Facebook and Anti-Anarchy

B. sent this by email:

A thought on the current vogue internet social platform:

Facebook's political spectrum begins with "very liberal" on one side and ends with one fringe point more extreme than "very conservative" in the other direction: "libertarian." The options, therefore, for committed left Facebook users, if they choose to self-identify, are to be classified as Democratic, American liberals -- but liberals in what sense? Along voter registration lines, as nutty free-market neoliberals, or perhaps some vague socially liberal demographic? If Facebook does really want to accommodate a broad range of self-identifying and reductive political affiliations (and this doesn't really seem like it's the case) why not offer the diametric left-wing opposite to libertarianism? I might suggest a "socialist democrat" category for this purpose. The only available alternative is to classify oneself as "Other" -- a default, self-imposed exclusion from the reasonable spectrum, which quickly neuters the viable communicability or rationality of one's political affiliations by explicitly marking it as a non-option, a fringe unutterable thing. The available categories belie a thinly veiled agenda to the website: extreme right-wing affiliation is OKAY, as is apathy, but extreme left-wing identification is not.

My reply:

Good point. If you need a left wing counterweight to libertarian I suggest anarcho-communist or anarcho-syndicalist.
However, as a non-Facebook user, I think the lack of such a category is telling--it suggests that free thinking but not completely self centered people literally do not belong within Facebook's class-exclusive and blatantly consumerist readymade social network.
In other words free and self-labeling on the open Web is the place to be.

I know I'm missing out on a world of fun not being part of Facebook or Second Life (or del.icio.us, or MySpace, or the iPhone/iPod milieu). Still, I'm rather enjoying my "public hermit" experiment via blog, RSS and email.