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Facebook critic calls it “theater”

Facebook is being described as many things today, as pundits, marketers, social scientists and educators try to get a handle of what’s going on in tis space. Is it the ‘connective tissue,’ the “social graph,” the…

New York Times Op-Ed writer Alice Mathias has a different take on all of this, dismissing it as an place that encourages performances and escapism –a time-sucking hangout of the “Fakebook Generation.” Here is how she describes it:

I've always thought of Facebook as online community theater. In costumes we customize in a backstage makeup room — the Edit Profile page, where we can add a few Favorite Books or touch up our About Me section — we deliver our lines on the very public stage of friends' walls or photo albums. And because every time we join a network, post a link or make another friend it's immediately made visible to others via the News Feed, every Facebook act is a soliloquy to our anonymous audience.

I know we instinctively want to challenge this notion. But wait. Mathias is not some angry pundit –she’s a grad student. She makes a solid point that’s worth addressing. Networks like FB make us miss other parts of human interaction. “Dwelling online is a cowardly and utterly enjoyable alternative to real interaction.”

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