Friday, February 6, 2009

I See Dead People

Well, from my previous post you may have discerned that I am--for the time being anyway--a still-inquisitive 'newbie' in the world of Facebook. I am still too new to it to have formulated anything like a comprehensive review, but I have had mixed feelings that I will here attempt to explore.

First of all, here is the positive part. I like the fact that it allows for another level--at another speed, if you will--of communication. It is on another level because it allows connections that were otherwise rather weak, like with my friends at work and old school friends and friends of the family to flourish without an elaborate 're-connection' process. I find that I like the way that the flow of communication moves at what might be described as a languid pace, quite a bit slower than the phone, texting or IM but not so slow as email or a blog. I like the fact that I can tell everyone what I'm doing without having to tell them; I can find out what they are doing without having to ask. It's paradoxically personal and impersonal all at the same time.

This brings me to the downside. In what I assume to be an attempt to make the experience more personal, in the same way that Amazon will recommend books that I 'might like', Facebook helpfully suggests 'friends' that I might like to make. Ok, so that might work except that one of the first suggestions that it made was, in fact, Pierre.

Bang! There was his picture and a link to his page. Ironically, because I've just joined, Pierre and I are not officially 'friends', and because he is dead, although I can send him a 'Friend Request', he is not likely to approve it any time soon.

So in this place, we find ourselves in an electronic purgatory, where the dead are not quite gone and we--the living--cannot be sure if the people we see still alive. Perhaps they are yet shades or just our overactive imaginations and the incarnation of our secret desire to have them with us forever?

Thus it is that I wonder: How many dead people are there in this place? And how can you tell? Who takes down the sites for the dead, and at whose request? Like the county whose ballot box set LBJ on the path to the Presidency, Facebook may not be as populated as it seems.

1 comment:

Trevor W Goodchild said...

Yeah..i found this kind of unnerving a bit. I hadn't told you but i found his facebook page a while back...i figured you guys had created it in his memory but it looks like you're discovering it now too. It is a interesting point you make...i wonder how many other pages are out there from people no longer here.