about it.

However, I'm still in their fucking scary database. Sure, they're not holding a gun to my head. They're pointing something worse at my head. A massive, distributed relational database run by idiot monkeys who don't really give a flying fuck about privacy. The only thing they care about is getting people hooked on their Kool-Aid so they'll spend lots and lots of time in Facebook's walled garden, building up lots of complicated, valuable data to sell to marketers.

Facebook is not your friend. It's a company with a salable product, and that product is your privacy and your life.

If you can't understand why this is a problem, it's your failure to understand that's the problem.
posted by loquacious at 2:29 PM on December 15, 2010 [25 favorites]


Maybe it's a sign of just how old (or old-fashioned), or how "dense," or how socially inept I am that while I appreciate and am in awe of FB's significance and of the way it has ballooned into "a service that the mass market has since wholeheartedly grasped onto as a Good Thing," I don't share the outrage against the outrage. Nor can I get over the paranoia that the shiny and beneficent things that FB can do go hand-in-hand with the not-so-good things that FB can also do and does do -- with its users' information, their trust, and otherwise and beyond.

At the same time, the TIME article hits on something very true when it says: "This won't make life any easier for people who aren't on Facebook. The bigger social networks get, the more pressure there is on everybody else to join them, which means that they tend to pick up speed as they grow, and to grow until they saturate their markets. It's going to get harder and harder to say no to Facebook and to the authentically wonderful things it brings, and the authentically awful things too."
posted by blucevalo at 2:45 PM on December 15, 2010


Time joins the gutless chickenshits too scared to recognise Assange. I am shocked. SHOCKED, I say.
posted by Decani at 2:52 PM on December 15, 2010


Facebook is absolutely the opposite of what I want the Internet to be. It's pushing the world back into the walled gardens of AOL and Prodigy and CompuServe. Facebook users are the new AOL users.

Strictly speaking, I grew up on message boards, not Facebook. I actually only got into social networks because I was on the Quality Assurance Team for a budding social network startup that intended to create a unified social space between separate forums. So if you were a user of XYZ Sports Forum, you could make a really sexy profile, and then also if you wanted to join XYZ Comedy Forum you'd have an instant one-click registration.

I love decentralized nonwalled gardens for some things. I love MetaFilter, which is relatively open. I still use forums on occasion; I still DESIGN forums. I love trying to develop systems that somehow civilize groups of absolute strangers. I love IRC even though it drains my life completely when I power it up. I never used newsgroups, but I realize acutely just what I missed.

Most people don't want that. Most people were never going to start wanting that. The guy I live with would NEVER join a forum. He wants to chat with the friends that he has, not meet NEW people. I'd like to state again that I'm not like that. I'm on MetaFilter because it's a community of some incredible people, all of whom I'd like to meet and befriend.

I don't get why Facebook and MetaFilter can't coexist. Why I can't have the walled garden of me and my friends, and then go out and explore everything else. Why the walled garden can't be used to enhance certain things, whereas other things I have to explore entirely on my own. And, vice-versa, why you can't bring things from the outside back into Facebook, and bring them to the attention of everybody else. I'm a vocal MeFite on my Facebook, and recommend it as a site to many friends.

If Facebook was actually trying to replace the Internet, or patrol it, or keep it enclosed, like was the case of AOL, then I'd have a problem. But it's not. Facebook doesn't get jealous when I leave it.

(Also, you're wrong about its not being open. Facebook has had a data exporter available for a few months now, which lets you save all your data in one nice easy bundle. But I don't care. I understand why people like open spaces but I've never wanted one. My data doesn't really mean much to me.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:02 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


its founder, who simply had the audacity to have a better idea than six+ billion of the rest of us.

There wasn't anything novel about building a social network in 2004. The original site was pretty barebones could have easily been in a PHP/MySQL tutorial book. And the addition of the wall, for instance, just recreated a familiar feature dating back to BBSes. What's really impressive, and what the movie The Social Network captured quite well, was the process of slowly building a critical mass while rejecting efforts to monetize the site too early.

