Archive for May, 2010



May 20, 2010

“You have one identity. The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly. Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

Guess who said that? Yep. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame. Because everyone’s favorite social network is back under the microscope. I already wrote my reaction to the change in my profile. However, I only addressed the UI changes, not the privacy implications. Why? Frankly, I didn’t outwardly notice any changes in my sharing – this is probably due to the fact that I refused to link to public pages and therefore, nothing is on my profile anymore. However, it upset a lot of people when all of a sudden, their likes, interests, movies, books, education, etc all became public. Per the quote above, Facebook has this grand idea that people are ready to commit to a single online identity.

But shouldn’t there be a distinction between your professional and personal life? Or the difference in personality when you’re with your grandparents versus your friends versus your significant other? Is Facebook really suggesting these are all the same – that these can all be managed through one online profile? I can’t imagine. Zuckerberg’s not saying you have to be one person all the time. He’s recognizing that, as various websites begin to interact, it’s harder and harder to maintain separate and distinct identities. When you want to send your blog posts to Tumblr, and Tumblr posts to Twitter, and Twitter posts to Facebook – well, it seems all the various sites suddenly are really just one. Everything starts to bleed together.

The end result will be that your online identity is not an exact mirror of your real personality. People will learn to contribute certain information to their online profiles and some information remains offline (and ultimately private). It’ll get to the point where every minute thing we do, think and say doesn’t have to be posted in a tweet or status message. But the things that really define us – our interests, our opinions, our history – it’ll be there, and it will be everywhere. That’s what Facebook is saying. That’s where things will go, whether Facebook continues down that road or not.



May 13, 2010

New York City makes very clear two major reasons I could never be a city girl – public transit and crowds. Cliche? Yes, but true.

Everyone knows I dislike using public transit. My aversion is partially due to the fact that I’m a terrible navigator, even when I’m driving myself. Public transit makes it worse because at least when I’m driving, I can just turn around without too much problem (except in New Jersey with their “no left turn” thing). Anyway, the biggest part of my hesitancy to use public transit is because I’m not used to it and therefore, it’s actually really tricky. There are so many questions that people who are used to subways, buses and trains don’t even think about. How and where do I buy my ticket? How do I know which train to get on? How do I know which way it’s going? How do I know which stop I get off at and which way to go from there? How much time do I need to budget to get someplace? And that just covers the basics – none of the nuances of etiquette like which side of the escalators to stand on. But it all gets figured out and eventually becomes habit. So it’s really only a half reason I wouldn’t live in a city.

However, crowds are a different story. For anyone who doesn’t know, crowds of people make me very very uncomfortable. Not anything near a phobia or even something that makes me avoid doing things. But it mentally makes it harder for me to concentrate on other things because I get really focused on the crowd (if you’re ever with me in a crowd, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious). And it triggers all the normal physical symptoms of being uncomfortable and nervous. Most people would think it’s some sort of personal space issue. Not true. It really comes down to control; I don’t have any in a crowd of people. Sure, I don’t have control over other people at any other time. But the bigger the crowd, the more tightly packed we are, the fewer options I have to do anything but whatever everyone else is doing. I’m not so ok with that.



May 10, 2010

I spent a day in New York City after working a couple of nights in New Jersey. Unfortunately, my plan didn’t go as expected. First, I was only going to have about 24 hours before I had to fly out again. Second, the friends I planned to visit were unavailable (totally spaced about it being Mother’s Day weekend). Third, I worked a 12 hour shift on Friday night – meaning Saturday I had to choose between sleep and other activities on my one day. Not my best planning, but if the opportunity presents itself, I like to find time for personal travel. End result = 35 hours awake, 3 cups of coffee, 1 hour of sleep.

Highlights from my day:

People – obviously, the main reason I wanted a trip in the first place. This was my first time ever visiting my sister in her own place (I usually just see her during the holidays), which was exciting. The only other person I saw was the ex-boyfriend, whom I’ve spoken to once in the last 2.5 years. The fact that we’re on speaking terms at all is still a little surprising to me, but hanging out was less awkward than expected.

New York Farmer’s Market – a little disappointing (though it was pointed out, I’m comparing a city market to Madison’s market – it’s not the same). However, it was a beautiful sunny day. And I tried mustard greens for the first time; I never knew they tasted spicy!

Chinatown dumplings/noodles – Chinese food is always exciting for me because I don’t eat that much in Madison. My friend took me to a tiny little place in Chinatown where we got dumplings and hand-made noodles. It was delicious.

Metropolitan Museum of Art – Because I love museums, especially art museums. I didn’t spend too long there (I felt bad dragging my friend along), but the roof garden exhibit was amazing. It was a crazy bamboo structure, which, if it had been less windy, we could have walked up to the top of it. Beautiful views from the roof of the museum too.



May 5, 2010

Lately, I’ve noticed that Facebook has been slowly changing their layout. I noticed on a few profiles I checked that they didn’t look like mine. They had fancy new headings and a more spacious feel. Naturally, I got impatient. Was mine going to start looking different too? When? Was it just not showing up for me? This is my addiction – I don’t even log into Facebook more than once a week now.

So when I logged in today, I checked my profile (again) to see if it had changed over. Surprise surprise. I got an annoying little pop-up that asked me if I wanted to link a crazy number of pages to my profile. I don’t do that. I don’t do any of the fancy stuff – no linking, no liking, no statusing, no commenting. My Facebook profile is very basic me. Except, this page linking didn’t allow me to skip. So I did the closest option I had; I unchecked all the pages it wanted to automatically add. Upon saving, I got a second pop-up (and by this time, I was done reading so I clicked through) and my information disappeared!

Given my lack of use, I still keep a list of books and movies and my schools on Facebook. I’m also one of the few people who still shares that with a larger network. Except, now it’s gone. And the only way for me to get it back is to link to these new “pages”. I’m not doing it. Facebook has essentially deleted my profile for me. By taking my information out of my profile, it becomes painfully obvious that having it there gives me little benefit. Correction – it gives me no benefit (because if it did, you know I’d put it back). In fact, because I think adding pages makes profiles ugly as hell, I’m losing happiness by giving Facebook more information.

This actually makes me a little bit sad. I could go along with a lot Facebook was doing. I was on board with the news feed. I’m super on board with sharing, with keeping profiles open to large unknown groups. I’m not so on board with the applications and the fan pages and the liking, but I’m willing to ignore it. Now, it feels like it just told me I’m not wanted. That I play their way or no way (which, to be honest, is exactly what they did with the news feed too). But if their way isn’t my way, why am I playing?

Yes – I realize this is a purely cosmetic issue. When I joined Facebook, what set it apart? Closed network – no longer. Access to information about people I didn’t really know – not so much anymore. Clean pages – otherwise why didn’t we just join MySpace? Maybe it’s just me and I’m getting old. But Facebook now isn’t the Facebook I joined.