Facebook Improvement

As I have pointed out in earlier posts about that central phenomenon in contemporary life, Facebook, I used to like hundreds of Pages there, and be a member of hundreds of Groups. If used with proper discipline and moderation, so that meaningless and nonsensical content was avoided and too much time was not spent in front of the screen, it was certainly in my view a valuable technology for deepening communication.

I was quite active between 2007 and 2010, posting mostly links to the Art Renewal Center, but also many recommendations of books and articles, and YouTube videos; I also frequently shared stuff from the Pages and Groups, and took part in discussions.

That was before the major Facebook changes in 2010. Then, during the period of the impoverished About-page, I became much less active. I posted mostly links to articles by others on political issues, issues on which I felt no need to write myself when others did it well and represented my own views, or at least much of them; and I didn’t do it often. (Recently I have posted much on Ukraine.)

But the Timeline, introduced in 2012, I found to be a minor improvement. And recently, further changes have been made. The Pages are now displayed in the profiles in the same way the Groups used to be, or at least in a comparable way. This is also an improvement, and a more important one, although the different categories into which the Pages are divided are somewhat arbitrary.

This means that Facebook can again be personalizing, as it were, almost to the extent it once used to be, and quite apart from what you post on the Timeline. It is thus, again, a meaningful technology for communicating much important information, and to learn about others, in a convenient and time-saving way. I suggest the Groups too be displayed again in the same clear way, with their own Group Pictures.

It also seems that, more generally, Facebook remains important; quite a few of my valued friends, old and new, are still as active there as I used to be. Rightly used, it remains an excellent technological resource not least for improved precision in serious discussion with many participants.

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Jan Olof Bengtsson D.Phil. (Oxon.)

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