flotsam, peeves

Breaking up with Facebook

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Facebook seems to be moving itself right back to where *I* thought it started. (Image via Wikipedia)

“It’s not me, it’s you.”

When I first joined Facebook, I hated it. There weren’t that many privacy controls, and I referred to it as “StalkerVision” and ignored my account for a good 6 months because I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of opening up my every action to the scrutiny of anyone-and-everyone in cyberspace.

Seriously. I am a private person. And while I don’t have deep dark secrets to protect… that level of openness to everyone and anyone is just not safe.

Not to mention… weird. I mean, really? You don’t interact with every person you know in the same way, do you? You don’t share all things in your life equally with all your circles of friends, acquaintances, or colleagues, do you? Of course not. No one does.

But you know how it is… it becomes the way that everyone is in touch with everyone. All my friends and most of my family were on it. And I got familiar with more of the privacy settings (I made copious use of them, in fact), and they made more settings available. I defined friend lists (they didn’t make it “easy” but it was possible) and used the lists to limit who-saw-what accordingly; separating aspects of my social circle in much the same way that I do in my “real” life. I updated my settings every so often, because they’d roll out a new “feature” that would – unbeknownst to me – be making my information available to a broader audience. And there would always be some big sweeping layout change, and everyone would hate it, and then we’d all adjust and move on.

But. Well.

Facebook’s most recent changes are apparently the first step in a set of updates that will, if you listen to the hype, change how we think about social media.

Hmm. Let’s just evaluate the changes I see so far. I used to be able to control which of my actions were “shared” and with whom. I now have control (sort of, the settings don’t always seem to stick) over the posts of others I choose to see, but no choice over whether certain categories of posts of my OWN actions make it to their walls at all. So, it’s about putting all the control in the hands of the reader?

Hmm, wait, no… that’s not quite true either… because I can change what I see in the “Wall” but those preferences don’t make it to the “News” at the far right. Hmm, that’s new.

And Facebook will decide for me what it feels is a Top Story, and try to learn from my preferences what they are. (So far it sucks at it, by the way.)

Ooh, and it creates smart lists for me, in case I didn’t already have lists (which I did) but I don’t seem to have the same level of control over which groups see what categories of posts/actions. And if I try to add someone to one of those groups, apparently it tells them so in some way.

Well, of course it does. It’s telling everyone everything now.

As near as I can tell, Facebook has decided that privacy is a thing of the past, and they are going to be the leaders in killing it once and for all. I as the DOER of something do not get to decide who sees it. Instead, everyone I’m connected to can decide what among my actions are of interest to them. More or less. They still can’t completely ignore certain things, even if they want to.

Ooh, and rumor has it, this will soon expand into the option to Subscribe to someone without even friending them first. And there’s more that seems pretty scary and Big Brotherish, and I’m not the only one who thinks it’s creepy.

StalkerVision indeed.

If this is the brave new world Facebook is planning to introduce, it’s braver than I am.
Thanks but no thanks, Facebook.

/End rant. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work on the project to /End Facebook Account.

6 thoughts on “Breaking up with Facebook”

  1. Try Google+. It’s like Facebook, but with what seems like better control over who gets to see what you post. And, to my knowledge, people have no idea what circles you put them in or whether you even add them to your circles at all. I rarely used my FB account and got more and more disinterested in what all my “friends” had to say, so I jumped ship and went with G+, which I rarely do anything with anyhow. So, maybe it was more of a clean house and start over thing… hmm.


    1. I’m tempted to give that a shot, but I am sort of in a wait-and-see mode for now… if Facebook tracks everything you do everywhere, Google seems like it would be in an even better position to do that…
      But, who knows? That may be where I end up anyway.

      Unless, of course, I decide to become a hermit, and just give up all forms of social contact. 🙂


  2. I’ve switched to using Facebook on a separate browser from everything else I do online. And I’m going to start LOGGING OUT.


    1. I know what you mean (if you’re online you almost have to assume that you’re pretty visible anyway) But do you think you’ll still feel that way if/when (1) people don’t have to “friend” you to “follow” you and (2) your every online action is being posted? I’m not even thinking about situations where a person does something questionable or embarrassing. I’m thinking of the everyday stuff that it isn’t necessarily good that everyone (and by that I mean any random stranger with God-knows-what agenda) know about: The scenarios I worry about are when your every online activity can be shared with anyone and everyone, such that complete strangers can know where you do your online banking, where and when you’ll be out of town, where your kids go to school and what their extracurricular schedule is, etc.


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