It got me thinking.
I'm a huge proponent of social media--but only the parts and the frequency that works for you. And, sorry if this sounds conceited, but I am one of the few who understood early on that social media is about conversations and sharing rather than blasting crap in other people's faces.
But of all the social media outlets I use, Facebook has been the most troubling.
Facebook's main problems, in my opinion, are two things: privacy and accounts. Facebook forces anyone who wants to have a public face (by public I mean published author, celebrity, or anyone else in the public, accessible domain) and still interact with people on a personal level to have Fan pages, which are clunky to use and administrate. Worse, if you want to interact with a certain set of people, like say colleagues and coworkers, and also keep a separate set of people like your drinking buddies, you can't.
Facebook will probably be the first to tell you that they aren't built for people with public and private lives--like authors--and yet authors and businesses use it. They have to. Well, MySpace certainly isn't doing anyone any favors! It's against Facebook's user policy to have two accounts, so you can't even try to keep separate circles through accounts. It's a huge failing in my opinion, and why I no longer use Facebook for my writing social media.
Recently I read this article by Andrew Keen about Facebook's "creepy" mode of revnue, which consists of sharing our personal data to advertiseres. Keen argues passionatley that "the impact of Facebook on our privacy is deeply worrying...Many other people are now worrying about Facebook's cult of radical transparency and its willful disregard for privacy." Keen reports that Mark Zuckerberg says how imp[ortant it that twh rold connect. But, Keen says, since "Facebook is a privately owned and for profit enterprise, existing for the benefit of its shareholders and employees, then connectivity benefits the company rather than us.
Openness, we need to always remember, is a self-serving Silicon Valley ideology rather than a self-evident public good."
This is certainly something to think about--and if I'm honest, it's been simmering at the back of my mind for some time. It's why I refuse to "allow" any apps to access my private information for any reason on Facebook, ever. It's why I no longer use Facebook as part of my public online footprint--Sierra Godfrey the writer. It just doesn't afford me the kind of inner and outer sharing I'd prefer. For my private use of Facebook, I don't engage in any apps that access my info, and I have delisted myself from public view. But is Facebook ever really private?
Are there times when Facebook doesn't work for you? I can think of a few:
- You don't want the artificial contact with friends--preferring the real deal to online
- Your employer forbids it (my dad is a financial planner; his broker forbids all forms of social media unless he pays them to monitor it, lest he give free or incorrect advice I guess; it's one of the stupidest and most draconian let's-not-embrace-technology moves I've ever heard of)
- You don't want to/are worried about connecting with old flames/friends/enemies.