I’m pretty mixed about facebook, and by ‘mixed’ I mean mostly underwhelmed. I have tried it out over the past month to see what it is like, particularly since I’m teaching this Technology, Media & Sociology course. So far, it has proven a useful way to get connected with some acquaintances who I never really had a chance to build a friendship with and a way to get into touch with people whom I don’t see any more. I know that it is supposed to be impressive and social networking is the future, etc. But I’m just not too jones about ‘poking’ and ‘movie quizzes.’
Anyway, a student sent me an interesting read in The Guardian (didn’t I hear that they were coming out with a US rag?), ‘With Friends Like These,’ which details the social networks of the two main venture capitalists behind Facebook. It’s a little paranoid, but good to think about–especially when read alongside Paul Starr’s wonderful The Creation of the Media–so long as you can get around temporal logic like this:
After 9/11, the US intelligence community became so excited by the possibilities of new technology and the innovations being made in the private sector, that in 1999 they set up their own venture capital fund…
Still, one of the key points of the article explores the economic profiteering of social ties:
Clearly, Facebook is another uber-capitalist experiment: can you make money out of friendship? Can you create communities free of national boundaries – and then sell Coca-Cola to them? Facebook is profoundly uncreative. It makes nothing at all. It simply mediates in relationships that were happening anyway.
(By the way, if you watched the Grammys, the ‘underwhelmed’ link has a performance that is a million times more entertaining. I watched about 10 minutes and it was sooo bad. ZZZ. Atrocious. I did like Kanye’s jacket, though.)