Commodify your 2.0 discontent

Posted by Rob Walker on August 31, 2009
Posted Under: "Social" studies,Backlashing

Leif Harmsen, once a Facebook user, now crusades against it. Having dismissed his mother’s snap judgment of the site (“Facebook is the devil”), Harmsen now passionately agrees. He says, not entirely in jest, that he considers it a repressive regime akin to North Korea, and sells T-shirts with the words “Shut Your Facebook.” What especially galls him is the commercialization and corporate regulation of personal and social life.


That’s right. He was so “passionately” angry about the “commercialization” of Facebook that he decided to …

… sell T-shirts about it.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

I am sure he is engaging in the ultimate form of protest. Yes, a Facebook group.

Sunday’s Times carried an item about people leaving Facebook, which generated some emotional responses about the piece itself and people leaving or staying with Facebook.

I agree that Facebook has devalued the definition of friend. It has also devalued protest. When Texas Tech closed, without warning, its student-run radio station, media reports noted that a Facebook group had been formed to protest the administration’s decision. I am sure Kent Hance was rethinking his decision when he learned that, our dear lord save our village now, a Facebook group had been formed.

Contrast that action with the 40 or so faculty who signed a petition to protest Texas Tech’s hiring of Fredo and his accompanying $100,000 or so a year salary. A petition seems like a step up from a Facebook group protest, which requires you to simply click a button.

A petition and your signature lives on without the participants’ ability to unsign or unclick their name. We annually celebrate the participants of a petition. Will we ever reach a point where we celebrate a Facebook group?

Facebook groups represent all that is lazy about our culture. We want to give the appearance that we are doing something without actually doing anything. Like driving a Prius to save the environment.

Give some credit to Leif Harmsen because it took some effort to design the t-shirt, find a supplier, and develop a channel. That’s more effort exerted than about 95% (97%) of Facebook group protestors.

Written By bevo on September 1st, 2009 @ 7:55 am

I suppose I’ve done the opposite. I’ve torn into FB on my blog (see, but have now been asked by my boss to join it, as a way to help publicize the program in which I teach.

FB’s a shallow thing indeed, but I have managed to rekindle some old friendships in more than just FB terms…

Written By Michael Dawson on December 2nd, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

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