The hype surrounding Facebook’s pervasive knowledge of our habits and violation of privacy issues is intriguing. This week both Salon and The Huffington Post have written about the penchant of Facebook’s Mark Zukerberg to use 'friends' communication patterns to try to predict the stability of couples.
Just recently I came across a piece in Mashable that discussed Facebook’s “Valentine’s Day’ experiment to determine if it’s users were happy or sad based on 1. the disclosed relationship status and 2.the number of optimistic or pessimistic words used in the status updates.
Why demonize Facebook for this? Buzz monitoring is not just used on Facebook, it is used to evaluate all social media on the internet including this blog. Moreover, what people choose to present on a public social media site is not always entirely accurate. For instance, on Facebook, my 14 year old daughter is married to a girl friend. She claims that it is a growing trend among young teenage girls to stay ‘married’ to good friends because ‘it is really embarrassing to have a breakup blasted all over Facebook.’ What people disclose to the public in terms of blogging, relationship status etc. is still just a 'performance self’. Can we truly know what is in someone’s inner psyche is based on what they say in a status? How accurate is this? This is still just one of many media tools for marketers. I personally don’t even know if I am happy or sad half the time, I doubt that Facebook does….but possibly Santa does- at least he knows if I have been good or bad.