April 30, 2017

On not being Facebook's "you."

Facebook assumes you use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends by displaying yourself a nice person, a person with friends and family who loves smiling faces and romping doggies. We have this very modern, pushing-the-envelope form of communication, but it wants customers in the billions, so it has to picture The Customer as a pretty conventional person. It talks to this person as "you," and being on the receiving end of that "you," I often feel insulted. Like this morning:



IN THE COMMENTS: Fernandinande said:
Strongly worded letter follows.

I don't like the way the tip of the dog's ear extends into the white border of his picture. I also don't like the fact that a different dog is in front of that picture.
LOL. But I like the implication that the dog is on Facebook sharing dog pictures. It's a fantastic representation of how Facebook undermines the beauty of the internet as expressed in the classic cartoon:



By the way, that cartoon has its own Wikipedia page. Excerpt:
Peter Steiner, a cartoonist and contributor to The New Yorker since 1979, said the cartoon initially did not get a lot of attention. Later it took on a life of its own, and that he felt similar to the person who created the "smiley face". In fact, Steiner was not that interested in the Internet when he drew the cartoon, and although he did have an online account, he recalled attaching no "profound" meaning to the cartoon; it was just something he drew in the manner of a "make-up-a-caption" cartoon....

The cartoon symbolizes an understanding of Internet privacy that stresses the ability of users to send and receive messages in general anonymity. Lawrence Lessig suggests "no one knows" because Internet protocols do not force users to identify themselves; although local access points such as a user's university may, this information is privately held by the local access point and is not an intrinsic part of the Internet transaction.....

53 comments:

Kate said...

Oh, my God. Are they still doing that "Here's a photo of your beloved dead dog" thing? Not only is FB *your* best friend, they never listen when you try to set a boundary.

surfed said...

Ann your commenters care about you and the posts you blog here...

Sebastian said...

"being on the receiving end of that "you," I often feel insulted." Odd: to "feel" anything about the way the algorithm of a big corporation "communicates" with you, and in particular to feel "insulted."

Rene' Saunce said...

Facebook is creepy. I reject it.

Dan Truitt said...

Yeah, I quit FB 6 months ago because of all that creepy bullshit. I don't trust them, no sir. They collect all this personal data and sell it to the highest bidder including Uncle Sam. I don't fancy the image of going about my business with some 32 year-old Jewish kid looking over my shoulder.You know, the Great Zuckerbeg in the Sky. It reminds me too much of Oedipus Wrecks.I think it may be time to invest in a short wave radio and tell my friends to do the same. Another, less sinister problem I had with FB- everyone's life seemed so....boring. I know, my life is boring, too. But Americans, especially, have very little sense of history...it's slightly depressing.

Ann Althouse said...

A while back Meade (who isn't on Facebook) gave his reason as: Facebook is for mothers.

That's using "mother" as a stereotype. There are a whole lot of mothers who are not that kind of person and plenty of fathers who are.

epador said...

A while back I decided not to give Facebook or Twitter any of me at all anymore.

rhhardin said...

It's just automated boilerplate.

Yahoo mail, if your mailbox is empty, offers you a video you might be interested in.
So you keep one email in every folder to avoid it, is all.

Rene' Saunce said...

People say "Find me on facebook", and I reply "I'm not on Facebook." Then they look at me like I'm a space alien. "You must be on facebook."
"No."
"but you're losing out on business."
"I manage."
when someone tells me I must do something, I usually reject it.

rhhardin said...

The huge breakthrough, and the last one pretty much, in natural machine communication was ELIZA, in the 60s.

Take a phrase you type and ask it as a question, e.g. "Why do you think.."

A great future was portended which has not materialized.

Viking In Winter said...

I went on face book a few years ago because my grand kids wanted me as a friend. I complied to make them happy. I've never posted anything. I have received hundreds of friend requests from people I don't even know. What a complete wasteland. The data miners will see only that I have no friends but have two hundred friend requests. Since I'm retired I don't need to impress potential employers with bullshit. I think fakebook will die a natural death.

Laslo Spatula said...

Nice photo, though.

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

Conversations with parrots take the same turn. The parrot takes over the choice of topic all the time.

rhhardin said...

Vicki Hearne points out that that's why philosophers avoid parrots.

harrogate said...

There are rumors a'swirl that Zuckerberg is mulling a Presidential run sometime in the next 8 years.

Heaven help us all but maybe it's a hat tip to honestly: the billionaire class is no longer content to own and rule the country from behind the scenes any longer.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

You folks think funny, imho.

Getting riled up by advertising algorithms and ad writers from FB or pol emails or retailers or whatevs is funny, to me. Your self-righteousness and self-felicitations re your own perceived woe wokeness re this stuff is awesome.



Carry on.

Inga said...

That's insulting? As I view it, there are many more serious things happening in this country to be insulted over.

Laslo Spatula said...

Shamebook says...

