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Thanks to Facebook, I'm connected to the indigenous peoples of Northern Canada - click opera
February 2010
 
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Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:47 am
Thanks to Facebook, I'm connected to the indigenous peoples of Northern Canada

I recently joined Friendster, the social networking service.



Wait, no, what am I talking about? Friendster is the one we all joined in 2003, the one none of us check into or even mention any more. How embarrassing!



No, I mean Facebook. I recently joined Facebook, the social networking service. The service that came between Friendster and Facebook was MySpace, which was different because you could put music on it. It was dirty because Rupert Murdoch of News International owned it, though, which is why I told my millions of readers at Wired.com to delete their pages. Dozens did.



Wired liked my Committing MySpacecide piece so much that they raised my salary. It defined a whole zeitgeist; it was at least six months ahead of social networking trends (people didn't start deleting MySpace pages until October 2006, by which time the site's ugly page layouts had spawned a new -- and horrible -- school of graphic design).



I joined Facebook because I could no longer remember the reason I hadn't joined Facebook. I also couldn't remember what made it special. If MySpace was different from Friendster because it had music, Facebook was different from MySpace because...



...because it doesn't have music, and because you use your real name, right?



Oh, no, I remember now. It's much better than that. It's not just some gimmick, some increment. It's revolutionary. Facebook is different and better because it has eskimos.



This is the point. This is a great feature. Other networking software is lousy because it's either cluttered with digital ghosts -- people who aren't your friends in real life -- or simply reproduces already-existing real world relationships, making it redundant electronic icing on the cake of real life.



But Facebook -- here's the beauty bit -- connects you to this group of people you'd never otherwise know: the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Territories.



Did I say "eskimos"? That's not right. That's the kind of thing only a clumsy Facebook newbie would say. The Tlicho people of sub-Arctic Canada aren't eskimos. They're Dene aboriginals, the most northerly redskins before you hit eskimo territory.



Once you could only learn the ways of the Tlicho through exhibitions like Extremes, currently running at Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland.



But now, thanks to Facebook, you can get hourly updates on what your new Tlicho friends are doing. Clue: it isn't what your old, passé internet friends were doing (surfing the internet, mostly). No, your new, highly fashionable Tlicho friends are skinning snowshoe hares, hacking ice holes to fish through, or building a snow house to shelter in when it's minus 40c and a blizzard is approaching. What's more, they're wearing really excellent clothes while doing it.



What I'm really getting at here is that, thanks to Facebook and your new Tlicho friends, for once there's a social networking site that's about difference and The Other. Instead of being phatic and redundant -- "Hi, how're you doing, on the internet? Hey, what a co-incidence, me too!" -- Tlicho Facebook floods you with new information, with strangeness, and with a truly different way of living. That's why it's capturing imagination -- and market share.



Did you know, for instance, that the Tlicho people signed a land claims agreement in 2003 with the Canadian government, and that by 2005 they were controlling all the land between Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake? Well, Chief Monfwi -- one of my new Tlicho friends -- just added a Shout to my Wall saying that in 2007 the UN gave the fledgling Tlicho government an award.



Yay Tlicho! Yay Facebook! And yay the internet, always marching forward, always reaching out -- ever ready to face the strange and embrace the stranger!

34CommentReply

rfmcdpei
rfmcdpei
Randy McDonald
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:11 am (UTC)

Quite, quite funny.


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microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:55 am (UTC)

Um, perhaps you shouldn't look at the pictures some of my LJ friends tagged of me on Facebook, since you're my friend and all. There might be something, um...surprising if you do venture over there. That's all I'm gonna say about that. O__O


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shadowshark
shadowshark
ShadowShark
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 06:58 am (UTC)

I was always wondering when or if you might ever see this. And now... well, you can legitimize it.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2228133160


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eeuuugh
eeuuugh
eeuuugh
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 07:08 am (UTC)

Is Rupert Murdoch worse than the CIA?

I have a facebook account, and a myspace too, and when I move to Bolivia next month I'll stay friends with the people I know who still live in the US--though the friendships will be maintained almost exclusively through facebook and myspace, I imagine.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 08:45 am (UTC)
sefano

whats your facebook name then?


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big ray - (Anonymous) Expand
womanonfire
Auriea.
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 09:52 am (UTC)

how ironic.
i was just about to make my own facebook post this morning.
i tried it once a long time ago and Hated it.
started up my profile again last week.
discovered that its not about _actual_ friends
but networking
more like Pokemon, gotta collect them all!
now lemme at those Eskimos!


