The Guardian made me…


Today I closed down my Facebook account. Like many others on the web I read Tom Hodgkinson’s piece on the people behind Facebook in Monday’s Guardian. Scary stuff. A rant? Facebook snobbery?

I don’t know. Maybe just the excuse I needed to reduce the amount of online life to manage. Do I lose some digital journalism kudos points for not being pokeable anymore?

Maybe I was feeling disposed to the Guardian after Readers Editor Siobhain Butterworth put up such a spirited defense of their Army fitness suppliment from last week:

The diverse feedback – positive and negative – about the fitness programme is useful to bear in mind when the archetypal Guardian reader is invoked, as he was in this email: “I can only assume that your new army fitness programme is some kind of revenge taken by the army on your bearded, lefty, rope-sandal-wearing readers for their lack of support over Iraq and their agnosticism over Afghanistan,” said a (bearded and lefty?) objector.

It’s a good read. Now if only that persuasive power could make me do the exercise regime.

8 Replies to “The Guardian made me…”

  1. I too read the piece in the Guardian Andy and I am with you totally.

    It is frightening what a phenonoma this site has become.People are now communicating via Facebook and other social networking sites rather than the medium of phone face to face or even email.

    Go into any of the cybercafe’s and I guarantee that most students are on Facebook.

    Why so many journalists have felt the need to jump on the facebook bandwagon I really can’t explain

    I shall also now be closing my account

  2. Andy

    Interesting post – was it an ethical stance against the founders or a discomfort with the ubiquity of Facebook, can I ask?

    I do find that fb has a use for me – I live a long way from some of my friends and it’s a simple way to post pictures and video of the kids and quick updates on travel plans etc without clogging up anyone’s email with big files or going through the hassle of trying to create my own website.

    Professionally, it doesn’t have a major role although sometimes it’s a handy way of tracking people down when you know their name but not email address. I could say the same about LinkedIn, blogs, mySpace and bebo, as well as others.

    I’ve never used FB as a replacement for phone or email contact with any of my friends or contacts, and I’m wary of posting messages on there simply because if I close my account, I don’t want to be locked out of any of MY information. paranoid? moi? But it does keep it manageable without shutting myself out of the conversation.

  3. Sally.

    I think it was a bit of all of them and none of those reasons at the same time. I think, if Im honest, it was one less thing to worry about.

    Which is not to say that I didnt get some use out of it. I think I had touched base with more ex students through FB than before and I can see the attraction with extended networks of friends and family.

    But I never invested in it as my online interaction was a bit more diverse – the blog, flickr etc. Facebook never convinced me to aggregate all that stuff their way. Reading the article made me think about the way all that data would be used if I did.

    The reality is that, of course, I dont think that its a neocon consipiricy to build an online reality – a kind of republican matrix. Getting off wasnt a protest vote. It was more a way that I could easily exorcise my unease with some of the stuff I read around the way data is used. That said, I still use Paypal. So maybe as a protest its the equivilent of asking for organic milk in your starbucks.

    But hey, as middle-class-liberal man I take my rebellious pleasures where I can.

  4. Hey Andy, I had a friend who left facebook a few months back but was forced to join agan due to pressure from friends, us young folk must stick to Facebook for a number of reasons that might not afflict you….

    1. We are invariably poor students, facebook is free communication.
    2. We find out about events through facebook and dont want to miss the house party of the year.
    3. Its the best way to keep in contact with people you dont want to see.
    4. Identity fraud doesnt bother us because we have no money.
    5. When your young you invariably compete with your friends, facebook is a good way to check who is winning.

  5. 4. Identity fraud doesn’t bother us because we have no money.

    Lol, That doesn’t change as you get older.

    As for the rest. That just confirms that I shouldn’t have been on facebook in the first place 🙂

  6. Presonally i think the article was little more then a big knee jerk reaction. Sure, facebook (fb) is addictive, but if you can’t see that then you’re a fool who can’t control yourself.
    Personally i find that it’s perfect for planning meets in the real world or keeping touch with all my friends in the USA, as for the stupid additions that fb has allowed to seep onto people’s pages, i don’t even bother looking at them anymore.
    It’s just a social networking site, I don’t ‘live’ on facebook, it’s nothing more than a tool for communication, and it, and others like it, are the future, so wise up.
    Also, if you want a hand with your excersize regime Andy, you only have to ask your students… im sure we would all be…happy…. to help keep your spirits up.

  7. I couldn’t get through this rubbish. It’s a lot of anti-capitalist nonsense.

    I’m not defending FB by any means, but there’s nothing in this piece to make FB the least bit worrisome.

  8. I think it was more a anti-neocon than capitalist and I would hate to think that those two things where the same.

    Not defending it though. I actually thought that any interesting comment was thrown away at the end with the usual ignorant ‘and anyone who uses is a saddo who can’t get a real life’ type garbage.

    There was nothing that ‘worried’ me about facebook other than the slightly ‘cpatalist’ way they used the data. Not handled it – it’s as safe as any other online site I guess.

    Perhaps the quid pro quo of ‘you get a fun site to play with and we get to exploit your data till it squeaks’ wasnt enough for me.

    Hmmm. Maybe that is capatlism. Or maybe it’s capatlism in the same way health insurance or third world aid only in return for open markets is capitalism.

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