The End of the World as we know it?

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Welcome to Michelmas 2007! Calendars are funny things. As most of my readers say goodbye to summer, I am fully into winter, bundled up in my house, guarding against New England frost and planning research for final term papers. But since it's the beginning of a new year in Oxford time, let me re-introduce this blog. Once a week, I'll be posting my thoughts on web 2.0 and generation Y, and trying to identify how technology defines our lifestyles, our politics and the culture around us. To begin the term, however, I need to update you all on some changes in my personal encounter with web 2.0. Just before the end of last term. Facebook opened its doors to everyone, and suddenly I was friends with my mother, my former boss and my 15-year old sister. I also found that companies were writing applications inviting me to play zombie and food fight. As a summer intern at BusinessWeek Magazine, I wrote about this new and "improved" social network and how it could mean big bucks for Facebook and smart application developers.But towards the end of the summer, I realized that one important group was losing out: us, the original student users.Frankly, I'm fed up with this new Facebook, with the frantic chaos of the News Feed and the applications, with the random friend requests from middle aged strangers who want to take me out for drinks. I'm confused that Slate magazine, a mainstream, grown-up publication is proscribing Facebook etiquette that matches what i wrote on this blog over the summer (see "my cyber-friends have manners too"). Why should my parents and I have the same social behaviors?I can already forsee that once I graduate in May, I won't be using Facebook to keep in touch with classmates. This year at Brown, my friends and I are using cell phones and emails instead and waiting for the next young people-only venue to resume our social media lives. I wrote a column about my changing perspective for the newspaper here at Brown and sent some comments into BusinessWeek. There's a teaser of my thoughts on my editor's blog , and an article due out soon. The response I've had to the column suggests I'm right about student sentiment here in the States, but I'm putting it to my Oxonian readers: is there a parallel shift away from Facebook on your side of the pond?

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