Sunday, May 9, 2010

Unimpressed By Facebook

Yeah, I know. All of you who have linked to my Facebook site know that I'm listed as female. And my birthdate is wrong. And the photo/avatar is the same little pirate guy you see pretty much everywhere for me.

And why would that be? Simple: because I didn't like the look of Facebook from the outset. Too much information. Too little ability to control it. (And of course, it was as random and scattery as a mad dog's breakfast. I mean... I can play Dwarf Fortress, but it still took me over a week to figure out what the hell was supposed to be happening with my stupid Facebook page.)

Anyway, the cat's pretty much out of the bag on Zuckerberg's attitude to online privacy. Now admittedly, the Net makes virtually all your public-domain information accessible in short order, yeah. But by and large, it doesn't make a business out of aggregating every word you print, every site you visit, every single thing you link to and turning all that into an aggressive marketing nightmare.

I stuck my nose in Facebook this morning and discovered that the very few things I'd listed as 'stuff I like' had now become an either/or option. Either I could link to pages created specifically for these things, and have my connection to them broadcast far and wide -- or I could simply not like them on Facebook at all.

No middle ground. No way to share stuff with friends only.

Well. Like I said, I never gave Facebook much to play with anyhow. I wouldn't actually mind letting the world know I'm fond of "The Princess Bride" -- except that when I'm not given a choice in the matter, I tend to get bolshie.

So - don't bother contacting me via Facebook. I'll keep a minimalist involvement there because it has helped me reconnect with four or five people with whom I'd lost touch. But I won't be updating, posting, Farmvilling, Mafia Warring, Hugging, or doing any of the rest of that intrusive, irritating, time-wasting shit.

And I will be keeping a very, very close eye on the following:

It's a project run by some interesting folk who want to create an open-source social media network that places a real value on privacy, and on personal control over the information. If they stick to their principles, I'll be there as soon as they've got the goods online. And at that point, my 'Facebook' involvement will consist of nothing but a redirection page...


  1. Oooo, that looks like a great project! And about bloody time too. I do have fun on FB, even without the games, etcetera, but I also check my privacy settings weekly. Gets old, that does.

  2. I will keep checking back in on Diaspora see how many peoples bloggs I want to read use it. Even if its just yourself posting on it would be worthwhile for me to access it.

    FB's privacy issues don't concern me overly much as I figure ANYTHING I post online is able to be found if someone wants to look and that even if I remove it latter that doesn't mean it doesn't exist somewhere. That's the nature of the new social media. And unfortunately what so many people don't get. So I treat anything I post as if its going to go up on a big billboard with every employer/partner and friend I ever had or want to have can read it.

    I still want to know what happened with those damn gravediggers though

  3. That Diaspora project is intriguing!

    I'm trying to use Facebook now mostly to promote my shows and theatre groups - I often get very disheartened by the fact I have 400 or so "friends", but the vast majority have no interest in me, or never interact. Same goes for me - there are all these people I never speak to, and obviously don't care about. I feel like a bit of a fraud.

    Would be very intrigued by a social network that actually allowed me to communicate more regularly with people I DO know and like. :)

  4. That requirement to link to pages, or have certain functionalities closed off to me, pissed me off immensely. Seriously considering binning my Facebook presence altogether - and if it weren't for the fact that like yourself, it's the primary means of contact I have with distant friends and family, I probably would have.

    Diaspora sounds interesting, heard of it through another friend who was chuntering away about Facebook's dodginess.

  5. Yeah - I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I don't mind the basic idea of Facebook, but the way it's been implemented has less than zero appeal. I don't want to play in the sandbox they've made. I want a better sandbox, where I don't have to use all the goddam toys if I don't want to.