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DRUM ROLL, PLEASE! INTRODUCING THE SECOND COMMON HOUSEHOLD ITEM WITH MORE VALUE THAN FACEBOOK…..THE DASHING DOORKNOB!
Give this little guy a round of applause. The doorknob is one hardworking little household item with quite a bit more value than Facebook. Indeed, the doorknob has been working hard ever since the first real doors were invented. Studies show that the doorknob was invented even before the ground-breaking first wheel. Originally, doorknobs may have been straps of leather or small holes into which one might stick his fingers and pull. However, scientists can’t really say for sure, as the first doors have long since rotted away. Definitely, these knobs have a lot more historical intrigue than Facebook. They also now come in a variety of beautiful and useful sizes, shapes and colors. Today, you can even get your doorknob in the shape of a peacock, glue-gun, lime, or (if you don’t mind special ordering and a tad longer wait) llama. Almost 70% of doorknobs are go-getters. 20% are overachievers, and a 10% minority are slackers. A good doorknob is used about 100 times a day on average, which I hope is many more times than the average person logs on to Facebook each day. Doorknobs can also be locked and therefore keep snoops and burglars out of places where they should not be. Facebook, on the other hand, only invites snoops and burglars and supplies them with all sorts of private information. Doorknobs generally have love-interests in the form of gloves. In this modern era, people have tried to impede these healthy relationships by refusing to wear gloves. This is why people usually go around bare-handed nowadays. It is a pity, for it is proper and natural for a new doorknob and glove pair to elope at least every other Thursday. The severe lack of gloves these days has fired a revolt in the youngest doorknob generation. Many of them intentionally squeak, a few angrily rattle, and a small number of radicals voluntarily open the doors to chatty political activists, fire-breathing dragons, and/or telemarketers who have lost their voices. But can we blame them? Doorknobs have a history of helpfulness. Often braving wind and rain and sleet and snow, doorknobs stick to their charges (the stoic doors) and get the job done. In conclusion, next time you use the dashing doorknob to open or close a door, reflect on how this hardworking knob is a lot more valuable than Facebook.
(Authored by M. S. Feiring, With Some Strange Additives by S. J. Buckner)
First off, the silence on this end can be explained by the fact that the computer I do most of my work on crashed on Wednesday. Done for. Vanquished. Slaughtered. So, I was liberated from the machine for a couple of days. Except for the stress of knowing that data and such had to be retrieved, I had a peachy time ignoring the existence of the web for a day or two. Sometimes I do think I could be a hermit. Of course, every several hours I would sit down at the desk and put my hand to the mouse before the dead screen recalled me to my computerless situation. And the dead screen gave me a thrill of joy every time. It was swell while it lasted but now I’ve been recaptured by this technological age of (scoff, sneer, snicker) “progress.” Anyhow, I am truly sorry if I have missed any comments or questions from my lovely readers.
Now, this is fascinating stuff. Here is a representation by Matt McKeon showing how much of your Facebook information is public if you use the default settings, as of April 2010 (Click to enlarge):
Somebody’s getting greedy. The neat thing is that Mr. McKeon (a Facebooker himself; he actually likes the thing) has also made graphs showing how much of your information was public (according to default) in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009. Start with the first year and watch Facebook grab more and more privacy away from its unsuspecting followers.
Mr. McKeon is frank about the fact that he is still in the process of revising his chart and keeping it up-to-date. He is certainly not biased against Facebook and appears to have done a fine job of fairly interpreting the data. In fact, he sounds like a nice fellow; I wish he would quit Facebook. Yet he does not seem to have any such plans. Still, he admits:
“Over the past couple of years, the default privacy settings for a Facebook user’s personal information have become more and more permissive. They’ve also changed how your personal information is classified several times, sometimes in a manner that has been confusing for their users. This has largely been part of Facebook’s effort to correlate, publish, and monetize their social graph: a massive database of entities and links that covers everything from where you live to the movies you like and the people you trust.”
Mr. McKean thinks the remedy to this distressing problem is just to be aware and change the default privacy settings. Not to bust his cheerfulness bubble, but a rather interesting Daily Finance article I read yesterday morning points out that Facebook, along with MySpace, has sent data “to online ad giants that could be used to identify a user’s name, age, hometown, and occupation regardless of their privacy settings.” (My emphasis added.)
Okay, here are some other items worthy of note:
1) The time was ripe so Sam Gustin of Daily Finance gave Mark Zuckerberg a friendly warning earlier this month: “Mark my words, Mark,” spoke Sam. ”You continue down this path, and you’ll destroy the company. Things can change very quickly on the internet and you’d better get your hubris in check before you face the same fate as Xerxes.” Nice one, Mr. Gustin!
