I didn’t, originally, want anything to do with Facebook. I had the advertising laden Classmates account—which I only used once—and I’m weird. I mean, I once carried as a badge of honor never having eaten at a Taco Bell1. It wasn’t until the summer that I was laid off that I actually created an account, and that was because there was a possible job opportunity.
From there, I got involved in Yoville and then Mafia Wars2, and then I stopped. I mean, I have pages for this site and some of my other blogs, and I get the e-mails, but Facebook… Well, there’s just so many reasons not to be on it.
The Past Is The Past
In one way, Facebook never lets us leave the past in the past. In the quest to gain more “friends” we add people to our profile that we haven’t talked with in years, and still don’t talk with, even though they are on our list. This helps Facebook track who you are, but does nothing for you.
This also resurrects things that should have been dormant. Past girlfriends and boyfriends are added to the list, and those connections can get revived. The UK Guardian is reporting that Facebook can be a top cause of relationship trouble, and I can believe it. All it takes is for two people that have a past together to rekindle an emotional attachment, and the power of technology and nostalgia means we see only the good—the things we want to see—and not the bad.
Nothing Is Free
Though we pay nothing to Facebook—unless we buy Facebook dollars—we think that we’re getting something for free. We’re not.
We are profiled.
Few people seem to lie on Facebook—what would be the point if we’re trying to reconnect with friends? So we give our accurate sex, age and name. We give them our cell number and other identifying pieces of information. We share our photos and identify ourselves in them.
This tells Facebook’s computers who we are, what our interests are, what the people we are friends with are interested in, etc. And this is an enormous wealth of data for advertisers or worse to get their hands on.
The Defaults Are “Share Everything”
Facebook only profits if it can mine your information. If you could make everything hidden, it wouldn’t be able to give your information to third parties or facilitate connections. So, they default everything to “public.” They hide control features to make it difficult to do things. Facebook also does not allow some things to be concealed.
Oh, did I mention that they often change the rules so that you have to go through and change your features again?
It’s not that I believe that they’re evil. They need to make money, and they give away access to their site. So, how are they supposed to make money? They are in a tough position in that they know a majority of users will just leave things they way they are3, and yet there’s a vocal group that decries everything they do.
Is It Really Worth It?
This is where I got to with the games I was playing on Facebook. Yes, they passed the time, but were they profitable? Do I like some other company holding access to my photos—one who has proven to change the rules at any notice?
The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to opt out—which is probably part of the reason I don’t comment on there much. What is the value, anyway?
- I have succumbed here as well.
- I know, who would have thought—that’s another story for another time.
- How many people respond to spam, click on ad links in search engines, etc.?