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misscallis
misscallis
Kelli
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)

Ah, me too! Me too! The only thing is-- I can't get past the "old school friends" and "ex-boyfriends" part. How do I network?

And Momus--which profile is the real you? There seem to be impostors...


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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 11:31 am (UTC)



Difficult in 1978, pretty much impossible in 2008. I'm told it's impossible to delete a Facebook account, only deactivate it.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand

(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 11:24 am (UTC)

Oh no, what has this done to my Wordle profile?



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loveonice
loveonice
...its just that my knickers are showing
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC)

Oh good, I wasn't sure if it was actually the real you.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)

I erased my myspace years ago. Down with the reptilian Rupert Murdoch and all that he stands for! I'm on facebook too, tho id instantly trade away it to become a aborigine.

Adam


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geeveecatullus
geeveecatullus
clodia pulchra
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)

Recently I was thinking about deleting all my online profiles ... then I found myself talking to a friend and saying "I'll delete all except for del.icio.us, livejournal, myspace, facebook, last.fm. multiply. youtube, flickr ..." and gave up on the plan again.


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xchimx
xchimx
john fisch
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)

I read about a study once that found there was a difference in economic brackets between myspace and facebook users. Myspace users tended to be from working class/lower economic brackets, while facebook users tended to be from higher economic brackets/college students.

Deleting myspace, joining facebook... is momus a class traitor?


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)

"Wired liked my Committing MySpacecide piece so much that they raised my salary."

The amounts of internet-n00bery in that sentence make me want to hurl. I had to close the window and re-open it it was that bad.

This WHOLE POST reminds me of why I ignore all conventional media and about 99% of people in the world. Oh god now I have to go troll something.


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)

That includes the comments. YES, PLEASE DO DELETE ALL YOUR INTERNETS PROFILES. BELIEVE ME, WE'RE ALL BETTER OFF THAT WAY.


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thomascott
thomascott
Thomas Scott
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 07:35 pm (UTC)

I see you are in there as Nicholas Currie, I'm curious why you have a closed profile, I don't see the point of that.
I use Facebook to stay in touch with some friends/acquaintances that I can't convince to join LJ - evidently much of Facebook's attraction lies in it's popularity.
I'm personally really getting to hate it, perhaps it is down to the platform's format but for some reason the level of intelligent interaction on it seldom rises above that attained by the Wright brothers Flyer...
I can imagine that in brief time you may revert to MySpacecide mode.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)

Do I have a closed profile? Aren't they all closed until you befriend people? Isn't that the fiendish way they lure you to join?


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pay_option07
pay_option07
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
the most northerly redskins before you hit eskimo territory.

Nic, I'm amazed at this post for several reasons. Your foray into native land claims and self governance. Also the interpretation of technology into the recipe for self determination and last for the use of the words redskin and eskimo, which I believe should be corrected to read as "the most northerly natives before you hit the land of the Inuit."


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Aug. 23rd, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
Re: the most northerly redskins before you hit eskimo territory.

Glad you enjoyed it!

Your correction doesn't avoid the euphemism treadmill, or the ambiguity that the Inuit are "natives" too (indigenous). I prefer a de-stigmatized use of terms like "eskimo" and "redskin" than a jump to new, muddy terms which -- should the stigma remain -- will inevitably become awkward in their turn. The thing to change is not labels, but status itself: semi-autonomy and self-government are a good start.


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obliterati
obliterati
Night of the Living Dave
Sun, Aug. 24th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)

Facebook started at Harvard yes? It was just for groups of people at that school to network on a more mechanical rather than social basis, so that events could be promoted and people stuck online with their studies could get some privacy with their friends while bashing their heads against academic materials. I was first introduced to it as a way to communicate in a school-wide way, rather than in a national or international way. I guess it's only been in the last year or so that Facebook has become the currently huge phenomenon with countless groups and Applications and Myspace-like features. Myspace is now copying many of the stylistic features that made Facebook so novel but I don't think it will ever be so mature a service.

I like the simplicity of the Facebook interface and I like that it so rarely if ever breaks down. And you can have music and video if you like, you just have to add on the right application for it.

I only kept Myspace to communicate with a few specific people who were unreachable otherwise and then used the blog feature essentially as hard drive space for articles and strange thoughts I wanted saved. It was pretty surprising when I found out people were actually reading the thing.


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