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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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