There’s been a lot of talk recently about Facebook and 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!