August 15, 2010

The Pros and Cons of Facebook

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What is the issue?

A Very Brief History/Timeline re Facebook in Terms of Me

  • ~2006 – After initial feelings of aversion, I create a Facebook page because ‘everyone is switching from Myspace to Facebook.’  I maintain said page until February 2008.
  • ~Feb. 2008 – While talking to Richard Wehrenberg Jr. on AOL Instant Messenger, we decide to delete our Facebook pages together.  We delete our Facebook pages.
  • ~June 2008 – Many of my friends delete their Facebook pages.  We decide that Facebook is ‘bad,’ for various reasons.
  • ~Later 2008 – I create a Facebook page due to extreme feelings of isolation from ‘the world,’ anxiety towards ‘not wanting vs. wanting’ a Facebook page, and generalized anxiety re ‘my life.’  Delete ~1.7 days later.
  • ~2009 – Remain not on Facebook until August 11th, 2010, for various reasons, rarely feeling anxiety re ‘should I make a Facebook or not,’ with the exception of August 4th and 5th, 2010.

August 4 and 5 (2010)

I sat at a table inside of a movie theatre with Tao Lin, Megan Boyle, Andrew James Weatherhead, and Mallory Whitten.  At some point, Mallory said that she would create a ‘Flickr Pro’ account in order to upload all of the pictures she took of us in New York City.  Megan Boyle said, “Facebook.”  I said, “[Mallory and I] don’t have Facebook.”  Tao asked why we weren’t on Facebook.  Mallory said some things about how she had been considering making a Facebook recently.  I said some things about how it ‘seems weird, or like, bad, or something, to me’ to make a Facebook.

At some point, I said some things to Megan about people I know from school and work seeing my blog and my writing online via Facebook.  I said, “When I’m at school or work I just want to disappear.”  She said something like, “Yeah, I understand that.”  At some point, Tao said something about getting ‘mad hits’ via Facebook.  Mallory said something about wanting to make a Facebook.  I looked at her face and said something in a ‘bleaker/weaker-than-normal’ monotone like, “You’re really going to make a Facebook?”  Tao said something about Facebook being a powerful tool.  I said something like, “Too many people e-mail and Gmail chat me already… I feel like if I got a Facebook people like [specific person] would try to Facebook chat me all the time or something… I don’t know.”  Megan, Tao, Andrew, and Mallory said things about being friends with a small quantity of people and never signing into Facebook chat.

After chilling with Tao, Megan, and Andrew, Mallory looked at my face with a worried facial expression and asked if I felt upset because she was thinking about making a Facebook.  I said something like, “No… Seems fine… Or like, it just seems… like it would mean we don’t share a common goal, or something.  Or, I don’t mean like, we don’t share any common goals, just… I mean… it… it would just mean that we don’t share one specific goal, or something, which seems fine and natural.”  Mallory said okay.  I said something like, “Really, it’s up to you.  I don’t think it would affect my perception of you beyond me just like, knowing you have a Facebook or something.”  I said, “I’m not anti-Facebook, or something.”

Later that night, Tao, Megan, Andrew, and I sat on the second floor of the hotel Mallory and I were staying at, talking, playing ‘air hockey’ with our cell phones and Tao’s Kombucha bottle cap and playing ‘truth or dare.’ Tao said something like, “Do you not have a Facebook for personal reasons or other reasons, or something.”  I said something like, “I think it’s… personal… like personal reasons… not like… something.”  Tao nodded his head and said something like, “Oh.”

The next day while sitting next to Mallory in the airport, I opened a word document and said, “I am going to make a list of pros and cons… like, for Facebook, then decide what to do.”  She said okay.  I said something like, “I’m actually going to make it into like, an essay.”

On the plane, while descending, I stared blankly away from Mallory, with my body facing Mallory, and said something like, “Facebook… what are my goals… or something… my… goals… what should I… is… should I just… make a Facebook… no… I don’t… my… goals…”

Why I Am Writing This Essay

I am writing this essay to figure out whether or not, based on my goals, creating a Facebook page is something I should do.

What ‘Pro’ and ‘Con’ Mean, In Terms of This Essay

I do not think that inherent ‘pros’ or ‘cons’ exist in anything, as nothing is inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ or nothing is inherently [anything], or everything is inherently nothing, or something.  I think ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ exist only in terms of arbitrarily created goals within an arbitrary context.  From here on out, in this essay, I am not going to scare-quote ‘pro,’ ‘con,’ ‘good,’ ‘bad,’ or [any other subjective word/abstraction], as I am stating now that I understand that these things do not exist without first specifying a context and a goal.  I will explain my goals, as they seem relevant to me in terms of this essay/creating a Facebook, throughout the essay.  The context I have created is my lifetime and ~1-??? years after my death.

