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Social Network Facebook: The New Home of the Bourgeois Individual

NDPP
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

Social Network Facebook: The New Home of the Bourgeois Individual

http://mostlywater.org/social_network_facebook_new_home_bourgeois_indivi...

"...the user as a public persona: the really existing caricature of the bourgeois competitor and market participant.."


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Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

But, but, but....  what about the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie? Who's thinking of the poor bourgeoisie? Surprised


NDPP
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

neither discreet nor charming...Wink


ElizaQ
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Joined: May 27 2005

 

 There's a lot in that article. Food for thought.

 My first impression, from the first part of the article where he talks about how it is a mechinism where the user chooses how to present themselves to the world, the 'public' personna is that this really isn't a whole lot different then what anyone does on the net where personal, opinions, likes, dislikes etc are written down in text.  People do the same thing on babble.  Any post is a choice as to what to share with the wider public.  It's also really not much different then people chosing what to present to the wider public whenever people step out the door of their home.  What we wear, who we talk to, how we talk, the communities of people were choose to associate with in our public lives, what we talk about etc are all choices made as a presentation of our public self.   Facebook hasn't created this whole notion of a persons  'public personna' , it has just taken it into another sphere and as the author commented about, taken it to a more global sphere where more people have access and created an sort of all in one spot digital 'summary' so to speak.  I'd say that is it a more superficial summary, quickie snippets in most cases, limited by the structures in place for the presentation but similar to non digital life it also provides choices of just how much a person lets people into the more private spheres of their lives. 

Whether I like it or not I have a public personna within my community, people know the public me, what I do, who I'm friends with, my opinions.  People in public know the more private me to varying degrees depending on how close we are and the nature of our relationships.   I find that in a smaller community vs a big one, provides more awareness as to the consquences, both positive and negative, of the public me interacts with all the other public personnas that make up it's sphere of influence.   It's a type of an awareness that I just didn't get when living in a much bigger community (city). My personal ideas and feelings about anonimity changed.   I can see the same patterns of social interaction happening that the author describes facebook doing just expanded into an even bigger sphere.

One example comes to mind. One time I had pnemonia. I called in sick to work.  Found out it was a topic of conversation  at the local bridge club.  It was acknowledged to the point that a couple of people that I barely knew and one who I had never met (but knew of me through a friend) dropped by with food and once nice man cut my acre of grass.  My Aunt, who I hadn't told, phoned me saying she had heard through a person (who I didn't know) who had heard from another person that I was sick.   That one call (post) flitted and flew around that social nettwork fast.   Another example, in a conversation I made it know publically to a homecare client that I was single. (status).  Again it flew around the nettwork. Three consequences occured that I became aware of, one I got two invitations from the sons of people who I sorta knew for dates. One was came from a note directly in the mail box on my road!  The other was specualation that maybe I was single because I was homosexual because heck I was a woman who lived alone.  The third was I got negative reactions from some other women if I talked to their 'man'.  And after one random conversation about gardening soil, dirt and fertlizer in a store with one woman's 'man' I got wind of the rumor that I was really just interested in dirt in order to try to steal him.  lol     I can't help but see the same patterns occuring in a social digital nettwork. The nasty and negative comments that can occur after a 'post' and the direct mailbox drop message in relation to my public status.    

I suppose though what something like facebook does is provide a structure where the user can directly see the reaction to their public choices.  Reactions and thoughts that occur to people in the non-digital world whether the person is aware of them or not.   

 

The other aspect which I think is more in point to the title of the OP is the consumer angle.  That it makes a personnas public personna more accessible and useful to the consumer business world in the form of an easy, one spot snippets of data to be used and sometimes abused in the search for profit.  It brings the products and people who want people to consume them into a much closer relationship and more direct then it has ever been possible before.  This is what is new, though the desires behind this relationship isn't.    

 

edited to add:  Because of the this more direct relationship, built into the structure itself, the user who may not be or doesn't consider themselves as part of the bourgeis does become a part of the wider economic mechnisms used to service the 'market' and the material interests of our wider society.  It is something to be aware of. 


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005

Excellent post, ElizaQ...


autoworker
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Would Sarte have a Facebook account? Camus?


macktheknife
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autoworker wrote:

Would Sarte have a Facebook account? Camus?

