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Facebook - My Skeletal Profile

I have never been a member of Facebook until now. Actually, I was pretty stringent with the information I entered. It felt easy to maneuver around Facebook and check out the options available. I felt like I’ve been to this site already. Could it be all the students with laptops that sit in front of me during lecture classes warmed me up to it?. A small percentage appears to take notes and the remaining are on Facebook or some other messaging site. So, this probably is the case. The first thing I did was check out the privacy and account section. This week’s articles confirmed my paranoia on having personal information on the net (albeit they are common sense). In the PEW article, it states that Facebook encourages users to “register using their real name to be identified with offline identity.? But Bruce Schneier wrote in his article, “Whenever you put data on a computer, you lose some control over it. And when you put it on the Internet, you lose a lot of control over it.? Apparently my personal policy that I have instituted is “scarcity? when it comes to the net. I’ve tried to drill this into my teenage kids as well. They do have the advantage of knowing the repercussions of posting personal data all in the name of fun. Those who were having a fun a few years ago did not foresee the problems they imposed on themselves and how powerful the Internet would become in every aspect of their lives. Who would have thought a few years ago that employers would be googling prospective employees on the Internet?

I tried to search for some friends on Facebook. Yes, I struck out on just about everyone. I figured it must be my age group. Then I thought I would look for some acquaintances I’ve met at UMN - still no one. Hmmm…so I resorted to my friends’ kids and my nieces/nephews. I did find a couple of people. Did I message or “poke? them. Nope, I decided to just lay low. That privacy thing was still in the back of my mind. Apparently my trust in Facebook isn’t there. It feels like I should have control but I know I really don’t. Schneier ends with “But we all need to remember that much of that control is illusory.? I agree.

I found the statistics in the PEW article interesting but not all that surprising. If I were a teenager growing up with this technology available, it would be great. I was familiar with MySpace but had not heard of Xanga. I think teens have always been social, especially teenaged girls. Regardless of the method of communication, MySpace, phones, or even letters, teens need to (and always have) socialize more. It’s one of the first steps of growing up and becoming independent (their own person). I remember my grandmother always wrote letters and said she had numerous pen pals in her teenaged years. My mother was always on the phone as a teenager (as I was too) – letters were old fashioned. My daughter, well she has multiple options from the phone (house phone or cell phone?), MySpace, IM, texting, and the list goes on.