Remember this from one year ago?

These are photos of you out getting drunk with friends. Pictures of smiling faces. Red watery eyes. Wow, you got wasted!

And then you went home with the guy at the bar who stole the money from your purse and gave you Herpes.

Since you had no money you had a two-mile Walk of Shame to get home.

Then the guy would not stop texting you. You told him to stop but No, he kept texting.

Then he sent you that photo of you passed out with his cock against your face. We notice that you did not add that photo to Shamebook, but we uploaded it from your phone, anyway.

We will show you THAT photo sometime, when we feel like it.

Thank you for being a member of Shamebook. We will never let you forget.

I am Laslo.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

Mixed feelings. I enjoy staying connected to people and seeing the proud parent photos of milestone events. Don't enjoy those who post endless updates on every morsel they consume. Hate that people think it is okay to post a photo of you as long as you are not tagged, like that is giving you privacy.

mockturtle said...

People say "Find me on facebook", and I reply "I'm not on Facebook." Then they look at me like I'm a space alien. "You must be on facebook."
"No."
"but you're losing out on business."
"I manage."
when someone tells me I must do something, I usually reject it.


Rene, I , get the same reaction. That of incredulity. And almost suspicion, as though I am somehow evading the system. Which, of course, I am.



Humperdink said...

Two things I would do every morning: check my Fakebook account and visit the AA blog. I got off FB 4 months ago. It has been so liberating. I missed it the first week, now not at all.

OTOH, the AA blog remains my go-to site. Much more enjoyable and enlightening, at least until TTR surfaces. Then I am gone.

Mike Sylwester said...

I use Facebook mostly to taunt my relatives who hate Trump.

Laslo Spatula said...

Shamebook says...

Remember this from one year ago?

You told your girlfriend you would be home by 10:00pm. But after the strip-club you and your buddies went to the bar and got wasted. here's that photo you accidentally took of the floor of the bar.

Then you went home at 1:00am, passed out, and, at some point of the evening, you shit the bed.

Remember your girlfriend waking you up in anger, telling you she was Leaving You For Good, You Drunk Lying Asshole?

Remember how you then blew your rent money on strippers for the next month, until you had to move out and go back to living with your parents?

Remember that photo of you in your underwear throwing up in the toilet that your ex-girlfriend posted for all your friends to see?

We will show you THAT photo sometime, when we feel like it.

Thank you for being a member of Shamebook. We will never let you forget.

I am Laslo.

Rene' Saunce said...

Laslo - "Shamebook" - lolz.


Mockturtle - We reject the shamebook, and we do so with a stiff spine!

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

BTW, maybe finding more joyful and less tiredness inducing things to write about over the next year will cause FB to force you to reflect on images that don't show a corpse of a tree being forced to reflect on the reality of its state.


Just sayin'

tcrosse said...

I gave FB a rest during the election. Too much political stuff from both sides. Maybe I need less political friends. Now I don't miss it at all.
The cut and thrust of Internet discourse is not for the easily insulted.

Michael K said...

I stay on facebook because I post photos of kids and my house for relatives in other parts of the country.

I also hundreds of friend requests from people I never heard of. I also get them from people I know slightly but tell them I limit friends to pretty much family.

Breezy said...

Zuckerberg is visiting every state this year... just because...

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/03/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-2017-resolution-visit-us-states

rhhardin said...

"Let's take another look at those memories."

Bob Boyd said...

Remember that dentist that killed Cecil the lion?
I wonder if Facebook sent him a picture of himself posing with the bloody carcass, "We thought you'd like to look back on this post from 1 year ago."

Fernandinande said...

Strongly worded letter follows.

I don't like the way the tip of the dog's ear extends into the white border of his picture. I also don't like the fact that a different dog is in front of that picture.

Paddy O said...

Althouse, I think you should start a series for regular blog commenters.

"Remember the time your comment got on the front page?"

"Remember this comment from 2009?"

southcentralpa said...

If you're not the one paying for it, you are not the customer, you are the product.

Paddy O said...

That's why I send my monthly dues to the Althouse National Advisory Council Club secretary every month.

Inga said...

"I use Facebook mostly to taunt my relatives who hate Trump."

I've used the "Unfollow" option. It allows you to remain friends but their comments don't show up on your feed. I'm wondering if some of your smarter relatives have used this option.

Laslo Spatula said...

Shamebook says...

Remember this from one year ago?

That is you, your boyfriend, and your best girlfriend. What a nice dinner that was. And the wine: LOTS of wine...

Then, somehow, your boyfriend talked everyone into a Threesome. You didn't want to do it of course, but you were drunk and he was persistent.

Remember how, after that night, you could never look your girlfriend in the eye? Remember how you drifted apart? What has it been -- ten months since you last heard from her?

