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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 24, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Dad unfriended on Facebook

A strange concept of “community”

Regarding the March 21 guest commentary, “Sorry, dad, Facebook isn’t big enough for both of us”:

Let’s see if I understand Megan Burbank correctly: Facebook was designed for college students as an electronic vehicle to exchange vulgarities (“inside jokes,” ” profanity-peppered status updates,” “photographic documentation of every bad choice you’ve ever made”) and misrepresentations (“Facebook engaged, which is like joking-engaged or lying-engaged”).

Does it really make sense, she asks, to open up a social tool that is primarily designed for college students, to everyone, without making fundamental changes to it? Does one really want to open up one’s personal life to one’s aunts, risking awkward run-ins at family gatherings for years to come?

To solve the dilemma of maintaining her electronic outlet for that side of her she would not want family members to see, while at the same time maintaining an image of integrity in the eyes of her family that has no place in Facebook, Megan ended up unfriending her own father.

It seems to me that Facebook is not so much in need of fundamental changes, it is Megan herself. First, she should figure out who she really is. Next, she should be who she really is, electronically as well as in direct interpersonal interactions such as family gatherings.

But to claim that Facebook was designed for a group of insider college students who want to maintain a double standard (“sham”) is an insult to the Facebook community.

— Beate Peter, Shoreline

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