Depends on whether you think someone like sarte would put stock in Facebook friends. I know many people think South Park is low brow humour but they, IMO, hit it right on with the episode "You have 0 Friends".

Facebook is all about the accumulation of "friends". A facebook page with 0 friends is not worth as much as a facebook page with 20,000 friends.  People trade friends like wall street. Facebook is human shallowness boiled down to it's most basic element.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

Sartre might have had facebook friends if he was trying to promote a book or something. :D

I second Sven, Eliza - great post!


Boom Boom
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I had over 250 FB friends at one time, but I dumped many that I never communicated with. I never understood the point of having FB friends you don't communicate with.


macktheknife
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Joined: Jun 7 2012

"Who is greater, the user or the profile".

(Credit to Trey Parker)


ElizaQ
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Joined: May 27 2005

macktheknife wrote:

autoworker wrote:

Would Sarte have a Facebook account? Camus?

Depends on whether you think someone like sarte would put stock in Facebook friends. I know many people think South Park is low brow humour but they, IMO, hit it right on with the episode "You have 0 Friends".

Facebook is all about the accumulation of "friends". A facebook page with 0 friends is not worth as much as a facebook page with 20,000 friends.  People trade friends like wall street. Facebook is human shallowness boiled down to it's most basic element.

 

I have to disagree that it's only about the accumulation of friends. For some people this may the case and "I have such and such a number of friends I'm cool. woo!"  Other people use it to keep in touch with people they actually know.  I avoided using it that much and still don't ever post much myself but most of most of my close family and a whole lot of extended family all use it to varying extents and I eventually gave in.   I find it great to get little snippets and sharing about what people are doing beyond the 'catch up' that occurs on family holidays.  My sister uses it a lot and post pictures and comments around things she and my nephew does.  These little things are all things I would know and see when I was living close to her and see her regularly but now we're 4000k apart.  It really helps in the feeling that our lives are a bit closer beyond a weekly phonecall.   We regularly talk about the events and things she posts about in those phone calls and I can easily see pictures as she's talking.

  Sure this could be all done through emails but it is a lot easier to make one post for those interested in seeing and have the subsequent conversation all in one place.   I also have more contact with family members that before facebook I only ever saw once every few years.   That has all been quite positive.   For my family it has evolved into a mini digital hub of sorts where people share the big things as well as little things.   

I have it set up with different levels of 'friends' so aquaintences don't necessarily see all the family going on.

 I have a group of friends that I only know through online 'playing' in a couple of games.  People who I share that particular interest in and it's just nice to see the face behind the text or voice and get small glimpse of other things besides just our common ground. These are people I will probably never meet in person, but would if distance wasn't an issue.   In one case, though a sad one person 'disappeared' from the game with no comment.  People were concerned. It was through facebook that we discovered that he had been killed in an accident after one of his family members posted about it.  His family then recieved messages of condolences from this game realm that they had little idea that he had participated in.  His Mom posted that she really appreciated finding out a bit about this part of her son in her time of grief.    My life wouldn't have been any worse if I never found out why he disappeared, just one of those internet things that happens, but it was good to find out what had happened to this person that I had had contact and lots of fun with for over six months, even if it was never a face to face meeting. 

That's just one example. I expect that without Facebook that group would find another way to connect beyond the game in the digital realm but Facebook just happens to be set up for that sort of purpose. 


macktheknife
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Joined: Jun 7 2012

ElizaQ wrote:

macktheknife wrote:

autoworker wrote:

Would Sarte have a Facebook account? Camus?

Depends on whether you think someone like sarte would put stock in Facebook friends. I know many people think South Park is low brow humour but they, IMO, hit it right on with the episode "You have 0 Friends".

Facebook is all about the accumulation of "friends". A facebook page with 0 friends is not worth as much as a facebook page with 20,000 friends.  People trade friends like wall street. Facebook is human shallowness boiled down to it's most basic element.

 

I have to disagree that it's only about the accumulation of friends. For some people this may the case and "I have such and such a number of friends I'm cool. woo!"  Other people use it to keep in touch with people they actually know.  I avoided using it that much and still don't ever post much myself but most of most of my close family and a whole lot of extended family all use it to varying extents and I eventually gave in.   I find it great to get little snippets and sharing about what people are doing beyond the 'catch up' that occurs on family holidays.  My sister uses it a lot and post pictures and comments around things she and my nephew does.  These little things are all things I would know and see when I was living close to her and see her regularly but now we're 4000k apart.  It really helps in the feeling that our lives are a bit closer beyond a weekly phonecall.   We regularly talk about the events and things she posts about in those phone calls and I can easily see pictures as she's talking.

