MarieMartino

“Facebook Suicide?” How Some People Are Deleting Their Virtual Personas

A recent Google search on how to properly delete one’s Facebook account yielded some unexpected results!  I came across some articles about websites that assist users in committing “Facebook suicide” and/or the self-killing of other social network profiles.

Seppukoo.com is a site created by Les Liens invisibles, the “imaginary” media-art duo Clemente Pestelli and Gionatan Quintini.  They refer to their creation as a virus ” . . . haunting the busy communication highways of the social networking sphere.”  The site name refers to “seppuku,” or the ritual suicide of the Samauri warrior.

You are more than your virtual identity.
«Virtual life» is an – often – abused term used to describe the whole of one person online activities. But as media communications let our second/online/offline identities overflowing into real life – and vice-versa – the distinctions between the real and the virtual are becoming, more and more confused. Which is virtual? And where’s the real? Beyond all those questions only a fact remains: that our privacy, our profiles, our identities, our relationships, they are all – fake and/or real – entirely exploited for a sole purpose: to be sold as a product. But are those lives really worth to be experienced? 
  –from the Seppukoo website

Those who use the site’s services provide Seppukoo with their Facebook log-in information and are then able to send out their last words to friends and customize their own memorial page.

Another site, Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, functions in a similar way and takes it a step further, enabling users to delete not only Facebook, but Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace accounts.  As the site’s homepage proclaims,”This machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web2.0 alter ego.”

Recently, Facebook has ordered Seppukoo and Web 2.0 Suicide Machine to cease and desist, citing that their services violate Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.  Use the link below to access copies of these letters that have been made available on their sites:

Click to access Web_2.0_Suicide_Machine.pdf

Click to access seppukoo_cease_desist.pdf

Some folks, like Micah M. White of Adbusters.org, argue that Facebook intentionally makes it difficult to delete an account using the tools they provide.  You can go into your Account Settings and Deactivate your account, but your personal information will stay on Facebook’s servers.  If it is your private information that you are worried about, not everyone is convinced that using sites like Seppukoo or Web 2.0 Suicide Machine are any better in removing that information.  As Rafe Needlemen of CNET has said,”My advice: If you want to remove yourself from a social site, use the end-of-account tools on the site itself. It’s a less painful way to go.”

That said, after going to Facebook’s Help Center and doing a search, one will find this on the subject of deleting an account, permanently:

If you do not think you will use Facebook again and would like your account deleted, please keep in mind that you will not be able to reactivate your account or retrieve any of the content or information you have added. If you would like your account permanently deleted with no option for recovery, log in to your account and then submit your request by clicking here.
http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=12271

There is no doubt that these services are provocative!  Some think these sites are playful and fun, while others call them morbid and disturbing.  Unarguably, the mere existence of such services points to some interesting questions about online identity and privacy.

Read more about this fascinating, seemingly inevitable phenomenon:

How to Disappear From Facebook and Twitter
Kill Off Your Facebook identity with Seppukoo
Facebook Cuts Off Suicide Machine Access
Fed Up with Facebook Privacy Issues? Here’s How to End It All
Facebook Suicide: The End of a Virtual Life
Quitting Facebook Gets Easier

Free Software Solutions: MS Office Doc Viewers and Beyond

As much as we LOVE to have students working in the MVCC Library, students may want or need to work from home.  Not everyone has access to MS Office 2007 on their laptops, netbooks, or desktop computers.  Furthermore, the electronic file formats that instructors use on Blackboard or other teaching and learning technologies may vary, and sometimes, this may create issues for students who do not own the latest version or type of software that supports these files.

Microsoft has released a number of free applications that allow users to view (meaning read-only) or to convert MS Office 2007 files to other compatible file formats for editing in different programs.  Additionally, one can find a bunch of  free, albeit reputable and reliable productivity tools that let users save or export documents as MS Office files, and are available online for quick and easy download.

Access or Edit MS Office 2007 Files

For those who need to read or edit documents generated on Microsoft Office 2007, but do not own the software, Microsoft has a number of document viewer and file converter apps available for Word, Excel, PowerPoint.   See: Office Online File Converters and Viewers

Also quite handy is this new add-on for Microsoft Office 2007 users that allows you to save any document as a pdf.  See: Save a PDF Add-in for Microsoft Office

Docx2Rtf is a freeware file converter for MS Word 2007, as well as OpenOffice. It enables the user to open files and convert them to RTF or PDF format.  Docx2Rtf does not require MS Office 2007 or OpenOffice installed in order to work. Word 2007 docx files and OpenOffice files will be converted with formatting, but without images.

We have not forgotten about our Mac users! The Open XML File Format Converter for Mac can convert MS 2007 Word documents, Excel workbooks, and PowerPoint presentations, making it possible to open, edit, and save such files in earlier versions of Office for Mac.

Also, remember current versions of Apple’s iWork (NOT a free productivity suite), allow users to open and save files in all of the MS Office formats.

Programs Available for Download

Below are some alternatives to some of the commonly used MS Office 2007 applications.

AbiWord is a free word processing program similar to MS Word that works on both Windows and Mac OS.

Gnumeric is a spreadsheet program. It allows the user to import and export data in several file formats, including Microsoft Excel and it offers some customizable features.  This works on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

OpenOffice.org 3 is a full software suite that includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more.  This works on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Work in the Cloud

There are a number of free online applications available.  Work online and save your work there for easy access from any location with an internet connection.  Save and/or export to MS Office files.

Google Docs  allows the user to create and edit web-based documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Zoho offers a suite of online web applications.

ThinkFree.com provides a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation package.

*Please note: This list was compiled in December 2009.  Due to rapid changes in technology, this list may not reflect the most current program versions if accessed some time after its publication date.

Swine Flu Resources

Looking for resources about the swine flu, a.k.a. H1N1?  Here’s a short list of free, authoritative, and timely web sources about this virus.

General Information:

Center for Disease Control– H1N1 2009

MedlinePlus (NLM)–H1N1 Flu

Flu.Gov–Swine Flu FAQs

Department of Homeland Security–Response to H1N1

Enviro-Health Links (NLM Specialized Information Services)–H1N1 Flu

Ebsco–Influenza Evidence-Based information Portal

Information for Specific Groups

Center for Disease Control–H1N1 Information for Specific Groups

Vaccines:

Center for Disease Control– H1N1 Flu Vaccination Resources

Flu.Gov–Vaccines, Vaccine Allocation, and Vaccine Research

Multimedia:

Medline Plus (NLM)–H1N1 Interactive Tutorial

Center for Disease Control–CDCStreamingHealthVideos on YouTube

Flu.Gov–Multimedia

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