Facebook by The Oatmeal


I forgot how much I love The Oatmeal!


Obsessed with Facebook


Well, I like my pretty charts. I’m likely addicted to Facebook as well.

Facebook for Democracy



Facebook has become one of the few social media sites approved by members of Congress to be used for reaching out to the public.  Why not go one step further?


Facebook Poll and Question can be used to spark debate by members of the government and engage the public.  These tools can be used to get a good sense of the internet public opinion, at least, until the majority of people have joined Facebook. 


The policy of democracy by representation will always be in effect, but the representative will have a cheap and instant update from their public.  The public will also gain access to greater influence and hopefully transparency on policy. 


If the trend continues to move forward, Facebook then becomes a economical, lightweight vehicle for basic government functionality like voting, identification for drivers’ licenses, for fines and tickets.  Even congressional activities can be done over a webcam and votes submitted to Facebook in real-time, greatly improving efficiency and costs of the entire process.  Granted, in this brave new world, the Facebook places check-in feature would begin to feel very much like Big Brother.  There is however the benefit that Facebook could enable true Democracy and reduce the need for representatives to begin with.  Although to prevent mob rule, Facebook could still be used to elect more proletariat representatives, thus reducing the entry barriers and the typical campaign war chest required. 


With true representation, there is a question of true identity.  Facebook Connect is Facebook’s identity system which ties a Facebook user to his profile.  Should the Connect feature proliferate at its current pace across the web, they must move towards a more secure system. There is still no guarantee that one person does not have many profiles, no guarantee that a single person corresponds to his true profile, and probably many more tough challenges. 


Since industrial strength security measures are not in place yet, these speculations are fairly premature!  So don’t worry, Big Brother is not here yet.

Midnight Muse: Everything is Free


This month, I’ve done what I should have done a long time ago.  I’ve deleted my Yahoo, Google Buzz, MySpace accounts.  I’m tempted to delete my AIM account too, before AOL goes bankrupt and desperately sells my data to the highest bidder.  Is it too late?


Over the years, I’ve left my digital tracks all over the internet whenever a new web upstart demands my identity and password for the privilege of entering it’s hallowed ranks.   Signing up for some new internet services or social media has been like my crack cocaine, except it was free.  Even knowing the risks of identity theft, I can not help myself.  There is something glorious about being an early adopter.


I’m sort of relieved that there isn’t a shallow way to determine everything I’ve ever signed up for and farm that information.  Or is there?  I wish I were less like some internet cattle to be herded from one site to another.  I wish I could find a way to easily manage everything that has required my identity authorization, similar to the centralized Facebook or OpenId authorization I now take for granted.   I’d like to go back to my internet past and start obliterating any stray strands of my identity, unless this cause is lost as soon as I’ve signed away my identity.


While I like having a central management for my login identity, it is also troubling for the future.  I’m starting to worry that Facebook will get hacked and I will be many factors more vulnerable.  Maybe I will be wishing I deleted my Facebook sooner? 


I note that in this era of free web services, I’m always in search of the next titan free service provider.  Let’s just say that I want to put the brunt of my activities on the winning platform, so I can avoid the debacle of Delicious and Geocities!  Then again, I will also want to hedge my bets by signing up for alternative free services.  Here I am: a most fickle and spoiled feaster of the free services buffet.  However, the nature of getting “free” services induces a hidden cost of being commander of my data (let’s make this synonymous with my identity).


Free is a deceptive cost.  There is no contractual agreement between a freeloader and a service provider, so the freeloader is benefiting from a charity.  The benefactors have made us so enamored that we forget that they do not operate a charity.  What happens when this tacit agreement fails and a major communication provider collapses?  Would this scenario never occur because there must be a newer better service that has syphoned away the business of the older service?  It seems paradoxical that a society gambles everything on something it expects to ultimately fail.

Ceci n???est pas un profil


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