Computing Tips: My Midlife Facebook Crisis

The new rules of the Web have people usually busy with salaries and diapers newly obsessed with being popular. But one social-networking convert asks: Are these friends (including Martha Stewart) for real?

Having reached the ripe age of 35, I didn’t expect to confront the kind of delicate social dilemmas usually associated with emotional teenage girls. Who are my friends? Should I befriend people I don’t know? Why does everyone have more friends than me?

“It really works as a way of staying in touch passively with people,” Stefan emailed to me as part of his badgering campaign. Facebook also reminds you of friends’ birthdays.

Facebook, as its name suggests, was originally designed to replicate the printed directory handed out to university freshmen. Only users with a college email account could join.

1n 2006, Facebook made two important changes that sped it into the mainstream: (1) it started allowing outsiders to write mini-programs that operate inside its walls, ranging from the profound (presidential-election trackers) to the trivial (throw food at your friends) to the productivity-busting (Scrabulous); and (2) it decided to offer accounts to all comers.

Read more … from the Wall Street Journal Online (may require subscription),
03 Nov 2007

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