About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Facebook ruins the internets - a defence of anonymity, etc.

Here's a post concerned that Facebook is rooning teh internets by destroying our authenticiteh. It seems a bit OOT to me, but it's very much the opposite viewpoint to Farhad Manjoo's. [Edit, I should note that the author says that anonymity is not his main/real point, though his real point does seem to be about the ability to create multiple online identities for different contexts.]

I expect that we'll continue to see some sites require people to use their Facebook identities, but others would be destroyed if they tried such a thing. It'll find a level.

Anyway, I had to laugh at this:

Face it, authenticity goes way down when people know their 700 friends, grandma, and 5 ex-girlfriends are tuning in each time they post something on the web.

In my case, it's a smaller number of ex-girlfriends on Facebook, and certainly not grandma ... but over 1800 friends.


James Sweet said...

There's some truth to that. I don't post atheism-related (or anything controversial) to my wall. Of course, I use my real name for all of my online communications, much of it tied to my Facebook account, so I'm not *hiding* anything.

But since I know anything I say on my wall will go to almost everyone I know, whether they want to hear it or not... I only say banal stuff like, "Kids are asleep, yay!" or "Ow I burned my hand."

Put it this way: I don't say anything on Facebook that I wouldn't feel comfortable saying at the Thanksgiving dinner table. I don't mind having other comments tied to my Facebook identity -- I just don't say it on my wall.

And since Facebook is so central to many people's communication, that maybe does erode authenticity overall a bit too...

Rorschach said...

I publish most of my blog posts on my FB, and I'm quite happy to have a certain drop-out and defriending toll to pay, it separates the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I don't have family as FB friends though, and am rather selective with work collegues.