June 27, 2012

Facebook resets users' political views.

A mere accident, purportedly. And it only affected Facebookians who failed to identify with a party or ideology that had its own Facebook page. So if you individualized your political orientation — calling yourself, say, "a recovering bleeding heart" or a "sniveling democrublican" or some such outrĂ© invention — that might have been obliterated.

I'm guessing Facebook is working on getting individual pages to link up in various "social network" ways within the Facebook website. I'm assuming it's all for the business interests of Facebook. But perhaps the company is trying to help political parties (and causes) organize and communicate. All this idiosyncratic nomenclature cuts off the pathways of power.

This makes me wonder what I have on my Facebook page. Oh, I see. I wrote: "read my blog." But now what it says is "Other" on a separate line before what I wrote. And "Other" is hot-linked to a Facebook page for "Other," where the content is lifted from the Wikipedia article "Other":
The Other or Constitutive Other (also the verb othering) is a key concept in continental philosophy; it opposes the Same
"Same" and "continental philosophy" are hot-linked to other Facebook pages. So lots of linkage, plus the insane idea that I have identified myself with some damned continental philosophy concept!
The Other refers, or attempts to refer, to that which is other than the initial concept being considered. The Constitutive Other often denotes a person Other than one’s self; hence, the Other is identified as “different”; thus the spelling often is capitalized.
That's rich. And actually, accidentally sort of true, since I'm keeping out of all the established political identifications. But I don't need Facebook insinuating that I'm somebody else's not-self.
A person's definition of the 'Other' is part of what defines or even constitutes the self (in both a psychological and philosophical sense) and other phenomena and cultural units. It has been used in social science to understand the processes by which societies and groups exclude 'Others' whom they want to subordinate or who do not fit into their society. 
I am Facebook's Other! I am what Facebook wants to subordinate because I do not fit into its society/social network.

(By the way, I'm not looking for Facebook friends, so please don't ask.)

44 comments:

Michael K said...

"(By the way, I'm not looking for Facebook friends, so please don't ask.)"

Good, me neither.

Shanna said...

It's my experience you don't have to look for friends on facebook, they find you!

My political statement still remains the same free text statement it has always been. (although my quotes probably give me away)

Ann Althouse said...

"It's my experience you don't have to look for friends on facebook, they find you!"

Well, but people find me and ask me and I'm just saying in advance that's not the way I use Facebook. I don't like having to say no to requests that are people meaning well and being nice (mostly). Some people do use Facebook more like I use this blog, and they want all the "friends" they can get.

Jim said...

WTF is continental philosophy?

They didn't teach that in engineering school. I got to read Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, then I found out I could take logic for my other humanities course. Saved my GPA, let me tell you.

Is this why I always read about some lefty accusing conservatives of being afraid of the OTHER? Well you ought to be afraid of Fracture Mechanics if you want something to be afraid of.

Paddy O said...

I'm an Other too.

An Other in religion and politics.

My descriptions stayed, though, they're just not linked to a Facebook group (good! I would hate to have my otherness diluted by people sharing my same otherality). Next thing you know they would start trying to give me gifts.

chickelit said...

Facebookians?

Orwell would disapprove. Keep it simple and Anglo-Saxon: Facebookers.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Eh bien, the America, she is a continent too, not? So l'Althouse may also have the philosophy continental, the, how do you say? The neutrality cruel.

TosaGuy said...

I tried to insert "Facebook Content and Advertising Statistic Provider" as my employer and it wouldn't let me do it.

TosaGuy said...

I also don't have info like my employer, school, etc. on FB since my friends already know that.

bagoh20 said...

Mine just says: "L.M.A. = Leave Me Alone."

It's still undisturbed, so apparently, they respect my political views.

edutcher said...

When you have all those sheep, it's wasteful not to shear them every now and again.

george said...

But for a letter you could have been "mother." Hi Mom! Can I borrow the keys to the blog?

EMD said...

Facebook also changed all email addresses to Facebook email addresses.

I didn't change it back because mine is already set to private, and I have no idea how to access my Facebook.com email.

Freeman Hunt said...

It didn't affect mine, which is something made up.

Freeman Hunt said...

I added "The Moscow Puzzles" to my Books list today, and only thirteen other people already "liked" it. Some network.

Portia said...

I wouldn't even know if they did. I got on FB at the request of my daughter. I have a few friends, mostly family, and I glean pictures of events I'm not even at. As a scrapbook builder it's great, other than that I don't pay much attention.

rhhardin said...

The Other is the start of everything for Levinas, who founds ontology on ethics rather than vice versa.

Which might be friendlier to the Althouse outlook than it sounds.

rhhardin said...

There's a signing-up-for-stuff problem when they ask you for identifying information and you lie about it, trying to remember your age or mother's name when you lose your password.

