Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The Shadow Side of Facebook
I usually keep several home page tabs open on my browser, and one of them is Facebook. I confess to enjoying Facebook: I like to put the Wordies and definitions up, I like to read the silly things my friends share, I like some of the links they put up. I love the admiring comments when I post a quilt photo. It was through Facebook posts that I learned of the death of my friend's husband and the sudden hospitalization of a coworker.
I have nothing whatsoever to do with Farmville and its clones. I rarely join a group. I seldom go to pages that people "like," and I almost never respond to an Instant Message.
It happened out of the blue. An Instant Message popped up at a peculiar time from someone I know at church. "Hey, Nancy," it began. "Got a second?" This man had been unable to attend a meeting I'd been at, and I thought perhaps he was wanting to know what had happened. So I replied, "Just about a second." After a bit of a wait, the reply came, "I want you to try something real quick."
Something did not feel right. This did not at all seem like something my church friend would do. I signed off Facebook immediately.
Of course I don't know what would have happened if I'd stayed on. My hunch is that I would have received a link to some scantily clad women. Or worse.
So now I'm rethinking whether or not to remain a Facebooker. The fun part is very much fun. The informative part is, well, informative. But the shadow side makes me uncomfortable. Like the identity thief who caught and inconvenienced someone I know, causing her to eschew Ebay; like the other friend whose email helped her to download a virus that caused problems; and like the agitator who leaves nasty comments on blog posts, there seem to be sinister aspects to the Facebook experience.
It is sad, I think, that some people have to taint things that are basically good. But I suppose it has always been that way, and always will. Meanwhile, I've got some thinking to do.
Posted by Nancy Stevens on Tuesday, November 23, 2010