There’s been a lot of talk recently about Facebookand their privacy issues, as well as their perceived attempts to ‘take over the web’ through their ‘like’ buttons and other integrations with their platform.
As a result, quite a few commentators and influential social media types have announced that they are leaving Facebook, deleting their accounts and removing all the content – which isn’t that easy to do, it turns out.
I’m in no position to criticise what other people do, so I’m not going to – but I’m not going to leave Facebook. I’m not saying the privacy and other stuff isn’t important – it is. The Facebook privacy settings are a usability nightmare, but I do encourage everyone to take a look at theirs and lock them down however tightly you want. Below are my reasons why I’m not quitting:
1. It’s where an awful lot of people are
Facebook is where I connect online with less geeky family and friends. As some of you may have heard, my dad’s on Facebook. He isn’t on Twitter, or any of the other less-known platforms. Likewise with a lot of my friends for whom the internet isn’t the be-all and end-all of their lives (yes, such people do exist). If I stopped using Facebook, I’d stop seeing what these people are up to, their photos and other stuff. For me, that’s a bad thing.
2. My life is already all over the internet
Even if I wanted to, I can’t turn back now. I dread to think what information about me is already online, even taking Facebook out of the equation. If I decided to leave Facebook for that reason, then surely I would then, logically, have to track down all that information that is in other places. I simply cannot summon up the energy to do this. I made a decision a few years back that I was going to use the web to build a career and live my life. I can’t now complain that people I don’t know can find stuff out about me.
3. Attempts to control the internet always fail
Look what happened to AOL. If Facebook really thinks it can control the content people see and the way they see it on the web, they’re mad, and they’ll end up becoming irrelevant. I don’t really care that Facebook are trying to spread their platform wherever they like: let them. If it ends up being a case of giving up too much control for benefit accrued, people won’t engage with it and it will die.
4. My job means I need to use and understand Facebook
This is the killer for me, to be honest. A lot of the customers I work with want to use Facebook – it’s where people are, after all. How can I effectively advise them if I don’t know how the latest Facebook technology works, because I’m not using it myself? FIne I can read about stuff in blogs and whatnot, but nothing replaces the learning you get from playing with things yourself. So, professionally, I have to stay engaged with what remains one of the biggest and most influential social computing sites in the world.
Are you quitting Facebook, or sticking with it? I would be interested in hearing other people’s views!
I’m gone. I am an activist before anything else, and Facebook has simply become an anti-democratic institution I personally cannot support.
That’s your decision Adriel, and I’m not going to try and convince you otherwise. I’m no Facebook apologist, and hardly use it – but for the reasons outlined above, it’s important, I feel, for me to remain present there.
I see a vague parallel with using Microsoft Office. I don’t like MS or their products, but I’ve used them for years, simply because every else does!
If we’re interested in mass engagement online, though, is it not dangerous to ignore the biggest social platform there is?
Me. I’m sticking with it. Too enjoyable I think the pushback is good and FB will continue to try to iterate. Remember they are entering new territories so it’s bound to make some small missteps.
The “it’s the biggest player” is the same argument that companies use when they comply with Chinese government terms. Not that Facebook is China, but I don’t think that argument carries any weight against concerns about customer abuses.
Personally, I don’t use it a lot…but definitely have become and remain connect to people in my life that had faded…that I appreciate connecting with occasionally.
As Dave suggests, I think FB has reached a “point of non-displacement” – there is a critical mass and people have embedded it in their lives such that leaving it becomes much harder than staying. To pull all of one’s photos, videos and other information would be time-consuming…and in many ways may be for some like losing an awful lot of themselves due to the strong personal connections to friends and family.
I am trying to think of another product that if eliminated from our lives would cause the same kind of emotionally challenging detachment…but every other product has several alternatives where a person could turn should one be eliminated…Facebook has achieved a unique status that makes it a very, very hard habit to break for most users.
I’m staying on FaceBook because I use it to keep in touch with friends and to have some non-professional networking fun. I’m on several different networking sites and compartmentalize my networking so that I have a professional presence, an academic presence, etc.
It does seem that FaceBook management has a pattern of announcing a new stupid policy that meets strong opposition from the user base and then FaceBook backs down. Why don’t they skip the drama and just bring the user base into their decision making?
Interesting commentary – “They keep changing how pages and applications work, often with no notice, and the only reason it works now is because of the number of members.”
Adriel….how often is technology “democratic” I can assume you are using only open source software and running an open source Linux? Oh and utilizing an open source phone? These things exist but aren’t mainstream and sometimes a lack of drive towards making decisions cripples products. I just don’t think I understand your un-democratic argument, a majority of the technology we all interface with everyday is undemocratic. That is not the problem, the problem is a lack of transparency and consideration. I think it’s a bit shallow to say your rights have been violated, but very accurate to say you are a dissatisfied customer.
I am staying with Facebook, although I am upset to see that they have yet to learn the lesson of front loading privacy rather than dealing with it after they receive backlash.
Bandar, I’m no purist by far. However, I find I enjoy life more with some principles, and Facebook is culture-jacking in opposition to my vision of a better world. This isn’t about how I like my preference settings, this is about the behavior of a corporation that wants to model the future of the social web in its own uber-capitalist image. My profile privacy settings have always been wide open. You’re right, this is about transparency and consideration. For me, mostly the latter, and it’s got to the point that I cannot support FB any longer.
I’m frustrated with all the changes. The community page update really made facebook a mess. I think it actually made it a lot harder for people to find the organizations and the groups to which they wanted to become connected. I’d already found that I was logging in less frequently, and reading sites like GovLoop and Linked In more, because they are more useful. But I guess I’ll stick with facebook to keep in touch with friends who are scattered all over the place. It will still be useful to keep in touch that way, share pics, etc. But really not as valuable anymore to me as it was before the changes.
ACTUALLY, FACEBOOK is phenom and I am just starting pretty much to learn more and more about Social Networking: and Facebook is like a whole new WORLD of info & contact info exchanges. Actaully I feel a little bad, that it’s taken me – this long to access and be apart of the COMMUNITY of Communications with Facebook.
More people are being allowed the opportunity to learn about the Quindaro Underground and we are learning much more about great people and great places around the United states and around the world— and that’s decent. and GovLoop.com is appreciated. too ! thanks-
I’m sticking with Facebook on a personal basis, which I consider separate from using FB on a professional basis. A lot of our Department’s stakeholders (parents, teachers & students) are expecting to interact with government on familiar terms – and FB is familiar to most of them; certainly has a huge following here in Oz. I reckon as long as we keep ‘corporate/government’ and ‘personal’ personas separate, (and set privacy levels appropriately), we should be able to use this valuable channel without many problems.
Personally, I stay on FB because my whole family, from my 70-something parents to my 10-year-old niece, is on it. They live 1500 miles away, and this brings the family closer. Professionally, as a librarian, I consider it my duty to be as familiar as possible with “new media” so I can understand what clients are using, how they want to use it, how it can and can’t be used – much the same reason I’m also on Twitter.