#286 And so commenceth the ditcheth month…
Monday 1st October, 2007
I’ve just moved to university. Can I ditch my MySpace friends now that I have discovered Facebook?
In terms of social networks there does appear to be an informal hierarchy that is at play. MySpace for all you school kids out there, teenagers as well as its more ‘formal’ and respectable side for musicians and the talented. However, as this was the original social network to open its doors to ‘just anyone’, just anyone joined and spammed your inbox to hell. Then along came Facebook – at first it did not look as though it was going to be much of a threat to MySpace’s secured share of the social networking realm, well this was a site where you needed to have a university assigned email address to gain access for starters. Never let it be said that one should under-estimate the geeks, like the tribes of mostly technically proficient males that went before them, this was a network of users that were set to change how social networking could be experienced for everyone. Fed up with inbox spamming, pop-up and overt banner advertisements, Facebook provides a space away aways from the MySpace pimped and pimping profiles.
In the background at this time, for all you college kids, was Bebo, a grown-up version of MySpace, embarrassing now that your little sisters on it, and at a time when members without a university email domain could not get access to Facebook.
As of June 2007, all change! Suddenly everyone’s welcome to the Facebook party and networks of those technically able and geeky geeks merged with reconnected friends, work colleagues and even extended families. Even You are now a Facebook member, alongside much of The Guardian’s and BBC’s reporters – well if it’s good enough for them!
So what to do with those networks you’ve deserted. Well it is a might handy being a member of more than one network you can cultivate a different side to yourself, put all those ‘friends’ who you do not really count as close associate onto your other profile. Of course this does come with its set of complications. When starting university this is a chance to reinvent yourself, to make new friends, but also you want to remain ‘in touch’ with your buddies back home. A temporary bridging process would be to continue with different networked accounts. So set up a Facebook one for all your new university hob-nobbing and keep your present dearest’s on MySpace. Personally I would take this as an opportunity to cut the wheat from the chafe and much like the process when you get a new mobile phone number spend a rather self-indulgent evening scanning your contacts list and composing a who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’ of your new Facebook network. Keep in mind that with social networks this is not like the ‘old day’s’ when your ‘real’ offline self need not bear any resemblance to the you on your profile. On Facebook your profile is bounded to the you, and is treated as a unique and immutable entity in it’s own right. The competing social frames of ‘offline’ and ‘online’ are no longer afforded in this domain as in the creation of your Facebook profile you bring aspects of your physical self, persona and social communications displayed to the ‘public’ world. Remember this if you are attempting to disguise a double life, at home and at university. You will be found out fairly quickly and suffer all the social networking humiliation tasks that will go in the wake of such actions. Someone in my network who cheated a number of times on his girlfriend was ‘surprised’ when she found out via the newsfeed of his activity and acted on this accordingly. Needless to say the offline self that is without balls, mirrors the now humiliated and surprisingly visual display of balls online. Metaphors can be an effective, if not painful occurrence.
In short, whether MySpace or Facebook – remember these sites run on super-surveillance; so be nice treat others with how you want to be treated and things will be sweet! ☺Tweet