Some thoughts and then the next post will not be about Facebook. Promise.

Yesterday saw a flurry of Facebook related posts and comments around here and whilst I’ll still state that I don’t like Facebook and how it builds walls between members and ‘the rest of us’, (not to mention the mining, buying and selling of your private information), I’m wrapping some thoughts up here so I can start posting fun stuff again. 🙂 Can’t promise I won’t have a new (or rehashed) reason to comment on it in the future, but after this post I’d like to get back to my regular, often pointless, blogging.

I’ll mention first, that Ian Forrester has commented that the London Geek Dinners is an “open group” on Facebook. See the comments on that post for more info.

The catch, as I see it, is that you still have to be a member of Facebook to view it. That is not what I would call open… it is open to members of Facebook only. That’s fine and fair and there is no reason to hold back from creating such a group, however, it absolutely divides the followers of London Geek Dinners (and London Girl Geek Dinners). You now have a group within Facebook and ‘the rest of us’. I deactivated my Facebook account and goodness knows I don’t expect any group to say, ‘Oh no! Jen isn’t happy with Facebook! Abandon ship Facebook!’ Don’t be silly… What I do hope is that the Facebook users do not become a sort of upper social tier (clique) based on their members-only social network affiliation. It could easily happen: in-jokes, comments made only on the Facebook pages and then discussed at meetups… we’re human and it will happen. I truly hope this natural and predictable interaction doesn’t segregate us. Dividing any group’s followers with unrelated third-party members-only networks splits the path and muddies the space. Why put a fork in what was a straight and direct road to a destination?

Making something very clear: this isn’t about London Geek Dinners, but the recent LGD Facebook group creation solidified a feeling I already had forming in my subconscious about Facebook dividing people. I posted about Facebook last week. I caved to social pressures and joined the service. I wish I hadn’t. I have only me to blame for that (well, and Facebook. Bastards. 😉 ).
What I hope I’ve brought forward more than anything is that every time a link is posted to a page within Facebook to the world outside of Facebook, that link (and its poster) excludes people. The ‘welcome’ page non-members get is a stark, uninviting login screen with no other content- it’s the equivalent of a giant, muscly body guard outside an exclusive club’s door. You aren’t welcome to the content within the Facebook walls unless you give up something in return, and in this case, it’s your data. Forever. I have never felt so unwelcome on a site. Even without the information brought to light by the video I linked to in another post, I felt this way.

This is not the way to start or nurture relationships. It’s high-level data mining wearing a social network cloak and at the same time subtly creates social outcasts out of the ones who want nothing to do with it.

I joined it and now I can never truly leave. Sounds dramatic, but Rachel called Facebook a new Hotel California. She’s right you know… 😉

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4 thoughts on “Some thoughts and then the next post will not be about Facebook. Promise.”

  1. A couple of thoughts. I think Facebook will open up its content, in the same way it’s opened up its APIs. They’d be mad not to. It’ll drive even more people to join. I’d put money on it not continuing to be a walled garden. I think they’ll also be smart enough to allow you to export your content via RSS or OPML to anywhere else on the web. The more you give the more you get. I’m sure the Facebook people know this and will act.

    One last thought on the CIA, DARPA and Facebook. The internet was invented by the US military/industrial/academic complex. That’s why we’re all numbers – IP numbers. That’s why our very presence on the internet is very scary if you think about it too hard. Facebook maybe selling attention meta data, as Google and the rest do (it’s the price for free stuff on the net). But the CIA has got our numbers. Time to start thinking like phishers, sploggers and scammers, if we really want to protect our identity.

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