The entire value of a social network derives from the anti-commons network effect of having many users. But instead of beginning by being open to the entire Internet, Facebook grew one college at a time, through hundreds of colleges, before it even opened up to anyone with an .edu email address. At each school, Facebook felt like a walled garden that was safe enough for a solid majority of students to sign up and share their information with their classmates. I signed up because it wasn't asking me to share any more than I would tell anyone in a random dorm conversation. By the time the whole thing opened up to the rest of the world, the network effect had made the site seem useful enough to outweigh the loss of "cool" or the privacy concerns that kept a fair number of people off MySpace. This initial core of college-age users who were already hooked was then the nucleus that allowed Facebook to build a network that included high schoolers and grandparents, and not in a creepy way.

And I still don't think they've really tried to monetize it. Because their utility grows as they add users (and they call themselves a "social utility"), they have no real incentive to do more than just cover their costs until they've made themselves absolutely indispensable.
posted by stopgap at 3:38 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, Talky Von Talkenstein, get a freakin' blog. THIS MEANS YOU
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:40 PM on December 15, 2010


Sorry, but this auto-association is not ok. It's fucking dangerous. I don't want to be associated or listed as anything remotely resembling a contact with someone who is stupidly vocal about being a monkey-wrenching Earth First anarchist or something just because we happened to be on the same email list about raves eight fucking years ago and for some reason my email address is still in their address book.

None of this is unique to Facebook. You can't stop any of those people from putting up their association with you on a Blogger page, or their personal Wiki, or whatever. Maybe Facebook makes it easier, but you have no control over what other people do with your information on the internet. None. If you gave them your email address, it's too late to take it back. I don't see why Facebook is the target of your anger, it should be anyone who you gave information to who shared it back out publicly.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:48 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is Facebook on WikiLeaks?

Is WikiLeaks on Facebook?

QED.
posted by mmrtnt at 3:56 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Queen Elizabeth II? Really?
posted by Flunkie at 4:09 PM on December 15, 2010


You know who else was Time's person of the year?

I was.


You are not unique here: Time Person of the Year:

2006 You
1969 The Middle Americans
1966 The Generation Twenty-Five and Under
posted by ovvl at 4:25 PM on December 15, 2010


I liked lite.facebook.com before they killed it.

At this point, there are too many users on Facebook for it to lose its dominant position, I can't remember the quote about network value being proportional to the exponent of the number of nodes (or the total number of connections) but it describes social networks even better than it does computer networks. This is what my Facebook boycotting friends don't get. Yes, it's possible to design a better network than Facebook, and it has probably happened several times over. But without the ability to steal Facebook's profiles and connections you are competing in the race from so far back you can't even cross the starting line in your lifetime. At this point if every other social network out there tried to gang up to take down Facebook I'm not sure it'd be possible. I'm on Facebook because it's the only effective way to keep up with most of my friends in a rich way, and for all the pain in the ass factor, it's the friends who are only on friendfeed/buzz/email who are creating more aggravation for me.

That said, I'm a compartmentalized person, and I detest Facebook's flattening of my circles of friends. I'd like to sometimes exclude some people from seeing some posts. I'm at the point where I'm considering creating separate business and social accounts, which would solve about half my problems. I'd still have to figure out how to keep my pro-dom friends separate from my Mormon friends among other issues.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:48 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've always had this sneaking suspicion that Facebook is actually a government plot. They wont have to spy on us anymore, we'll just give them all the information they want on fucking Facebook.
posted by jonmc at 5:05 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


That said, I'm a compartmentalized person, and I detest Facebook's flattening of my circles of friends. I'd like to sometimes exclude some people from seeing some posts.
I believe that you can do that. I don't know details, but I think you can set up groups of people, and set posts/photos/whatever to only be viewable by members of a certain group.
posted by Flunkie at 5:12 PM on December 15, 2010


and for all the pain in the ass factor, it's the friends who are only on friendfeed/buzz/email who are creating more aggravation for me.

Uh-oh, is that a common feeling? I much prefer sending email to my out-of-town friends and I hope it's not seen as a pain in the ass these days. A lot of people I know could be described as entrepreneurs or self-employed, so their Facebook contacts include a lot of clients and potential clients--considerations like that can really limit your options for appropriate comments and topics. The conversation like the one upthread about the most ridiculous band of the 90s? I'd be all over that normally because I love talking about music (it's Ugly Kid Joe, btw), but not really appropriate for me because my best friend does design work for major label artists and I don't know who's looking at his page. Beyond which, I'm strongly opinionated and tend to speak pretty bluntly--Facebook means I need to conceal my personality to some degree around my friends. What BrotherCaine is saying about being compartmentalized is very true, Facebook presents some challenges that can't be easily overcome. It's like an open mic.

