Matt Thompson confesses he has mixed feelings about Facebook over on Snarkmarket. Of particular interest to me is how being on Facebook has changed his perception of the world, specifically when it comes to photos:
For me, the service has replaced the notion of a photograph as a shared, treasured moment with the reality of a photograph as a public event. I realized all of a sudden that I can’t remember the last time I took a candid photo. Look through my photos, and even those moments you might call “candid” are actually posed. I can’t sit for a picture without expecting that the photo will be publicized. Not merely made public — my public Flickr stream never provoked this sense — publicized. And although this is merely a default, easily overridden, to do so often feels like an overreaction. To go to a friend’s photo of me and untag myself, or to make myself untaggable, feels like I’m basically negating the purpose of Facebook Photos. The product exists so these images might be publicized. And increasingly, Facebook seems to be what photos are for.
This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. I have a decent following on Twitter and a fairly large readership here and I’ve noticed I often approach things through the lens of this blog. When I read, I look for passages I can quote here. When I watch a video or a film, I look for analogies I can use in essays. I wonder if this is in some way preventing me from fulling enjoying whatever I am doing because I approach with the idea that I’ll pull something from it to share.
In the end, I think Matt does a great job of summing up how I feel about Facebook as well:
With Facebook, I’m persistently reminded that I am always serving it — feeding an endless stream of information to the insatiable hive, creating the world’s most perfect consumer profile of myself.
I don’t trust Google for a second, but I value it immensely. I trust Facebook less, and I’m growing more ambivalent about its value.
I don’t think I want to give up Facebook. I value the connections it offers, however shallow they are. I enjoy looking at photos of my friends. I like knowing people’s birthdays.
But I am wary of it, its values and its defaults. How it’s changing my expectations and my experience of the world.