Pros

  • Increased Hits – One of my goals is to advance my literary career via increased hits on my blog and other internet presences.  Facebook is potentially very useful in terms of this goal, in that it provides an opportunity to reach a potentially large amount of people very easily.  I could ‘hit them’ with links to various internet things of mine, increasing hits and interest in my literary ventures.  Many people I know from school who currently know nothing of my literary ventures would potentially click said links, increasing hits to a potentially ‘very large’ degree, something like 25-50 new unique visitors per month.
  • Increased Levels of Awareness – One of my goals is to be ‘in the know’ re literary events, shows, parties, and other events I might be interested in attending.  Based on what I know, Facebook can be a very useful and convenient tool in terms of this goal.
  • Increased Levels of Organization – One of my goals is to ‘organize my fucking shit.’  Facebook could potentially aid me in organizing my photos and ‘my life’ re events I want to attend.
  • Increased Quantity of People Who Think I’m Hot/Cool/Talented/etc – One of my goals is for people to think I’m hot/cool/talented/’famous’/funny/[any other validating thing].  Facebook would allow larger quantities of people (if I chose to utilize certain Facebook functions) to view photos of me, see my favorite music/movies/books/quotes, see who I am friends with and how I interact with them (via ‘my wall’), and more, which could potentially result in people thinking validating/desirable things about me.
  • Increased Birthday Wishes – One of my goals is to receive mad birthday wishes… Facebook would alert my Facebook friends when it is my birthday, potentially resulting in mad birthday wishes…
  • Increased Convenience, In General – One of my goals is to prioritize and manage my activities/time/life in a manner that is efficient, convenient, and effective in terms of my goals.  One of my goals is to become ‘more like a robot.’  Facebook could potentially aid me in achieving these goals.

Cons

  • Increased Hits – One of my goals is to avoid feelings of alienation and anxiety.  People I know from school and work seeing my writing/internet presence could potentially result in their thinking I am ‘[something undesirable],’ causing them to ‘make fun of me,’ to some degree, or to treat me differently in a way that causes feelings of alienation and anxiety within me.  However, I could also ‘just’ decide to not care what they think of me, eliminating the potential for said feelings…
  • Increased Levels of Awareness – One of my goals is to not feel like life is bleak.  Being potentially aware of/involved in so many ‘social things’ and having the ability to do things like look at photos of [specific person from school] doing [specific bleak thing] might cause me to feel like life is bleak.  However, I could also ‘just’ not look at things that I anticipate would cause me to feel this way or ‘simply’ choose not to allow [anything] to cause me to feel like life is bleak.
  • Increased Quantity of People Who Think I’m Gay/Retarded/Stupid/Ugly/etc – One of my goals is for people to like me. Facebook would allow larger quantities of people (if I chose to utilize certain Facebook functions) to view photos of me, see my favorite music/movies/books/quotes, see who I am friends with and how I interact with them (via ‘my wall’), and more, which could potentially result in people thinking mean/undesirable things about me.  This could also be a good thing, in terms of my goal re ‘Increased Hits’ (see above).  An example would be someone, due to seeing my Facebook page, thinking that I’m a ‘gay ugly stupid retard’ and constantly going to my blog to shit-talk me, talking to their friends about me, etc.
  • Increased Number of Bad Things Happening re Authoritative Figures in My Life – One of my goals is for my parents to like me.  One of my goals is to get into college.  I feel it would be easy to ‘let something slip’ that would make my parents sad/mad (a series of photos of me ‘on’ ‘lean,’ a status mentioning being ‘on’ ‘lean’).  This could also affect whether [certain college] accepts me or not.  However, I could also ‘just’ not let anything incriminating slip.

Conclusion

Based on my goals, creating a Facebook page seems logical.  The pros seem to out-weigh the cons, and the cons seem to be in my control and preventable, to some degree.  When it comes down to it, Facebook is not inherently good or bad, and is a potentially useful tool.

I think that it is like how thousands of people write ‘shitty ass books.’  The next step would not be to abstain from reading or writing books altogether, but to avoid ‘shitty ass books’ and use other books ways that make sense to you. TC mark

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