I'm also a bit skeptical about some of the claims being made about Facebook--I think the "connecting people" angle is a bit overstated. It certainly can, no question...who hasn't had someone from the 6th grade track them down on Facebook? But I take that to mean creating new connections, and in the case of Facebook I'm not connecting in any significant way with anyone I wasn't already connected to in some sense. The people I interact with on Facebook are people I already know and like. The network was there already, Facebook is just another way of putting it to the proverbial paper, like my email contact list or my book of phone numbers. Maybe like some kind of organizer for that sort of information. I can certainly see the value in that and why Zuckerberg has made a pile of money, but I'm not sure it's represented a major change in how we communicate or stay in touch so much as it's provided us with a new venue or medium.
posted by Hoopo at 6:10 PM on December 15, 2010


I am heartbroken to learn that French Toast Crunch has been discontinued. I don't live in the US anymore and it is a struggle to find good, super-sugary kid-type cereal here. It was a major victory more me to find a supermarket that stocks Cinnamon Toast Crunch (and here they call it Curiously Cinnamon).

But I lived in hope of returning for a visit one day and stocking up on French Toast Crunch, among others. God damn it.
posted by Put the kettle on at 6:26 PM on December 15, 2010


Talk is cheap. It's never meant much that some people I don't like say they're best buds with me.

Facebook makes talk cheaper. It adds a bunch of stupid auto-harvested associations onto whatever other people say about me.

People can get information on me, sure, but it's mostly crap information. The only really reliable information about me is on my own profile. (It doesn't say much.) Anything else about me, any photos tagged with my name or whatever--that's all deniable. If I didn't personally put that there, it is more than likely it doesn't mean anything. So anyone who tries to make decisions about me, or what to sell to me, or who to tell about me, who uses that shitty information, will end up wasting their time.

If someone eventually wants to make someone else angry at me, they might be able to do that by reaching into the Facebook vault and pulling out some terrorist who says they know me, but that's an Ayers connection. Even when those connections are real, they don't mean much. That tactic didn't even work very well for John McCain.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:56 PM on December 15, 2010


I do get frustrated, though, with how dense the people commenting on Facebook (both here and elsewhere) are. Facebook has literally been talking about its grand vision since I started using it in 2005...

I love the argument that mefites who hate facebook must not get it because they're internet oldsters and thus weren't early adopters or they don't understand it or something because I joined it in 2004 (as soon as they opened up to non-Ivies, as I did not go to an Ivy). Though to be fair I was also an early adopter of friendster, myspace, and themakeoutclub, and though I missed BBSes by a few years (my husband was a BBSer, though; some of his old BBS friends are coming to a party we're having next week and i've been informed that this will be a MEET), I was pretty active on usenet, diaryland, opendiary, livejournal, uh, AOL, and a bunch of other stuff (onlyundiesclub? I seem to remember something called that. Eesh).

And I'd have to agree that the walled garden metaphor is apt, because facebook feels just like AOL did before it bundled web browsers into it. Funny, because I was thinking about this the other day--I was watching old nickelodeon shows on youtube and they had a commercial for somethingsomething keyword: Nick. Thing is, I reached a point as a teenager where the internet opened up for me. I remember the very first time I searched for something outside of AOL (undoubtedly it was some Pern fandom stuff) and discovered strangers and then went and chatted with people in a private chat room instead of one of those AOL-moderated teen chats (a/s/l?). But with, say, my mother, that never happened. When we finally convinced her to stop giving AOL 50 bucks a month and get DSL, she kept asking us where her mailbox was.

And that's facebook for 90% of the users, and I guess that's fine, though sometimes creepy (seriously? the clicker thing? creepy, really creepy. I don't want my baby cousins and those pregnant girls from my high school to know how much Lexx I watch! I mean, there's a reason we're just facebook friends and don't actually talk and one of them is not having to explain why I like the weird TV I do), but it's also really limiting, and limited. Ushering the rest of the internet into facebook seems to have the effect of making the internet smaller. We have the sum of all human knowledge at our fingertips--I want to have conversations with the world. That's what all this social networking has always been about. If I wanted to talk to just those kids from my home town, I'd still be living in my home town.

Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again: facebook relevance declines rapidly after college and it's plummeted in usefulness since graduate school. A few weeks ago, I sent out the aforementioned party invite on there and got repeated IMs (on other services . . .) from people about how they heard something was happening but don't check their facebook invites and so can I send it again. Christ, if the service isn't even good for that, I don't know what it's good for.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:22 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Colbert's take: "Sorry Julian Assange, I guess you didn't violate enough people's privacy."
posted by Burhanistan at 8:33 PM on December 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


"the person who affected current events the most for better or worse"

If the Personal Computer was Time's "Person" Of The Year In 1982, then the BP Oil Spill should've been "Person" of The Year in 2010.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:01 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know I'm really late in this thread, but I read Greg Nog's comment in Sean Connery's voice.
posted by Evernix at 9:50 PM on December 15, 2010


That said, I'm a compartmentalized person, and I detest Facebook's flattening of my circles of friends. I'd like to sometimes exclude some people from seeing some posts. I'm at the point where I'm considering creating separate business and social accounts, which would solve about half my problems. I'd still have to figure out how to keep my pro-dom friends separate from my Mormon friends among other issues.

I think that's Facebook's Achilles heel (worlds colliding!), and one that I don't see an easy solution to (though perhaps multiple accounts or profiles might be the ticket).

We are all interesting/funny/loveable to our various friends for various different reasons. We all are different individuals depending on the person we are interacting with. (We won't make the same jokes with John at work as we do with Ed at the bar, etc.)

The complexity of human interaction is a marvelous thing. As your circle of friends becomes flatter and flatter, so does your personality. As Facebooks hits critical mass (it's darn close), profiles will become less interesting, leading users into more exotic, pro-dom back channels. (I think I'm going to try to pass "pro-dom" off as a Latin phrase in my next meeting.)

...

Honestly, though, as this prediction has sat lifelessly for a few years, I'm thinking I'm way off.

Facebook is a web publishing platform that hit it at at the right time with the right model and the right approach (i.e. no down time). It's like a step-by-step "wizard"

The rise of blogger, wordpress, etc. showed that users wanted a simple publishing platform. After the writers were taken care of (LJ, forums like here, blogs), (Myspace and) Facebook came for everyone else. It's geocities with thousands of free (ad sponsored), networked (rate netflix movies, etc.) components and a revolutionary social interconnectivity (communicating with and tracking friends).

Plus, what sealed the deal was the approach with colleges. Their first users/suckers were the kids who would go on to be early influencers in media, law, etc. into getting into the network, which made the network seem exclusive and high class.

Anyway, I don't see Facebook going anywhere anytime soon. It may end up a Yahoo to someone's Google (like say, Google), but I dunno. It's getting entrenched. Looks like it pulled $2B in 2010. Advertising + Zynga does not sound like a long-term revenue stream to me, though. I suppose we'll see.

Christ, if the service isn't even good for that, I don't know what it's good for.

Hot chicks, hot dudes. Baby pictures. Monkey videos. If you don't want bland, mediocre media fulfillment, begone with you.

To be honest again, my friends do post a LOT of interesting stuff to read or cool Web sites to see. Some of it shows up here. (worlds colliding!)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:36 PM on December 15, 2010


*step-by-step "wizard" for making a personal Web site.

I've always had this sneaking suspicion that Facebook is actually a government plot. They wont have to spy on us anymore, we'll just give them all the information they want on fucking Facebook.

COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY
posted by mrgrimm at 10:40 PM on December 15, 2010


Do people actually buy this magazine?

My mom been a subscriber for decades.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:48 PM on December 15, 2010


Is there any mention in Time that *uckerberg stole Facebook? Look, the guy's an *asshole, period. He stole the idea, and was in the right place, at the right time, when he did it. He has not single-handedly (or even near that) "made" Facebook successful. That's been done by the mindless *ucks with money that have been investing in *uckerberg's whoring out of his customer's private information. And, as for Wikipedia, the Founder of that organization gets too much credit; knowing what I know, it's aggravating to see his face all over Wikipedia whenever I go there for information. Give us a break, Jimbo! What an attention whore!
posted by Vibrissae at 10:53 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Time is like a Cliff's Notes version of the news that gives me a week's worth of information and isn't written on a first-grade level, and a lot of their long-form international coverage is actually really well done.

Yeah ... OK, maybe a third grade level.