It's simpler to get another userid.

- yclept9

YoungHegelian said...

Oh, oh, now you've gone and dissed the Continental Philosophy mafia! You've stepped in it now!

First, it starts with the article "Prof. Ann Althouse: An Sich or Fur Sich? in The Review of Metaphysics.

And then you start getting calls saying "That's a nice theory of constitutional law you got there, lady. It'd be a real shame if someone were to accidentally deconstruct it."

I'd start looking to the things themselves if I were you.

Paddy O said...

My metanarrative has gone missing!

Michael K said...

"Well you ought to be afraid of Fracture Mechanics if you want something to be afraid of."

Try organic chemistry or biochemistry. One of my lab partners in medical school had a PhD in P-chem and he couldn't figure out the first quiz.

t-man said...

I deleted my FB account the day it went public.

I expected to reopen a new account so that I could monitor my new teenager, but she has expressed absolutely no interest in FB, and none of her friends have joined either.

Ron said...

I wish Facebook had a "meh" button instead of "Like".


There's comedy gold in a 'Ann and Meade play Farmville' YouTube video...

Bryan C said...

It changed me to "Other", too. I'd previously written "small-l libertarian", meaning of libertarian beliefs but not a member of the stupendously inept Libertarian Party.

When I changed it back to "small-l libertarian", it linked me to a page with a vague and arguably incorrect Wikipedia definition of "libertarianism". Which is better than some official party page, I suppose, but still not entirely what I had in mind.

Petunia said...

Aaaaand stuff like this is why my FB name is not my real name and why I have no personal info up there at all.

Ashleycasas11 said...

The details in mine were not changed either. Maybe the need to stop on giving out too much personal information publicly is advisable. So you'll not experience some sort of issues in these social networking sites in the future.

Will Richardson said...

If you really want to have a lot of fun, try deleting the new Facebook email account you were assigned and that Facebook used to replaced your preferred email address.

Conserve Liberty said...

Ah, I remember when Facebook was only for people whose email address ended in .edu

Crunchy Frog said...

In Soviet Russia...

Facebook Friends Find You!

yashu said...

Je est un autre.

Serious LOL that facebook is linking political orientation "other" to philosophical concept "Other"!

JimM47 said...

I find my idiosynchratically-named political views unaltered, and still unlinked. Though I believe my entry, "old whig," is not so idiosynchratic that it hasn't been mentioned in facebook ads.

Amartel said...

It's given me a new email address @facebook. Which I will never use so there.

Get off my lawn, Facebook kids!!!
Wait, what?
It's not "my" "lawn"?
It's Facebook's lawn?
I just leave all my stuff on it?
And Facebook can borrow the stuff? and sell it to other people?
without my knowledge?
and without compensating me?
and replace it with crap?
.
.
.
What a fine idea!

Amartel said...

http://weknowwhatyouredoing.com/

Jose_K said...

Mine remains:Libertario: favors free markets and limited government. ia dded the meaning because in spanish libertarian means anarchist

Jose_K said...

hells it he Others

Craig said...

David Guterson, author of Snow Falling On Cedars, has a recent novel called The Other which actually makes use of the meaning from continental philosophy. The story links the other with what we used to call old money.

Craig said...

The German word for "or" is oder, which is also the name of the river that separates Germany from Poland. The Poles call it Odra just for the sake of being difficult.

Craig said...

The experience of otherness can easily turn into a confrontation with one's second self or doppelgänger.

Fritz said...

Facebook; if you're not a paying customer, you're the product.

JAL said...

My wise oldest son, as I complained (read "bitched") about Rotten Tomatoes giving me the movie opinion of several friends I am linked to on Facebook (!) when I was looking up a movie, asked me "What do you pay for Facebook?"
Me: "Nothing."
He: "If you aren't paying for something, you are not the customer, you are the product."

I don't particularly care for Facebook, rarely post, and actually wonder what it is that motivates people to put the stuff about themselves out that they do.

But then I don't get Maury or Jerry either.

And I don't particularly care that some acquaintance can't decide whether to get up and have a cup of coffee this morning.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

Ahh Fritz -- just saw your post.

Please note: As far as I know Frtiz is not my son. My son does not live in Maryland. He doesn't fish. He doesn't have a beard. Though he does have a gmail account ... Of course on google one can be anybody or nobody.

Now FB? Shouldn't Portia (I first wrote Petunia!! The Althouse flower posts are on my mind, I guess.)in Trouble? I thought FB people had to follow The Rules and use their real names. For shame, Portia!

Jim Howard said...

In my case 'Other - Right Wing Wacko' was not changed.

DEEBEE said...

Wow in Zookey we found a modern day Henry Ford. "They can have any political affiliation as long as it is ...."