Have you been on your Facebook page today? What am I saying, of course you have! You're popular! Well, while you were counting likes on your pictures and watching Aaron Sorkin supercuts, you might not have noticed that on your public profile you, yes you, have a brand new Facebook email address! Whether you asked for it or not! Anything sent to the address will go to your Facebook Messages, which seems pretty innocuous, but still, a lot of people are angry because our lives are so goddamn good we have nothing real to get angry about anymore.
"THAT'S the Mass Effect 3 ending? I'M DROPPING OUT OF COLLEGE TO PROTEST."
What is the argument against Facebook adding a feature? Anthony Mullen, interactive marketing analyst for Forrester Research, spoke to the BBC, saying this is "a direction Facebook needs to move in - your email is a proxy for your identity on the internet and Facebook wants to usurp people's existing identities with their own to help drive up traffic to its site and lock users into its service."
Right. Facebook definitely needs help locking users into its service.
But Mullen does make a chilling point - we're battling Facebook for our very identities here. I'd say it's the same thing that happened in Roots, but I've been trying hard lately to use less racially-charged metaphors, so instead I'll say it's like that episode of Smallville where Clark was in a mental institution. He lost his identity because he thought his life as a superhero was all in his mind. Then Martian Manhunter came into Clark's brain and told him he really was from Krypton and that he had to fight the head doctor who was actually from the Phantom Zone. Also I think Lana was there and Lex Luthor was, like, in a wheelchair? I have definitely lost track of this metaphor. I don't know anymore who represents Facebook and who represents us.
What I do know is that that was a pretty good episode of Smallville.
But does this really affect your online identity? Let's break it down - whose perception of you is going to change because of your Facebook email address? Only your Facebook friends can see it, right? So that eliminates, like, 99.99999999 percent of the world's population. Then, your good friends know your actual email address, so they're never going to use it. But what about people you're not super close with but still need to get in contact with you, like, say, a classmate who needs to borrow a textbook? Well, they probably already know how to message on Facebook, so you have to imagine they'd get to you there as they have since Facebook began.
So we're down to Facebook friends you aren't close with who don't understand the social intricacies of Facebook. That's basically great aunts. The final piece of the puzzle is that they have to have have very specific knowledge of Facebook, in that they don't understand messages but are able to navigate to your "About" page. So your super smart great aunts are out and your super dumb great aunts are out.
That leaves one mediocre great aunt who now knows you
as a Facebook page. So... damn you, Facebook?
What do you think of Facebook's new email feature? Let me know on twitter @mikeyfromsu or in the comments below!
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