Friday, November 23, 2007

Of Internet, Information and Dissent

I love this picture. I found it on Facebook this morning on a feminist group there. Facebook is a strange phenomenon. It's put me back in touch with a lot of people I didn't expect to hear from again, and it's put me in contact with a lot of people I probably wouldn't have got to know without it. This morning, for instance, someone contacted me about a piece of research I conducted for a children's play advocacy organization, PLAYLINK, which was published in September. They need help with their dissertation and found me on Facebook.

But I understand there are also some dangers. My friend Charlie, one of the Peace Cafe Irregulars, posted a short film on the perils of information gathering on Facebook on my Funwall. You can check it out on my profile page or at Youtube, here.

There are other perils to being on Facebook, too. For instance, a few people were sending me strange posts about being a pervert and mentioning obscenity (they were mentioning it, I mean, not me, although I do, from time to time) -I mean, stranger than the messages on this topic that I normally get. It wasn't until I logged onto my own profile page that I realised my friend Kerry had posted a picture of a man with an unusually well developed, er, gland. Now for that, you really will have to check out my profile page.

I wrote about Facebook here a while ago, about a conversation my friend Shelley and I had about Facebook etiquette. I like Facebook, it has to be said, it's just another way of chilling out for me, and a great example of the interactivity of Web 2.0 technologies. Facebook exists for people to interact, and according to the film Charlie sent me, to gather a hell of a lot of information about its users while they do so.

But this is not news. Information gathering is a topic in its own right, and it happens way more than most of us want to think about. I remember Naomi Klein touching on the subject in her fantastic book, No Logo, which, if you haven't already, you should read, by the way.

And talking of Naomi Klein, I wandered over to her website and found a great short film on her latest book, The Shock Doctrine.

Watch this. Check out Naomi's website for yourself, and for God's sake, people, read her books. Like the film says, Information is Shock Resistance. Arm yourself.

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