The Permanence of the Written Word

Face in stone
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Having spent the past couple of years studying with predominantly non-UK nationals, I can  – at long last! –  easily see how valuable a tool Facebook can be for keeping in touch with family and friends back home, as well as establishing and maintaining newly formed networks here in London. 

Having spent the past couple of years studying with predominantly non-UK nationals, I can  – at long last! –  easily see how valuable a tool Facebook can be for keeping in touch with family and friends back home, as well as establishing and maintaining newly formed networks here in London.  For this purpose alone, Facebook is a formidable friend in of itself, and a reliable source of comfort for those that are physically separated by some considerable distance from all that’s familiar.  It’s a connectivity tool par excellence, of that there appears to be little doubt.

 

When the earliest adopters first signed up, way back when, I wonder how many of them considered the longer term implications of living their social lives via a medium that has the power to extrapolate content for other commercial purposes? And, for those that omit to shut the metaphorical window, the potential for problems further down the line, when job hunting or settling into a committed relationship, may be an uncomfortable wakeup call.

 

As a social communications model, Facebook has clearly filled a previously unidentified ‘need’ and this it does admirably.  However, I believe it raises some interesting conundrums in respect of ownership.  This is probably less about intellectual property, given the actual content of most of the dialogue that’s posted onto the site, and more about the fact that, once posted, this is no longer personal dialogue at all.  You have chosen to share something of yourself, but in so doing you have also released some part of you that you then have very little control over.

 

How much permanence does one really want to give to behaviors and viewpoints that change over the course of time, as we mature through our individual experiences, travel, studies and work?  Will these diary-type entries on Facebook become akin to the tattoo that you don’t so much regret, but just wish it wasn’t in such a visible place whereby some people will negatively judge you by it?  Is Facebook the new tattoo?