  Sure this could be all done through emails but it is a lot easier to make one post for those interested in seeing and have the subsequent conversation all in one place.   I also have more contact with family members that before facebook I only ever saw once every few years.   That has all been quite positive.   For my family it has evolved into a mini digital hub of sorts where people share the big things as well as little things.

I have it set up with different levels of 'friends' so aquaintences don't necessarily see all the family going on.

 I have a group of friends that I only know through online 'playing' in a couple of games.  People who I share that particular interest in and it's just nice to see the face behind the text or voice and get small glimpse of other things besides just our common ground. These are people I will probably never meet in person, but would if distance wasn't an issue.   In one case, though a sad one person 'disappeared' from the game with no comment.  People were concerned. It was through facebook that we discovered that he had been killed in an accident after one of his family members posted about it.  His family then recieved messages of condolences from this game realm that they had little idea that he had participated in.  His Mom posted that she really appreciated finding out a bit about this part of her son in her time of grief.    My life wouldn't have been any worse if I never found out why he disappeared, just one of those internet things that happens, but it was good to find out what had happened to this person that I had had contact and lots of fun with for over six months, even if it was never a face to face meeting.

That's just one example. I expect that without Facebook that group would find another way to connect beyond the game in the digital realm but Facebook just happens to be set up for that sort of purpose.

Do you have a virtual farm I can visit?


ElizaQ
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Joined: May 27 2005

macktheknife wrote:

 

Do you have a virual farm I can visit?

 

lol Um I have one that may still exist from a couple of years ago. Dunno.  The games I'm refering to are MMOs, one main one,  not connected with facebook. 


macktheknife
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Joined: Jun 7 2012

I refuse to get sucked in.


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

Sartre has a FB page.

Camus has two.

I was friends with Frantz Fanon for a while. We'd poke each other.


autoworker
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Joined: Dec 21 2008

Maysie wrote:

Sartre has a FB page.

Camus has two.

I was friends with Frantz Fanon for a while. We'd poke each other.

Thanks Maysie. Without a Facebook account, I might never have known.


radiorahim
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Joined: Jun 17 2002

Eben Moglen on Facebook, Google and Government Surveillance (Youtube video from Publica Conference in Berlin May, 2012)

Eben Moglen is someone progressives should get to know when looking at net issues.    He's the head of the Software Freedom Law Centre, a law professor at Columbia University (who worked for legendary progressive U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall), a leftie and a geek.

Moglen has provided the inspiration for projects like Diaspora* and the "Freedom Box"

He's my kind of people Cool

And no he doesn't have a Facebook page.

There's nothing wrong with social networking at all...and whether you want to use it to organize demonstrations...or to post cute pictures of your cat.  

The question is who is controlling the network?  And for what purpose?   Right now things like Facebook are basically data mining services that profile the users in order to serve them customized advertising content.

We need to change social networking so that to the greatest extent possible the users control it. Moglen offers up ideas on how we can collectively do that.

 


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

I'm more pure than you are, rr.  I got off facebook months ago!  Nyah nyah.


radiorahim
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Michelle wrote:

I'm more pure than you are, rr.  I got off facebook months ago!  Nyah nyah.

You definitely get points for that...but I actually use my Diaspora* account Wink


onlinediscountanvils
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Joined: Jun 7 2012

radiorahim wrote:

Michelle wrote:

I'm more pure than you are, rr.  I got off facebook months ago!  Nyah nyah.

You definitely get points for that...but I actually use my Diaspora* account Wink

 

LOL. I figured someone must be using Diaspora*. I signed up maybe a year ago, but there didn't appear to be anyone else to interact with.


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

 

LOL. I figured someone must be using Diaspora*. I signed up maybe a year ago, but there didn't appear to be anyone else to interact with.

I signed up with similar results. Mind you, I kinda lost faith when I found out that Diaspora* has a Facebook page!!!!!.

