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...