Facebook is five years old! Birthdays are a time for reflection of course, looking back and looking forward, so I considered my Facebook use over the past few years — its decline from obsessive constant use and an absolutely vital tool for checking up on the pecadilloes of my social circle to an actual social networking tool. I went from checking wall-to-walls, looking at pictures, and tirelessly sifting through gossip, to posting links — and that's about it.
I realized the other day that I no longer have anything to hide from my Limited Profile list, and that was when I knew that Facebook stopped becoming something personal and started becoming an actual tool for my work. I'm already seeing the same thing happen with Twitter. Instead of being a personal avenue to overshare the intimate details of life with my friends, it's become a professional tool to post links, strike the balance of being funny while still being professional and only occasionally accidentally overshare the intimate details of life with strangers.
All of these social networking tools seem to have cycles, going from personal to professional. People don't stop using them but the way they use them is different, so they turn to the next social networking tool for their personal expression, until that gets taken over by professionals too.
Despite all these avenues for overshare, my private details are actually staying more private now. I'm starting to find the artifice of internet interaction a little false. I think I'm getting more old-fashioned.
Happy birthday, Facebook! You got old fast.
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