On again, off again

I’m off Facebook again. I dunno for how long, but I just couldn’t take it any more (again). I’ll try not to rant about how vapid everything is over there, or how one-dimensional it makes me feel. I’ve just got a love/hate thing going with the site.

I love all the genuine re-connections that can be made. It really is fun to find old college friends and swap a few stories, then move on. And I do like sharing some of the weird and fun stuff I run across on the Internets. Also, since so many sites are rolling out FB logins, it’s going to start to be more difficult to not have an activated account. I know of a few sites I already log into using FB, and I’m not going to be able to use them while my account is disabled. The cost of sanity, I guess.

I’ve been reading a book called You Are Not A Gadget, and it’s got some really insightful things to say about interface design, coding lock-in, and our cultural tendency toward reductionism. All of which I can see clearly reflected in FB and my own usage (and your usage, too). It’s helped me think in new directions about some of my own work, especially how we treat people online and how to make better distinctions between the online presence and the real people.

Left unaided, my own tendency while reading friends updates on FB is to begin, over time, to conflate the real person with the persona presented on the screen. And they are definitely not the same. I find that I often dislike the online persona of real people I care about. That gives me a disturbing sense of cognitive dissonance. So I blame FB and I shut down my account. I know that’s not the answer, but it works for now and it buys me some time to either work it out or ignore it again.

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