And your boyfriend left you soon afterward. Maybe he always wanted your girlfriend instead of you: he got what he wanted and left. Remember that photo of the three of you at the beach in happier times? Notice now how he has his gaze in the direction of your ex-girlfriends bikini top?

We will show you THAT photo sometime, when we feel like it.

Thank you for being a member of Shamebook. We will never let you forget.

I am Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

"Vicki Hearne points out that that's why philosophers avoid parrots."

I thought there was a book called "Foucault's Parrot," but it's "Foucault's Pendulum" and "Flaubert's Parrot."

But don't get to uppity about that. Flaubert's parrot was stuffed.

Bob Ellison said...

"We..."

No, your robot.

"...thought..."

No, your robot does not think.

"...you'd like..."

No, you don't know me.

Micro-Fisking.

Ann Althouse said...

"Mixed feelings. I enjoy staying connected to people and seeing the proud parent photos of milestone events. Don't enjoy those who post endless updates on every morsel they consume."

I have the reverse order of hating. I hate the milestone stuff and much prefer any random detail of an ordinary day. I see the problem with talking about every morsel, but I hold with the enjoy-every-sandwich approach to life. Those who are into milestones... well, Facebook wears you out with birthdays. It assumes birthdays matter and creates and expectation, even among adults, that everyone feels delight that it's somebody's birthday. But it's the most mundane and pointless piece of information.

As for "proud parents" — there's too much use of children by parents. Let the children create their own on-line presence when they are old enough.

Ann Althouse said...

"You folks think funny, imho. Getting riled up by advertising algorithms and ad writers from FB or pol emails or retailers or whatevs is funny, to me."/"That's insulting? As I view it, there are many more serious things happening in this country to be insulted over."

People who read my blog but don't appreciate my sense of humor. Why?

Ann Althouse said...

"Two things I would do every morning: check my Fakebook account and visit the AA blog. I got off FB 4 months ago. It has been so liberating. I missed it the first week, now not at all. OTOH, the AA blog remains my go-to site."

Thanks!

"Much more enjoyable and enlightening, at least until TTR surfaces. Then I am gone."

You just have to skip the commenters who annoy you. Don't give them any more power than that.

Fernandinande said...

Donald Trump logs onto Facebook and The Algorithm asks him, "Why the long face?"

And Trump answers, "I wanted to login to Twitter."

Inga said...

Althouse said...
"People who read my blog but don't appreciate my sense of humor. Why?"

Oh! If you were joking, then I do appreciate the humor, sorry. The post seemed serious to me. Your humor is very subtle, but that's good.

rhhardin said...

My usenet .sig was, and still is, "On the Internet nobody knows you're a jerk."

tcrosse said...

My usenet .sig was, and still is, "On the Internet nobody knows you're a jerk."

I disagree. On the Internet, if you're a jerk, everybody knows it.

robother said...

"Facebook is for mothers."

Maybe Moon Zappa could start a band, call it "Mothers of Convention."

Paddy O said...

I'm pretty sure the woman is sharing the dog picture and the dog is looking at the picture, probably of when it was younger dog.

"On the Internet, if you're a jerk, everybody knows it."

In real life everyone knows you're you, and if you're a jerk to them they know it.

On the internet, everyone knows you're a jerk, but not you.

Or, on the internet, if you're a jerk, people in your regular life don't know it. So, the real somebodies don't know who you are online, even as the online somethings don't know who you are in real life.

Paddy O said...

Facebook brings out a curious form of agoraphobia.

If I go outside, people I don't know might want to be friends with me! And people will be able to see what I do and my habits that I engage in while I'm outside!

I don't want to let anyone know what I do and I certainly don't want people besides close friends to interact with me. Yuck! They might have viruses.

Paddy O said...

"Hi, Paddy," an old friend might say to me if I venture outside. Remember that time we went camping?"

SHUT UP! Don't bring up memories! It's like you're telling me what I need to think about!

This is why I burn calendars and photo albums after the year is over. Who wants to live through all those plans and events again! Well, I'll keep my wedding album, and maybe the pictures from Christmas. But the rest?! Who took those pictures anyhow?!

mockturtle said...

C'mon, Paddy-O. What happened in that tent?

Paddy O said...

Life is more complicated now...

Sammy Finkelman said...

Looking back a year ago was something that Shutterfly did a while ago. Is Facebook copyying Shutterfly?

If you don't respond, Facebook will probably stop doing this.

Liesl said...

Re. Paddy O @10:58am-- that is exactly why I left facebook (combined with the breeding ground for thoughtless absurdity it's become... I shut down my account the night before inauguration, for what it's worth). Social media is supposedly the introvert's dream, interacting without actually interacting, but it can turn into the agoraphopic situation you mentioned unless you take care to interact only with your nearest and dearest, and at that point, what's the use? Facebook is inane to its very core, anyway. Feelings of not being safe, or whatever, upon going outside are one thing. Feelings of not being safe on some dumb, overgrown, increasingly impersonal social media site are another.