Facebook Reaches Beyond the Grave

by Alphaville Herald on 08/08/09 at 4:16 pm

Dead unlikely to confirm friendships

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnngggggggggggg. The pointer on my irony meter smacked against the max irony peg – hard – and wobbled slightly backwards with a nasty permanent bend. I had just logged into Facebook – a leading contender for the coveted corporate crown in a race to package and commodify lives, relationships, and everything else.  As usual, Facebook felt I needed to document more relationships and offered some helpful suggestions.

Carmen 1

This time Facebook guessed right, and included a friend and Herald colleague on my list. But – bad luck for me! The timing was a bit off. Carmen Hermosillo died almost exactly one year ago.

But why would Facebook want to limit life-mapping to only the living? Ubiquitous access and continuous growth are certainly worthy goals, and small details like no logins for a year and iffy internet connections to the afterlife should not be a barrier to sharing even more personal information with the über-fashionable Facebook data-mining operation. I do hope Carmen's ghost will confirm we are friends – her profile looks a bit sparse.

Fanboys tell me Facebook helps them stay connected, and the endless requestsfor more detailed personal social mappings validated with constant posts and tweets to build traffic – why this is just the price of admissionin a happy, friendly community provided free of charge.

Of course, the real agenda is providing everyone with a deeper, more meaningful andengaged relationship with anything that might monetize Facebook for it's owners. The rest of us are just the volunteer labor in agrand endeavor. Now even the dead have been enlisted to help. 

If Carmen were alive, I imagine she would have something scathing tosay about the whole experience.

I settled for the next best thing andre-read two of her classics: Pandora's Vox and The History of the Board Ho.

Carmen 2

What Carmen wrote 5 years ago is a far more incisive analysis than anything I have read lately:

…people who participate in chat boards like stratics often fail to realize that they are really part of a corporate data mining project in which their posts are scanned for personal information, preferences, buying habits etc. they are, by virtue of their contributions, giving away valuable information about themselves – valuable to corporations that build video games and other tech toys. by providing this personal information, they also provide a jerry-springeresque spectacle for the entertainment of others, hopefully drawing more eyes to the board, hence more posts, hence more data for the marketing data crunchers. the participants, by giving away valuable personal information about themselves have commodified their private lives – by giving it away they have become “board ho’s”…
…proponents of so-called cyber-communities rarely emphasize the economic, business-mind nature of the community: many cyber-communities are businesses that rely upon the commodification of human interaction. they market their businesses by appeal to hysterical identification and fetishism no more or less than the corporations that brought us the two hundred dollar athletic shoe…

“don’t get broke off for free.” –Evangeline

5 Responses to “Facebook Reaches Beyond the Grave”

  1. Senban Babii

    Aug 8th, 2009

  2. Ener Hax

    Aug 10th, 2009

    oh crap :( that makes me feel so bad for you. gee, i guess this stuff is all so new still, but it will become a bigger and bigger issue. like isl, your stuff can be included in a will but it’s weird to think of your profile always being up

  3. Tizzers Foxchase

    Aug 10th, 2009

    “Now even the dead have been enlisted to help.”

    How positively mormonesque.

  4. Archie Lukas

    Aug 14th, 2009

    You are aware (of course) that this isn’t ‘real’?

    It’s all done with smoke and mirrors.

    Trust me.


  5. Ancient1

    Aug 24th, 2009

    Stayed late at the office and before I left checked my RSS reader and laughed hard at your writing. “Dead unlikely to confirm friendships” somehow just tickles me and makes me laugh. Nice writing job.

Leave a Reply