Son to Schutze: In Your Facebook, Dad
So is my son, Will Schutze, ahead of the curve, behind the curve, or did he drive off the curve and get in a wreck? He’s a senior at the University of Texas at Austin. And a month ago he quit Facebook.
There’s a story on the front page of The New York Times today about how Facebook is so important, a bunch of social scientists at Harvard are using it to study human behavior. Professor Nicholas Christakis is using it to study “how people form social relationships,” according to the story.
He says the stuff people say about and to each other on Facebook is a sociologist’s dream, a trove of hitherto unavailable self-exposure. “Our predecessors could only dream of the kind of data we now have,” he said. My son told me that in Austin, quitting Facebook was the social equivalent of what entering the monastery must have been in medieval Europe.
He told me all his friends were calling him up and texting him in tones of concern and even desperation, asking if he was having a crisis and wondering how we was going to live, not being on Facebook any more.
I asked him why he quit. He told me. But I didn’t get it. He finally sent me this big essay about why he quit -- with footnotes, for goodness sake. I told him I still didn’t get it and thought the essay was pompous.