Who Are All These People on Facebook and Why do They Want to be My Friend?

Kim kept bugging me. “You should join Facebook. Everybody’s getting on Facebook. You’ll find people on Facebook that you haven’t talked to in years. You should join Facebook.”

Facebook is a social networking site, meaning that people that you talk to already on a regular basis can now have another way of talking to you on a regular basis. You can chat, email, do little applications (I have book reviews for books I’ve read/am reading on there) and other stuff. It’s pretty easy to connect with people but not so easy to always find people you’re looking for. Say you have a friend named “Bill Smith”. Good luck finding the correct Bill Smith, especially if he didn’t include a picture of himself in his profile.

And people who are friends with other people that you’re already friends with will then try to add you as their friend (yes, it sounds complicated). Someone will want to add you to their “friend list” and then they’ll email you asking your permission. You can ignore, deny or approve their request. If you approve it you get added to their friend list, and then you two are “friends” in the virtual sense.

It only gets weird when someone that you don’t know suddenly emails you asking to be friends. I got a request the other day from someone that I literally had no idea who they were. Some girl. Supposedly we went to high school together. Did I recognize her? Nope.

So what do you do then? Be a jerk and not add her? Deny her? Or just ignore her? Or do you say, “Okay, let’s take the plunge and see where this goes.” I more often than not ignore these people. I don’t think of myself as a jerk; I just don’t want to be friends with everyone. I’m pretty selective. If I like you and I have some idea of who you are, then sure, I’ll add you, but if you’re like this girl that I’ve never met before, forget it sister, ain’t gonna happen no matter what tangential link we share. It’s like someone walks up to you on the street or in a bus and just starts talking to you. “Hey, you look familiar.” Can’t place them to save your life. Then they say, “Let’s be friends.”

I like to know who my friends are and those who aren’t my friends. What’s so wrong with that? So if I don’t know you and you want to be my friend on Facebook, think twice.

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The U.N. and the Internet

Smaller, less developed countries are starting to gripe to the U.N. (also known as “Your Future One World Government”) about the influence that the USA has over how the Internet is run worldwide.

Key issues range from adding new top-level domains, assigning blocks of IP addresses, and operating the root servers that direct all Internet traffic. Other responsibilities that would fall under the umbrella of this new organization would include Internet surveillance, “consumer protection,” and perhaps even the power to tax domain names to pay for “universal access.” “Universal access”, according to U.N. documents, sounds like the phone tax that you pay to provide Internet service to schools.

Some of the complaints are on their face, patently silly –

Syria: “There’s more and more spam every day. Who are the victims? Developing and least-developed countries, too. There is no serious intention to stop this spam by those who are the transporters of the spam, because they benefit…The only solution is for us to buy equipment from the countries which send this spam in order to deal with spam. However, this, we believe, is not acceptable.”

Yes, we should have to take directions from Syria, lover of terrorists, on how to combat spam. Spam doesn’t just affect developing nations. It affects everybody. Please.

Part of the Bush Administration’s response to this call for internationalization included their stating that the Root servers would remain under U.S. control no matter what was decided.

Beyond the usual levers of diplomatic pressure and public kvetching, Brazil and China could choose what amounts to the nuclear option: a fragmented root. That means a new top-level domain would not be approved by ICANN—but would be recognized and used by large portions of the rest of the world. The downside, of course, is that the nuclear option could create a Balkanized Internet where two computers find different Web sites at the same address.

“It wasn’t until now” that a fragmented root was being talked about, says Milton Mueller, a professor at Syracuse University and participant in the Internet Governance Project. “China and other countries might be pursuing responses that lead to fragmentation.”

Such an outcome remains remote, but it could happen. That possibility means an obscure debate about Internet governance has suddenly become surprisingly important.

Know this – the U.N. wants control of the Internet. They may do whatever they feel they have to do to wrest control of it from the United States.

shudder