Facebook proudly opens its virtual doors today to non-students, non-professionals and even any anonymous hotmail account holder! Carolyn Abram, writes in the Facebook blog, “Welcome to Facebook, everyone.”
So let the universal “poking” begin. Not so fast, Carolyn assures the recently restive Facebookers:
Now you can all connect.
This doesn’t mean that anyone can see your profile, however. Your profile is just as closed off as it ever was. Our network structure is not going away. College and work networks still require an authenticated email address to join. Only people in your networks and confirmed friends can see your profile.
We listened to what you guys had to say and built extra privacy controls that we launched last week. If you’re uncomfortable with regional users being able to see you on Facebook, you can always change your privacy settings to prevent people from finding you in searches and communicating with you. Also, we’ve built out a bunch of tools that will help verify new users and prevent spammers from bothering you.
Carolyn is apparently so concerned that Facebookers understand that they are “in control” of their profiles, networks and friendships, that she shared with Facebookers earlier in the week her not so friendly “rejection” of Facebookers wanting to befriend her.
MySpace’s Tom Anderson is famously friends with every man, woman, beast and product that homesteads at MySpace. So much so that he has spurred a “Tom is not my friend” backlash (see "MySpace and its 100 million friends").
Over at Facebook, Carolyn does not intend to follow Tom’s 100 million friends strong legacy. Carolyn firmly believes in the Facebook “confirmed friends” stance, and she uses Emily Dickinson to illustrate in "Will you be my friend?":
My friend must be a Bird-
Because it flies!
Mortal, my friend must be,
Because it dies!
Barbs has it, like a Bee!
Ah, curious friend!
Thou puzzlest me!, -Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson's take on friendship: kind of obscure to me. Facebook's definition: less so. I just wanted to open with a poem.
Since my last post, I have received and rejected over eighty friend requests from people I don't know. It's not because I'm a terrible person, and it's not because I think all of my would-be friends were sketchy people; it's because I wasn't comfortable with people I didn't know seeing my information...
Friendship on Facebook is, in and of itself, a privacy setting.
So what CAN "everyone" do at Facebook now? Facebook's new credo:
Facebook is a social utility that helps people better understand the world around them. Facebook develops technologies that facilitate the spread of information through social networks allowing people to share information online the same way they do in the real world. Facebook is made up of many networks - individual schools, companies or regions - each of which are independent and closed off to non-affiliated users. To join Facebook, people can authenticate into a school or work network, or they can join a regional network. They can then create profiles to connect with friends, share interests, join groups, send messages, writes notes and post photos.
Facebook launched in February 2004, and the website now has over 9.5 million registered users across over 40,000 regional, work, college and high school networks. According to comScore, Facebook is the seventh-most trafficked site on the web and is the number one photo-sharing site.