2) You really should read “those pathetic youngsters” which Alan Jacobs posted in April. Brief but telling.
3) In case you were wondering, I really am going to get back to work on those other 99 Household Items With More Value than Facebook. Soon.
Well, congrats if you made it to the end of my rambling. I was also going to mention the upcoming Quit Facebook Day you have probably heard about, but I’ll have to save that for later.
S. J. Buckner
Check thee out the new Comics section of the site!
I will be adding more later!
Also, enjoy this latest addition to the compilation of Favorite Anti-Facebook Quotes:
“The human race has susceptibility to harm but Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record: he has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age.” (Eben Moglen)
Compliments of Unhappy Hipsters: It’s Lonely in the Modern World. This interesting site thrives on pictures like the one below, with often amusing captions.
“It was hard to tell if social networking had instilled an instinct to compulsively pose, or if there was actually a photographer at the end of the living room.”
(Photo: Mark Steinmertz; Dwell, September 2003)
Christine Rosen makes a good point here in an article entitled “Awe and the Machine.” I do find it lamentable that most of us understand very, very little about the science at work behind our technological innovations. More significantly, it is regrettable that people are so ready to sacrifice direct experience for virtual reality. At the end of the day, virtual experience is only so fulfilling to the human soul. It is real people, places, and experiences that affect on a much more profound level. Emphasis is my own:
“In the early age of machines, they inspired awe by proving capable of doing what man could never do alone (such as power an entire factory), or what we once believed only man could do (play chess). Now we expect our machines to do just about everything for us, from organizing our finances to writing our grocery lists. Our machines not only ease the mundane burdens of daily life (cooking, cleaning, working), but also serve, increasingly, as both our primary source of entertainment and the means for maintaining intimate relationships with others. Henry Adams’s dynamo has been replaced by Everyman’s iPod, and awe has given way to complacence and dependence. Your computer’s e-mail program doesn’t inspire awe; it is more like a dishwasher than a dynamo. Nineteenth-century rhapsodies to the machines that tamed nature, such as the steam engine, have given way to impatience with the machines that don’t immediately indulge our whims. The decline in humility toward our machines comes at a time when we know almost nothing about how or why they work. Although overwhelmed by its power, Henry Adams nevertheless had a basic understanding of how the dynamo operated. Most of us know very little about how our laptop computers run or how to repair our washing machines. Today we are less likely to feel awe in the presence of our machines than we are to experience what historian Jacques Barzun called “machine-made helplessness.” This, too, is a form of blind faith, like the people who, devotedly following the instructions of their car’s GPS device, drive right off a hill, all the while certain that this must be impossible — how could their perfectly calibrated machine be wrong? The awe experienced by earlier generations was part of a different worldview, one that demonstrated greater humility about many things, not least of which concerned their own human limits and frailties. Today we believe our machines allow us to know a lot more, and in many ways they do. What we don’t want to admit — but should — is that they also ensure that we directly experience less. Updating your Facebook page is a lot easier than venturing out into the world to confront a dynamo, as Adams did. But it is also, in the end, likely to be a lot less awe-inspiring.”
“Modern societies must decide what their loves truly are — or else technology itself will entrap them in what is merely feasible.”
— Michael Novak, Ascent of the Mountain, Flight of the Dove
P.S. For those who have asked about anti-Facebook shirts, research is underway!
AFLI readers will be pleased to hear that this spectacular organization was briefly mentioned in the UK Times Online on Sunday. I must say that I am quite pleased that this news coverage describes me in such a vivid way: snarling, to be precise. My brother found the depiction hysterical; he told me he always knew that I could snarl if I put my mind to it. Hmmmm. Anyhow, the article is titled “Beware: Facebook’s Dr. Evil Wants To Be Your Closest Friend” and can be found here: http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article7113849.ece
But here’s the “important” section if you don’t have time to read it.
Now — Dr Evil attempt No3 — Facebook has announced a series of radical changes called “social plug-ins”. We can instantly tell our friends what we like by pressing a “Like” button on whatever website we happen to enjoy. Superficially, this gimmick sounds innocent. But it reveals your details to companies that can then target you. It personalises your web browsing, but at the expense of exposing you to commercial pressure. All of which has turned out to be slightly less popular than toothache.
“So now you’ll have the most comprehensive database concerning people and their interests,” snarls SJ Buckner on her Anti-Facebook League of Intelligentsia blog. “You’ve made an information-sharing deal to help companies target consumers. Good. Because that’s what we all desire deep down inside. To be targeted. We all want to be the deer behind the hunter’s gun.”
The big geek blog TechCrunch reported that, after the Facebook announcement, “a lot of geeks are considering leaving Facebook” and “veritable droves of Google software engineers are among them.”