Facebook Itself

The Profile and Self

Facebook Friends

Social Networking

Activity and Passivity











facebook and philosophy

Facebook and Philosophy

Ed. by D.E. Wittkower. Chicago & La Salle, IL. Open Court Publishing Company, 2010. 285 pp. ISBN 978-0-8126-9675-2.
A Review by Matt Bridgewater
Bowling Green State University









Facebook Itself

The first section, “Facebook Itself,” focuses on how Facebook is creating new notions and disrupting old ones of privacy, audience, the public/private realms, form/content, and social norms (such as politeness and cooperation). Or, to put it as James Grimmelmann does in “The Privacy Virus,” “Facebook turns out to be a very effective tool not just for creating new social contexts, but for violating them, as well” (11). His article also focuses on the concept of “Convergence—the coming together of things that were previously separate” and states this is “a defining reality of twenty-first century media” (13).

I found Graham Meikle’s contemplations on audience and Facebook quite interesting: he asks, who are Facebook status updates “audience’d for”? This chapter also hints at new moral dilemmas involving the new medium of social networking.

Ian Bogost’s “Ian Became a Fan of Marshall McLuhan on Facebook and Suggested You Become a Fan Too” applies Marshall McLuhan’s tetrad to Facebook in order to understand the “properties” of Facebook’s network that enhances and restricts how humankind interacts with one another and their environments (23).

Elizabeth Losh’s “With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?” applies understandings of politeness and other forms of internet behavior to Facebook’s games. Her discussions on gaming and relationships focus on how gaming creates and violates conceptions of "social norms about aggression, obligation, proximity, and privacy in ways that sacrifice real-world friendships by engaging Facebook friends in play” (46). These creations and violations of norms “can also open up avenues for cooperation and unscripted relationship-building among people with different social statuses but shared game goals” (46).