Last night I could not sleep, at all. So what did I do?
Read Paradiso for my reading group tomorrow? Nope. Work on a draft of my personal statement? Nope. Find outlets for those 3 papers I mentioned a post or two ago? Nope. Anything productive? You guessed it: nope.
1. CNBC’s The Facebook Obsession
This was an interesting little documentary. I think it lasted about 45 minutes or so, and although I found some of the interviews interesting (especially those pertaining to how the actual people portrayed in The Social Network felt about all of the liberties taken), I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting a little bit more and barely made it through the 3 or 4 sob stories about people who were reunited with long-lost loved ones, who lost their jobs because they are idiotic, who solve crimes using Facebook, and who just basically used any air time they received to complain about how much Facebook sucks (while checking their profiles, that is). The documentary raised a few interesting points about the amount of data Facebook – the corporation – has access to and about the fact that no one really knows what they plan to do with this information in the long run, but the privacy issue, when handled, seemed to be handled well. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not that worried about Facebook using information from my Likes page to direct the advertising it presents in my side panel. I really don’t read those ads all that much anyway and Facebook’s strategy is not all that much different from several other corporations’ use of data to direct advertisements. As far as profile changes resetting privacy controls, I’m not all that disgruntled about this either. I choose to use Facebook. I know what the risks of putting information on the Internet are. I am not an idiot, and I understand that choosing to use a social networking site, like Facebook, requires maintenance. I need to monitor my account. I need to be responsible.
A lot of my friends have been talking about their issues with Facebook recently. One just (somewhat begrudgingly) reactivated his profile in order to manage the page for the company he’s working for, and one is vehemently anti-Facebook on basically all accounts. I’ve had my in’s and out’s with Facebook over the years, and I remember my friends basically forcing me to create a profile several years ago. But, even through all the changes, I still appreciate what it does for me. Yes, it has changed the way people interact, but let’s face it, the world was headed that way anyway. Our lives were increasingly moving to electronic media outlets. Facebook gets a lot of flack for being the first to really build on this. I guess my response to all the naysayers is, “If it hadn’t been Facebook, it would have been something else. This was going to happen one way or another.”
One of the people interviewed asked if Facebook has degraded friendship, and I think that might be blowing it out of proportion a bit. Change is not always bad, and I, for one, have found that Facebook enables me to maintain friendships that probably would have died out a while ago. People can complain about how no one writes letters anymore and the 900 other things that people find to complain about, but it kind of just drives me crazy. I’m as nostalgic and sentimental as the next guy, but I don’t go out and protest the Internet because it allows me to send emails to my friends. It’s the substance behind the friendship that maintains or degrades it, not the medium through which sentiment is exchanged.
I guess I’m just part of the Facebook Generation, or whatever it is we’re called nowadays, but I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. Sure, there are some things I’d change about the site if I could, but short of buying a plane ticket to Menlo Park and bribing a coder, I just accept it for what it is. Facebook is a product like any other. It works on a take it or leave it basis as does just about every other product out there, and I’m okay with that.
2. Food Inc.
One word: gross. I actually turned this one off before the end because I couldn’t handle it. I’m not a big fan of scare tactics, and I think this film, or at least what I saw of it, relied on them a bit too much. I know the whole idea of the movie was “to show people what really happens,” but honestly, I did not need to see the hidden camera footage of workers kicking chickens around before tossing them, alive, into dump trucks. Just not necessary. I can call up PETA any day for stuff like that.
The one thing this documentary did make me consider is the idea of altering my pescetarian diet. As much as I enjoy seafood, I’m just not sure I can oppose so much of what the fishing industry does and still consume their products. It seems a bit hypocritical – kind of reminds me of all those people I can’t stand who sit around complaining about what Facebook does while still maintaining a profile. I think I need to do some more research, and although I doubt I’ll ever give up consuming seafood completely, I could easily see myself adopting a plan like one a good friend of mine contemplated recently: vegetarian at home and as much as possible, but pescetarian, if need be, when eating out. Seems reasonable.