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Facebook's Bad Side

I'm not sure how much I like Facebook. I love the idea and wish I invented it -- that accolade apparently goes to the Winklevoss twins, who are now doing pistachio commercials (I saw one last night!).

I do like the fact that Facebook lets you reach back to the past and reconnect with people you probably never cared about in the first place.

Kids love it, which leads to another problem: Grownups are always trying to friend their kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. It's like crashing a slumber party. Not cool, old dudes and dudesses.

There is also an unending stream of meaningless experiences and thoughts -- all expressed on your home page. Wake me up when something cool pops up.

And, as the new Toyota commercials point out, many use social media as a replacement for real social interaction.

Privacy, though, is the biggest bugaboo. The more you express yourself (sometimes late at night after cocktails) the more the world knows about you and remembers forever.

Now Facebook has a new feature. You can opt-in and let your friends see your every Facebook move. First, when you click something dumb you can't take it back. Second, this is turning social media into a true trivial pursuit. Don't I have anything more important to do than see what my hundreds of friends are looking at on a minute-by-minute basis?

The concept I guess is interesting. But I don't want my boss to track me and see that I spent all day on Facebook listening to music and chatting. In fact, I don't want to spend all day on Facebook listening to music and chatting.

The co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, finds all this a mite creepy -- although maybe someone hacked his Wikipedia page to make it seem like he said that. If it really was Wales, he has no intention of offering this level of intrusiveness to Wikipedia users and contributors.

What do you think of the new Facebook features? E-mail your thoughts to your 'friend' Doug Barney at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/28/2011 at 1:18 PM


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Reader Comments:

Thu, Oct 13, 2011 Corey Portland, OR

Wow, which one of you wants to yell "Get off my lawn!" first? Facebook is the Past (BBS), Present (Facebook) and Future (???) of the Internet. Need proof? The official Microsoft Lync page says "Connect with your social network" to make "communications more personal." Sound familiar? Is the vast majority of it drivel? Yes. Is there a creepy factor? Yes. But online social media has already demonstrated an ability to have real world political impact, and it's far from maturity. I have a personal story (not sharing here) about how it positively impacted my life, so I have a personal stake in it I'm glad to admit. Facebook may go the way of Friendster or MySpace, but it is the current example of state of the art of a technology that is in its infancy. You are essentially criticizing Windows 3.1 (or maybe '95) of the future of social media. People will adapt, the content will evolve.

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 Mike SC

If you look back, its really nothing else then a BBS board on steroids, so its nothing new, but the difference is that anyone can use it,no training required!! I personally have never used it, nor will I ever,but I do believe that it is a magnet for every creepy person out there, that owns a computer, and if you have children, then you got to keep an eye on whats going on..

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 Private

Call me an old timer; I just don't understand why people want to expose every element of themselfs in medium that is forever. I suppose personal privacy is becoming a thing of the past.

Wed, Sep 28, 2011 John Evans Canberra ACT

I had never thought Facebook had any redeeming values and these new features push my opinion further (if that was possible) in that direction. Meanwhile this generation that is supposed to be so interested in being “green” is wasting massive amounts of electricity on manufacturing and running the massive servers and network resources needed to keep this waste-of-space working.

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