Tuesday, 29 January 2008

'Is' and errs

This article is something I stumbled upon this evening, and considering the recent posts here about Facebook I thought it fit rather nicely into the discussions.

I'm not going to do a huge entry on my own feelings about Facebook, as they can be summed up neatly in a few sentences. I use it, mainly for convenience of contact with friends (especially as MSN slows down my rubbish laptop too much to bother running it). I preferred it when it was solely a university-based social networking site. I also preferred it without most of the applications (a few of them, such as Flixter the film review application, I love; some I use but wouldn't miss if they weren't there; the majority I wish didn't exist). I've grown to accept how Facebook has changed now, and I use it the way I always have. Occasionally it grates on me that I feel I'm going to get repetitive strain injury from scrolling down some of my friends pages - past the aquarium, the horoscope, the "Which Buffy character are you?" frames and the Little Britain quote generator - just to see their wall.

Anyway, it seems James Rivington (the guy who wrote the article) has developed a loathing for Facebook which started when the applications were introduced and has continually increased ever since. Fair enough, I too find the applications annoying as I stated above. However, Rivington then appears to take his hole-picking and hatred to a new level. He comments on Facebook's decision to remove the mandatory 'is' from the beginning of your Facebook status, and basically makes this out to be a huge problem and one that will encourage people to be vain and post irrelevant status updates.

To a limited extent I see what he means. The unavoidable use of 'is' does point users to a particular type of status. However, I don't think that taking away the 'is' has made a huge amount of difference. It just gives people that little bit of extra freedom in choosing their own verbs with which to start their status updates. Rivington's fears of vanity and pointless statuses seem trivial, as I'm fairly sure most of the people who wanted to be vain and write pointless things on the internet did that perfectly well with an 'is' in front of their name on Facebook, and will continue to do it just as well without one. "Chad is MONSTER HOUSE PARTAY 2NYT BRING BEER OOH YEH!!!" will simply now become "Chad MONSTER HOUSE PARTAY 2NYT BRING BEER OOH YEH!!!"

Essentially, Rivington comes across as someone trying to find further reasons to hate something they've already stated they hate. He talks about people loving the sound of their own voice, but seeing as his article is a mixture of weak criticism and repetition of his own opinion, maybe he should take a look at the ironic status his own article has placed upon its writer.

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