Monday, February 23, 2009

USA TODAY Personal Tech Writer Points Out the Negativities of Facebook


In the article titled "How to make the most of social networking on Facebook" by Edward C. Baig falls short of merely a how-to-socialize-on-Facebook article. Instead, it ends up pointing out the faults of Facebook through it's attempted tips. Throughout the article, Baig highlights ways to personalize your Facebook account in a safe way, but while doing so he develops a tone that almost makes a mockery of the social network. 

As Facebook underwent a lot of criticism last week for changing their Terms of Use to full ownership of any information put on Facebook, they decided to change back to their original policy. Baig shares advice like "familiarize yourself with the privacy options," "think long and hard about the information you reveal in your profile," which are neutral and helpful. However, he also points on that Facebook's filtering and organization policies about thing such as wall-to-wall feeds "need fixing."

Finishing with a voice that trivializes the network, despite having an account himself, Baig  questions the purpose to having a Facebook in the first place. After saying three criteria to consider when uploading information ("would you be upset if your mother saw it? would you be upset if the most nefarious person you ever heard about saw it? would you be upset if it was on the front page of USA TODAY?), Baig concludes his article questioning the worth of Facebook and makes his negatively-skewed perspective clear. "What good is a social network if you're too timid to be social?"

A few notes:
-NO qutoes---disappointing and, in my opinion, makes the article lose credibility as everything is Baig's personal input (he does, however, indirectly quote a Facebook friend and CEO)
-Summary lede--it addressed the "who," "what," "why," "how," (where is not relevant)
-Good use of numbers and statistics to put the information into understandable yet intriguing terms

1 comment:

  1. I read the article and I think it's possible that the age divide between college students and Edward Baig could be making the message ineffective for some of its readers. His picture is on the article and he looks to be a middle age guy writing to offer the new dominating demographic (over 30) a crash course on Facebook.

    I can attest to that fact that a new generation is discovering Facebook. My older cousins and even aunts and uncles are joining Facebook like crazy and sometimes I get questions about how to do something on the site. The college demographic has grown up with technology and can usually figure out social networking sites without a Facebook 101 article or something like that.

    I think he makes a good point about using caution, too. Even with privacy settings and things like that, if you post something on the internet there's no telling where it might show up. And, with the age of the users increasing, Facebook's purposes are evolving. Checking out someone's Facebook is becoming a regular part of application processes. It would be a shame to miss out on an opportunity because of something that was posted on Facebook. It doesn't change the fact that the user did something or is something, it changes the fact that their potential employer knows about it.

    I did find the last statement a little offensive, but I'm not sure how Baig's target audience would have taken it. I see Facebook as an extension of the social scene, but everyone uses it differently and it's possible that the site's function is being a little stereotyped here.