To be honest, I think Harper's and The New Yorker has far better long-form journalism, as does Rolling Stone and even GQ. The last two are pretty hit and miss, but they are surprisingly good when they hit. Time can't delve into anything as deeply as Seymour Hersh does, and they can't go gonzo like Hunter S. Thompson, so they are stuck being the news magazine of choice for the suburbs- never challenging any conventional assumptions and yet somehow appearing relevant on the surface. Yet never quite being informative enough to be truly meaningful or memorable. But they match the color scheme of the newspaper of choice, USA Today, which is always full of bright colors and simple shapes to keep an inquisitive mind busy busy busy!

Their person of the year tends to be controversial and to me one of the most relevant issues they used to publish on a regular basis, but I think it was over when they put the mirror on the cover. Who can take them seriously after that?
posted by krinklyfig at 11:03 PM on December 15, 2010


Actually, I am unfair. USA Today has been responsible for some surprisingly quality journalism a number of times in the last several years ... but they still do McNews most of the time, and it's hard to wade through months of that to get to something worthwhile.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:11 PM on December 15, 2010


It should have been Antoine Dodson. Think of it- he highlighted an important problem in our communities, inspired great creativity from artists using the latest digital media, became a heartwarming success story, and continues crusading against social injustice to this day. Truly the Man of 2010.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:51 PM on December 15, 2010


I don't see why Facebook is the target of your anger, it should be anyone who you gave information to who shared it back out publicly.

I strongly disagree. Facebook bears the brunt of the responsibility because A) they're the one with the database, the harvesters and the "product" and B) Facebook is taking advantage of less technologically aware people without revealing or explaining any of the implications of importing an entire address book. Some of these people are my family.

They're not offering so many different ways to harvest those third party addresses just to be convenient and user friendly. They're doing it to collect data and make membership easier. So they can collect more data. And get more users. To collect more data. To sell more ads and demographic data and so on.

And in what bizarro world am I where it's considered normal and unobjectionable or even remotely sane to have a major company operate in such a way that I had to sign up for an account and start a profile just so I could delete it?

To me, looking in from the outside - Facebook looks and acts rather bizarre and, well, a bit presumptuous. Nosy. Creepy. Overly friendly. It's like seeing friends getting offered candy by a creepy dude in a white van and watching them climb right in and being driven away.

I don't like it, and I'm rather alarmed about how quickly and easily and how much data they'll put into a service like that, that's both that grabby and has the privacy track record that it's had.

There's nothing you can say to convince me to change my mind or participate. I'm out.
posted by loquacious at 2:15 AM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


So far at least 90% of the complaints in this thread about how Facebook functions just show how the complainer doesn't understand how Facebook actually functions.

Please RTFM, whiny Luddites.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:35 AM on December 16, 2010


To me, looking in from the outside - Facebook looks and acts rather bizarre and, well, a bit presumptuous. Nosy. Creepy. Overly friendly. It's like seeing friends getting offered candy by a creepy dude in a white van and watching them climb right in and being driven away.

[Like] 17 people liked this ridiculous hyperbole. Be the first of your friends to like this!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:01 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jacqueline, I RTFM'ed, learned nothing new, and my one complaint about Facebook still stands. Are you sure you understand how it works? Because I haven't seen many comments here from people who don't, or misconceptions that the FM would clear up.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:59 AM on December 16, 2010


Flunkie, yes you can do that, and add friends to groups, and they can add other friends or drop out. Perhaps I should do that, but it's a lot of management without much actual control in the end. I already have friend lists set up, and I'd like the option to either include or exclude the members of specific lists from specific posts on my wall, and also the options to use lists with boolean operators because I'm a nerd.

I get around this problem by posting on other friend's walls right now so that only mutual friends see it, but this doesn't have the granularity I'd wish, and I'd have to set up a hell of a lot of groups to get that. Basically FB is good enough for my purposes, but never ideal. I don't spend a lot of time complaining about it, because I know how few people would care about the feature set I'd like, and the added complexity would make it unpleasant for some.

