There’s been a lot of emotion lately around social media. Most of it around Facebook.
Facebook has started making some major changes to its platform. There’s a new interface, with even more changes on the horizon. Which is fine, they own it, they can do what they want. We, as users, have the option to accept the changes or not. Which means we can stop using the service or keep using it to varying degrees. This is the decision being pondered by millions of people right now.
I’ve looked carefully at the changes Facebook is bringing down the pipe. The new user interface indeed does look really, really cool. But they are also introducing the ability for applications, websites, tools, media and many more, to have easy access to the information we choose to share.
I know that everyone in my town knows all about my life. It’s part of living in the fishbowl that is my job. I’m ok with that. I have a certain amount of control over what is shared because I know I am the source of this information, so I only share what I wish to be made public.
Facebook once let you hide the fact you commented on other people’s statuses, pictures, etc. That feature quietly disappeared. I could live with that, because I knew the 400 or so friends I had would be the only ones seeing it. But with the latest changes, now when someone comments all my 400 friends friends will see it in the live ticker.
If my friends average just 250 friends (a very conservative assumption), that’s 100,000 potential people (at least) who now have the ability to see me in the same live ticker. And while I still carefully monitor what I say, that’s a lot of people.
I can’t look past this.
I use social media (twitter, Facebook, Google+) to communicate with family, friends, and colleagues all over the world. I love this feature. I can now communicate in realtime with these people, see what they are up to, and keep in touch, share ideas, collaborate, lots of great things.
But I don’t need to see what music they are listening to right now, nor movie, or tv show. I just want to know how you are doing.
Facebook takes up too much of my time, I’ve decided. So i am scaling back. I’m reducing my friends list. I’m reducing the number of apps that have access to my account, I’m ‘unliking’ a whole bunch of things.
It will continue to be a conversation tool, but that is all. Same goes for twitter and Google+.
If you want to converse with me, you can still do it. If you want to share apps with me, sorry, it’s done. Not going to happen.
Social media is a blessing in how we can daily keep in touch with each other. But I’m afraid of what’s next. I’ve been using technology since the mid 1980’s. I’ve worked for global tech firms. I’ve programmed software that mines, gathers, and transfers data. I know what the power of data means in the hands of corporations.
I’m not trying to convince you one way or another as to your own decision. I’m just simply stating my own thought process that has led me to make my decision. I respect whatever decision you decide to make. I know people will still continue to use the full features of social media applications and get great enjoyment out of it. Go for it.
I’m just not comfortable myself, so I’ll watch from the sidelines thanks.
With over 700 million users, I don’t think Facebook will miss the million or so of us globally who will choose otherwise.
Have fun! Be safe!