Reflections on Facebook

Well, I’ve taken advantage of a week off from readings and assignments to get caught up with being alive in the world again; getting into an exercise routine, spinning up some fire, and getting back in touch with friends and family.  Even getting in touch with friends I haven’t interacted with in several months, and that was through the Facebook community.

Yes, I’ve joined the Facebook legion, and while I’m still exploring it and figuring out the widgets and vesicles and gonkulators, I’m having an awfully good time adding to my “Friends” list and poking and reading walls and generally sharing in the virtual company of old pals.

The verso of this pleasantville is online harrassment of an individual by one or  several others, “cyberbullying“.   A BBC news article titled Cyber-bullying gathers pace US reports that the Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that youths using Facebook have been subject to more cyberbullying than youths who do not use it.  Somehow, these particular results don’t stagger me.  Teens can be vicious and online environments can enable even atypical bullies to lash out; the 98 pound weakling can retaliate immediately for having sand kicked in his face.  I’m not saying adults aren’t vicious; that capacity certainly still exists even beyond some accretions of maturity.  At the risk of flashing my social libertarian panties, I guess what I’m noting here is that the real issue may not be the imposition of rules upon online social interaction so much as it is about encouraging in our societies and ourselves a more diverse understanding of personal worth.

For a bit of related fun, check out Crawford’s mini-rant on the “lackluster veterans” moniker the Pew…Project in the recent Cites and Insights.

Thanks for reading; I’m heading back to niggle with the gonkulators.


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