Oh man, have I lost sleep over this project. What was originally supposed to be a project about "Facebook stalking" turned into something way more personal. I have always realized but never totally acknowledged the ways in which Facebook makes me feel insignificant. For example, I look at what everyone else is doing all the time and I compare what people are doing to what I am doing. I compare how many friends people have to how many I have. I take very personally what people say about me on the internet. To narrow the message of my project down, it's that we DON'T need to know what everyone is doing all the time.
Had Facebook been around in 1994 when Philip E. Agre was writing about surveillance and capture, he would definitely have labeled Facebook as a "tracking" device. A few examples he gives of "tracking" are GPS devices that allow us to find directions while we are sitting in our cars, and package tracking using bar codes after we ship out of UPS. It's not that these systems aren't useful. My GPS has definitely saved my butt a couple of times, and tracking packages on the internet is a nice convenience as well. It's just that these systems are invasive. It's like we have given up our privacy in order to live a more convenient life. Facebook is the worst perpetrator. Now it's so convenient to track our friends that all we have to do is sit down at a computer and we can know every detail about their lives for the past 3 years.
Richard B. Woodward, a more contemporary writer, seems to share many similar ideas with Agre. While Agre compares tracking devices to Nazi Germany, Woodward states in is article, "Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870:"
"In defiance of George Orwell's warnings, most people
seem unconcerned by the erosion of the wall between
a private and public self. Snapshots and home videos, once
confined to a family scrapbook or attic trunk, are now
Both men seem to agree that the ability to track people should only belong to some sort of dystopic society, and that by allowing ourselves to be tracked so easily we are careening dangerously on the border of "Big Brother." Is Facebook a great way to keep in touch or are we sacrificing our privacy so we can be monitored by the ever watchful eye? And what about the smaller repercussions? What about our sanity? Can we stand to know every detail of our friends' lives and have them know every detail about ours?