Friday, 20 February 2009

Facist Book

Facebook has become a form of communication. It can be likened to other communicative verbs such as 'to text', 'to phone', and 'to write'. So these days a simple 'facebook me' is more than suffice.

Since its launch in Feb 04 it's slowly become the word on everyone's lips, it's integrated into their lexicon, and it ain't even in the dictionary, yet. Sooner or later when that time comes for the Oxford English Dictionary to update, to scrawl through our linguistics, and submit their final list, founder Mark Zuckerberg will be the proud father of his 'spawn'. Go figure.

[The general rule of thumb for the
Oxford English Dictionary is that any word can be included which appears five times, in five different printed sources, over a period of five years.]

The world (currently 150 million users) is going crazy for this social networking site; a spin-off of a
Harvard University program called 'Facemash'. Thousands of photos are being uploaded hourly; 'friends' are clicking through your photo albums and reading your wall posts. Others are obsessively trawling through 'friend lists' trying to 'up' their own.

A general belief is that, although your personal life is living on the World Wide Web, only you know the password and therefore only you are in control of your privacy. Wrong. As much as we'd all like to believe this idealistic mantra, it's so far from the true. The words 'private' and 'Facebook' are like chalk and cheese, an oxymoran if I've ever heard one. Once you've uploaded it, it's for the world to see.

And now things have gotten even more complicated.

I'm going to take a stab in the dark and presume that a small percentage, of the 150 million Facebook users, have never read its 'Terms of Service'. I'm going to take a step back and assume just as many, or more, don't even know what a 'Terms of Service' or 'TOS' is.

Facebook's Terms of Service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not that long ago, this sentance was added:

"You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content."

As you can imagine there was a lot of protest against this, and in response Zuckerberg and co. reverted back to the original clause; that is until a solution can be found..

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I am more than prone to monologues; however, this is solely due to the manner in which they compliment a witty anecdote and their ability to resemble concrete evidence when it is so obviously lacking. I often wish I could emulate that aloof character who coolly stands in the corner smiling mysteriously as if she has a secret. However, I fear resisting the temptation to involve myself in other people’s conflicts and responding through body language rather than verbose banter may come across as contrived and arrogant. And, I am not willing to take that chance.

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