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25 September 2011

Dear Facebook, It's Over, and It's Not Me. It's You

I logged into Facebook today after not being on for a couple of weeks. FB saw fit, while I was gone, to change  its interface again, but why? What was wrong with the old one? Why does FB mess about with its users so much? Whatever happened to "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" ? I've been glad to be able to be in touch so easily with family and friends but over the years of Facebook use I have come to detest the experience - not the content, but the constant tampering with privacy settings, status updates, and the whole way one uses the website - and and I don't know whether I will continue. I'll continue to feed my blog posts there for whatever that's worth, as I do for Twitter; I used Twitter for about a month back in 2009, then never again and never looked back. I wonder if FB realizes, it has a lot of users but MySpace once did, too, and where's MySpace now? Like MySpace, FB was a phenomenon, an intersection of time and interest and dumb luck, as far as I can tell, on behalf of the people who created it. The next new thing will come, technology will move on, as with this new thing with Google, or something else, and the crowd will follow.... Does FB not understand that no one loves it, but simply puts up with its crap? And that as soon as something better comes along, FB will be dumped, willfully and joyfully, like the boyfriend/girlfriend you finally realized wasn't that into you?  FB isn't that into us - FB is into the money it earns from our mouse-clicks and our page-views and the fact it can say it has so many bazillion users. It doesn't respect us however (example: the privacy setting manipulations, or try to de-activate your account and see how far you get!).  I've been able to get something out of the deal up until now, and maybe you have, too, but for me the balance has tipped. Sorry, FB, but you don't bring me flowers anymore and the ones you used to bring me, frankly, weren't all that great to begin with.

3 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more. Fb has its uses but they just assume too much. Does anybody really want to share everything with so little privacy? I doubt it. They are trying to mould the users to fit their own misguided image of what people want.

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  2. I've been browsing through random blogs over the past hour or so looking for some post which interested me enough to comment, much to no avail. This post, however, really hit home.
    I entirely agree with your viewpoint of Facebook. While I'll continue to use it for the time being, I feel its user base will see a large decline in the near future. (Most notably with the introduction of the new "Timeline" feature.)
    I have mentioned this before to people I know, but Facebook has failed to learn from the failures of other social networking websites. (Something I am hoping Google+ is better about.)
    One of the main reasons why people I know switched from Myspace to Facebook in the first place was that Myspace was changing things and adding new features that, while they may have been helpful in terms of seeing what is going on with your friends, no one really wanted.
    Facebook now, thinking change and adding new features to make social networking "easier" is what people want, is doing much of the same, and it does not bode well for them.
    From what I've seen, people want social networking to be simple, not easy. They want their lives to be viewable by those they allow to see it, but do not want it forced upon those who they don't care if it is seen by or not. They want privacy, both in the sense that they don't want certain people to see certain things, but also in the sense that they don't want people to know their every move simply by looking into the corner of the page.
    Facebook gets an "A" for effort, but their ingenuity will soon be their downfall; and I certainly won't be with them when it happens.

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  3. Thanks for your comments... Lichfield sent me this pretty timely news item: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/security/370150/facebook-accused-of-tracking-logged-off-users

    It contains this great quote from a FB employee who works on the login systems: "We haven’t done as good a job as we could have to explain our cookie practices.” I'll say you haven't !

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