Townie guide to... Working the net

Friday, January 9, 2009

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Amy Mason

Amy Mason, SAHM, MILF, student, Lady of the Lawnmower, Facebook fiend

How did you get sucked into the time-sodomizer known as Facebook?

“I was initially dragged to MySpace through peer pressure—picture Matthew Lillard here—and discovered that many of my friends were on Facebook instead.”

Hey, remember Friendster? Nah, me either.

“I actually have never used Friendster. I went with MySpace and Facebook... My personal goal was to get back in touch with friends I hadn't seen in a while. We'd lived in 5 different cities in a matter of 5 years, before settling down in Lawrence, so there were a lot of people to catch up with. MySpace helped a lot with that goal, but after a while, MySpace's reputation combined with my personal experience of awkward social situations and bulletins with TMI were the catalyst for my leaving that networking site exclusively for Facebook. I've also synced my Twitter feed to my Facebook account so that I can keep in touch while on the go, as, I think, most people do.”

Do you feel that a person's worth can be determined by how many friends they've never met on Facebook? What's the best way to pad your pile of friends?

“Yes, the integrity of your friends list is a definite direct reflection on your character. I've recently completed the milestone of 200 Facebook friends and there are only 3 that I don't actually know. Two of those are organizations—Lawrence Daut Caum being one, and Cornerstone Festival being the other. The third is political commentator Jeffery Toobin, but he emailed me personally once, so I still think he sort of counts. My friend Wes told me the other day that there was no way they were all my friends, but really ‘just acquaintances.’ I disagree. The best way to ‘pad’ your numbers is to simply go out and make friends. I love to see and be seen. I love to have people at my house and I love to meet new people. My Facebook numbers correlate to my outgoing personality.”

More intrusive to fundamental constitutional rights—NSA wiretapping or Facebook News Feed?

“The News Feed is way more intrusive. At least on the phone, unless you're Rod Blagojevich, you know there is probably someone listening and that it’s just a teeny tiny government agency who keeps it to themselves. On Facebook however, you never know who's picture comment is going to shoot your picture across the web and all over the world in a matter of seconds. See Barack Obama’s speechwriter, Jon Favreau.”

Is Facebook best utilized as an organizing tool, as in the Obama campaign? Or as a simple way to stay in touch, as in cyber-stalking my ex-girlfriends while drunk and nude?

“I have actually used MySpace for networking purposes with great success, twice. The first time was to raise money for Seth Wiese's medical bills when some anonymous jerks beat him up and the other time was to promote my lawn mowing business. Both times I found that the key to success was honesty. With my Lady and Lawn Mower account, I sent a message to locals who indicated ‘networking’ was one of their interests and I added a message saying something like ‘I'm mowing lawns for the summer and adding friends to get the word out.’ They knew exactly what I was asking of them and they knew I wasn't a stock photo hot chick trying to get them in my MLM scheme. I do have friends who use their profiles, both on MySpace and on Facebook, to promote their art or their books or music. I think that’s a fantastic way to drum up business and I don't hold their adding strangers as friends against them. My real life friend and former Lawrencian, artist Kristen Ferrell, is very good at getting her work and her personal messages across on both networking sites and everybody loves her. I befriended author Kevin May on MySpace through mutual friends and have now read his book and plugged it on my blog. As for drunken, naked cyber-stalking, it's a free country. But please, please double check that your webcam and Messenger isn't ‘accidentally’ on while participating in this activity.”

Will actual human interaction finally be eradicated thanks to Facebook?

“I predict that because of social networking sites, face-to-face human interaction will be exponentially increased, as will the efficiency in setting up those meetings. There are just some things you shouldn't type and there are other things that require contact. For example, drinking while IM-ing your buddy who is also drinking still counts as drinking alone. When bands bring fans to their shows through MySpace, it shows the power of being able to get the social information out to many, many people. Getting an email from a band just doesn't have the same effect. When you get a MySpace or Facebook invite, you can see who else says they're going and your friends can see that you're going. That's way more helpful than being on list serve.”