As for blocking app notifications, I loved how lite.facebook.com blocked all of them. Because it's like whack a mole. I've blocked the worst 20 or so apps, and I've blocked some friends completely, and I still get invites leaking in around the edges. It's like half my friends joined Amway and the Jehovah's Witnesses at the same time.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:11 AM on December 16, 2010


OK, now two complaints.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:11 AM on December 16, 2010


I already have friend lists set up, and I'd like the option to either include or exclude the members of specific lists from specific posts on my wall

Can't you? Click on the little lock next to the share button. Click "Customize". You can use "Make this visible to > Specific people..." or "Hide this from" to include or exclude whoever you want. If it's an entire list, start typing its name and it will appear in a drop-down menu. I use this all the time.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:47 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


You guys are all electrohipsters.

Where have you been? Electrohipsters are so 2007. We're all chill bros now.
posted by acb at 4:57 AM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's nothing you can say to convince me to change my mind or participate. I'm out.

That's basically the definition of closed-mindedness. What's the point of participating in the discussion at all if that's how you feel?
posted by LogicalDash at 5:03 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why, to bang out long, shouty screeds, of course!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:09 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


2-3 cars, thanks. Why the hell did I not figure that out? To say I feel embarrassed is to understate the case.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:48 AM on December 16, 2010


Sorry Jacqueline.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:56 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


> whiny Luddites.

I know that's a joke, but I've encountered this sentiment before when I've refused to sign up for Facebook, and I think that it is wrong-headed. The idea that my unwillingness to subscribe to a proprietary database with a goofy interface makes me anti-technology or something is kind of idiotic. Facebook isn't the telephone, it's not the internet, and it's nothing really new or groundbreaking from a technology perspective. Heck, the people that said that to me (a very non-technology averse network administrator) couldn't even tell me the basics of how the internet works, let alone do much more than surf the web sync their iPhones. Use Facebook or don't use it, but to intimate that those who don't like it are backwards and not with the times is more indicative that you've swallowed some marketing bait.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:19 AM on December 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is caring about what some acquaintance from junior high is doing with Farmville considered "changing your life"?

No...but...

I've mentioned this on MeFi before, so I'll just keep it short: FaceBook is responsible for my long-out-of-touch dad getting in touch with me after a decade of being cut off. I'll always, always be grateful to the site for that as yes, it totally did change my life (for the better).

(Still agree that Time magazine is pretty much a joke, and Zuckerberg isn't really a great pick for "Person of the Year" but whatever.)

Also: POTY? Worst acronym since POTUS. Even worse, actually. How is anyone *not* parsing this as POTTY?

posted by sonika at 10:22 AM on December 16, 2010


"...to intimate that those who don't like it are backwards and not with the times is more indicative that you've swallowed some marketing bait."

Actually, it's just indicative of the attitudes of the people I know who refuse to sign up for Facebook (my boss and immediate coworkers, mostly), and this is just one of the MANY things they are whiny Luddites about.

My boss in particular is hopeless. I had to explain emoticons to him. He thought that "lol" was a synonym for "chill." He regularly confuses "wiki" with "WebEx." I can frequently answer his emails with links to http://lmgtfy.com/ (and am tempted to do so a lot more often than I have the nerve to). He struggles to operate his cell phone, if he even remembers to carry it, and it's the lowest-tech phone I've seen in years -- not only is it not a smartphone, I don't think it even has a CAMERA. I nearly died of shock when he finally figured out how to send his first text message ("beer?") -- it was like that scene in 2001 when the monkeys touched obelisk. I would not be surprised if, one day, he utters some variation of "you damn kids get off my lawn" completely unironically and with no clue that it is a meme. In fact, I'm pretty sure he doesn't know what a meme is -- at least 10% of the words that come out of my mouth are probably unintelligible to him. (For those of you who watch Warehouse 13, think Artie and Claudia.)

Meanwhile, he is also the most vociferous conscientious objector to Facebook I know. You people worrying about your bosses seeing what you post on your Facebooks? I WISH I had your problems! If I want to show my boss a lolcat, I have to PRINT it. On PAPER.

I bet he reads Time magazine.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:08 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


OMG, if anyone is still reading this thread, this is hilariously apropos:
Julian Assange to Launch Social Network for Diplomats, Twofacebook

posted by Jacqueline at 10:43 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Message from Mark Zuckerberg
posted by homunculus at 8:50 AM on December 19, 2010


Julian Assange has now won 'Person of the year' or similar from The Nation, CNN, Le Monde, and Crikey. Anyone know what other international news outlets do these?
posted by jeffburdges at 10:43 AM on December 31, 2010


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