I’m in a relationship with Facebook, and it’s complicated.
Rest In Peace, My Love
We asked recently if Facebook was “over”. Well, the results are in. And the answer is no. I think “dead” would be more accurate. Sure, hundreds of millions of people will continue to use it, but hundreds of millions of people still use Hotmail. And toilet paper. And other things that they don’t necessarily enjoy using, but kind of have to. So why am I suddenly going so harsh on Facebook? Well, partly it’s my own whiny techno-ennui. It just became boring to me some time last year, after doing the one thing I valued it for, which was reconnecting with some valued old friends, and meeting a few new ones. But mainly because of two other things. First of all, the fact that the people behind Facebook have no interest in the user other than as a data mining resource, as evident in their constantly eroding privacy policies and repeated interface changes that do nothing but bury content and confound users about what their privacy settings are doing. Bet you didn’t know Facebook even censors your Inbox messages, did you. The other main reason is that while they do all of these things that are geared toward user data collection to increase their market value, they’ve managed to position themselves as a “utility”, but one that falls short in dozens of ways while distracting many people from more flexible and purposeful forms of communication. Although different users experience the phenomena in different ways, the illusion of being “in touch” with people on Facebook is a compelling one, but in my and many of my friends experience, an illusion that profoundly detracts from real communication, and occasionally actually impedes work when someone is dumb enough to use it as a primary communication channel. But what finally got me in terms of all these interface and privacy changes was the recent rollout of Community Pages. Try some of the paranoia-inducing things listed on this page, and you’ll see what I mean. I’m gearing up to archive my content and contacts, and delete my posts (which FB makes rather difficult), and completely backburner my account as a real tool. How about you? Are you over it? I’m not being melodramatic, by way, just check out Gizmodo’s Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook.
You probably saw a pop-up box like this recently. Mine at first had no “Ask Me Later” option.
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