Facebook, the phenomena that turned your average 23 year old computer geek into a billionare. (I’d speak on MySpace but I’m not a member and my knowledge of their functions is limited to the understanding of it’s vast popularity) For many of us it’s the excuse to “spy” into the lives of friends from yester-year, play ridiculous word games that are some how addicting and completely removed our need for a florist with the “Flower Gifts” application. It has given folks who don’t know how, don’t have time or who really don’t care – to blog, the opprotunity to share their lives with the people they love, the people they knew and more often than we’d like to acknowledge, complete strangers. It’s entertaining, addicting, confusing and becoming more dangerous than I could ever have imagined.
When I received an invitation for Facebook over a year ago from an old friend that I hardly hear from I jumped on the chance to keep in touch. It seemed like the perfect solution to bridge the gap in our lives that time and life changes brings – and to top it off, it was free! All they wanted from me was my e-mail address, my gender, my sexual preference if I wanted to disclose it (Corey….I mean duh? Have you seen him?) right moving on, um, my name and that was it. Before I knew it I was tapping into the lives of dozens of friends. I was seeing photos of kids I went to school with, finding out that so and so was out for a walk, playing scramble, and laughing at the stories of where people had gone, and who they’d become. Before I knew it 2 hours had passed and I still hadn’t washed my dishes. That instant novelty wore off, but the pleasure of proudly posting photos of my husband and daugther quickly filled the space. Unlike blogging, which I primarily do because I love to write and I always want our family to feel like they’re watching Bethany grow, I didn’t have to spend an hour writing a post, editing it, spell checking again and then proof reading. Nor did I have to worry that a sarcastic comment would hurt someone’s feelings or make me come across as an idiot, instead all I had to do was download them, take two minutes to attach who was who and then wait… Wait for those comments that every insecure and maybe a little attention hungry girl waits for. Yes, that’s right, I wanted to hear how precious my daughter is (although really, I know it, God made her and how could she not be beautiful!)
As many of you know due to some information that we came across early this year Corey and I made the tough decision to remove photos of Bethany from Facebook and post them soley here on our blog. We also asked that family, friends and anyone else who had photos of Bethany online to please remove them, allowing only us to post those precious gems at our descresion. Each photo is carefully watermarked now, to prevent photo stealing like happened to my friend over at Dutch Blitz and aside from sending great shots to family in private e-mails this is where they stay. We felt this was a wise move, and although at first there were some people that were hurt and confused by this decision, ultimately everyone has understood that we are doing what is best for our family. I was comfortable with that decision and felt that again, my world was safe and so I kept on Facebooking.
Until now, over the past few weeks I have come across news stories and magazine articles warning against the dangers of Facebook and MySpace. The latest story from Vancouver Island’s Chek News (that at this time I can’t get the link for) told of how each application, Hockey Pool, Scramble, Are you Normal?, Quizes and hundreds more hold a secret danger. By allowing each application to access your profile and information you are also giving them access to your friends, their personal information, your personal information and on occassion you are also giving them access to what you are browsing on the internet (so you know last week when you were researching that funky odor coming from your feet, somebody may have been watching that) and other activities on your computer. Not only that, your Status updates, letting the misc internet know that you’re out of town, walking alone or hanging at a local bar (not me but somebody), are open doors for creepos to find you, rob you, attack you….SCARY!!!! So that funny How Well Do You Know Me? quiz could possibly be opening up my PC to a world of strangers and thus exposing me in ways that are more uncomfortable than the first visit to a new Gyno.
Corey and I talked about it at length and we’ve made a really tough decision. We are deleting our Facebook accounts, in a few days. (We’re taking the next few days to touch base with those whom we don’t want to lose touch with again and exchanging e-mail addy’s with) It’s been a tough choice, not only is it great to keep in touch, I check on a daily basis to see who’s posted new photos of themselves, their kids and their lives….I’m going to miss that. But what it’s come down to is this, we survived just fine without Facebook before and we’ll do it again. We’ll see pictures the old fashioned way (through e-mails, blogs haha old fashioned, and snail mail), we’ll keep in touch using that great long distance plan we pay for each month and I’ll dedicate more time to keeping up this here blog.
I understand that our blog is still on the internet, I understand that our blog leaves us open to strangers too, but it’s more controlled. This is an environment in which for the most part – I am not naive enough to think I completely control my blog world – I control what happens here, what’s posted, what other sites access our computer etc. And if I felt at anytime this blog was posing the threat that some of these other “social networking” sites pose I’d delete it too. But for now, I feel it’s safe, it’s ours and if for nothing else, it’s a space where I can vent, ramble, keep in touch with family and share with you all the chaos that is our daily lives.
For those of you who are still in the middle of their romance with Facebook, please don’t take this as my direct stab at you. Please just consider what I’ve said, understand that this is my “house” and I can say what I want about whatever I want, and this is our opinion based on information from multiple sources. We just implore you to consider who you may or may not be allowing into the really personal details of your life.