Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Problem with Facebook

In trying to advertise my wife, Lynn's, books on Amazon Kindle, I am told by all those who know to use Facebook, which I have long resisted, to get the word out: network and connect, I am told.

Having had my email hacked three times and my credit card number stolen more than once, I am very cautious about releasing any more information than necessary about my life, such as my photo and my friends, to the waiting world. I have no need to share the details of what I ate today or where I shopped or even what I read with strangers.

Facebook's stated purpose, apparently, is to provide the world with access to me, my life, my appearance, and my friends, who probably don't want to be bothered being connected to me via the internet and more than I want to be automatically connected with them--unless I write to them.

So I was interested today to read that a class-action lawsuit has been filed against Facebook, with 60,000 co-signers (so far).  This came in a piece by Phoebe M. Bory on the issue of parental overshare--a new term to me but one immediately made clear: an open discussion in print or online about one's parents or children and their private problems. At issue is a father writing in the Atlantic about his young son's exposure to porn on the internet. 

Does everything in our lives have to be shared with everyone else? This is only one of the questions Bory raises:  how would the child feel at a later time in her or his life about parents going public about such a problem?What authority does anyone, including a parent, have to share intimate details about another's life?

Even when names are changed, readers are put in the awkward, voyeuristic position of learning about what should remain in the family, and the children involved are at risk.

The line between private and public in this era of social networking has to be more firmly drawn.

As for me, I now have a more substantive reason for avoiding any involvement with Facebook.

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