 


Sven
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radiorahim wrote:

We need to change social networking so that to the greatest extent possible the users control it.

Why don't you set up and promote an alternative social networking site that is a user-controlled site?


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

I signed up [for Diaspora*] maybe a year ago, but there didn't appear to be anyone else to interact with.

And what might that tell you about the level of interest people have in Diaspora*?


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

Kinda like the first year of Christianity or Islam, sven. Takes at least 18 months to go viral.

 


radiorahim
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Sven wrote:

radiorahim wrote:

We need to change social networking so that to the greatest extent possible the users control it.

Why don't you set up and promote an alternative social networking site that is a user-controlled site?

 

Well to tell you the truth putting up a Diaspora* server is one of the things I'd like to work on when I get the time...as part of a self-learning and training exercise.   Little things like having a job get in the way...but hey...you put up six months worth of my salary and I'll get to it.    In the meantime though I've made donations to both the Diaspora* project and the Freedom Box Foundation because I think they're both good things to do.


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005

RR, aren't time and money two of the critical inputs needed to create a social network that would be even 1% of the size of Facebook?  

The choice for users is, largely, this: Use Facebook for free or financially support an alternative (non-commercial) system.  Because you're right: A meaningful alternative to FB would require huge amounts of time and money to create and maintain. 


radiorahim
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Joined: Jun 17 2002

Unionist wrote:

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

 

LOL. I figured someone must be using Diaspora*. I signed up maybe a year ago, but there didn't appear to be anyone else to interact with.

Quote:
I signed up with similar results. Mind you, I kinda lost faith when I found out that Diaspora has a Facebook page!!!!!.

Hey don't feel bad...I still have a Facebook page...but I often use it to promote things that are "anti-Facebook".   Diaspora* has about maybe 300,000 users world-wide right now...small by world standards, but nothing to sneeze at considering that it started up with four university kids from NYU with an idea and about $200,000 raised on Kickstarter.

Moglen talks about it probably taking about ten years to dethrone Facebook.   The trick will be to make it fairly seemless to move from one corporate network to a non-corporate network.   Will it work?   Who knows but it's well worth trying.

It took many years but Pinochet, Mubarak, Somoza and lots of other nasty folks and their regimes are gone now.   The regime of Zuckerburg is worth trying to overthrow as well.

 

 

 


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005

RR, what features does Diaspora* offer a user which are unavailable elsewhere?  Most people are not going drop FB for political reasons. 


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005

Zuckerburg = Pinochet, Mubarak, etc.?

Are...you...bloody...serious?!?


pookie
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Joined: Dec 13 2005

I knew Eben at Columbia.  He's great.

 


radiorahim
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Joined: Jun 17 2002

Sven wrote:

RR, aren't time and money two of the critical inputs needed to create a social network that would be even 1% of the size of Facebook?  

The choice for users is, largely, this: Use Facebook for free or financially support an alternative (non-commercial) system.  Because you're right: A meaningful alternative to FB would require huge amounts of time and money to create and maintain. 

Time yes, but not as much money as you would think.

It's very expensive to run a highly centralized system like FB where you have a single corporate overlord.   A decentralized system requires a lot of people to do alot of little things.    Diaspora* is a federated social network.    A server can sit in a union office, someone's basement or wherever.

Also, Diaspora* isn't the only attempt at building a non-corporate social network with free software.    There are a few others.    And because all of these networks are using free software, they all have the ability to share code between them.   If one project comes up with a nifty new way to do something then another project can incorporate what's been learned into their own project and vice versa.

If one free software social networking system totally flops, the code from that project is never "dead" the way it is with closed proprietary software.   Someone else can pick and choose the bits that worked well and start something totally new.

For myself, if for example I wanted to do my own little Diaspora* pod server the only real costs I would have would be for a static IP.   I have spare hardware kicking around, and the Diaspora* software is not only "free as in freedom" but also "free as in free beer".     The only requirement is time.   So if I could quit my day job, I could probably figure it all out and get it done.   But since I can't, it'll get done whenever I'm in the mood to get uber-geeky.

If you watch the video that I linked to (and I'm not sure that you have), the trick will be to gradually and seemlessly move people from the centralized corporate controlled networks to the decentralized non corporate networks.   Will it take work?  Yes indeed.   Is it worth doing?  Definitely.

 


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