So today marks a historical day for Facebook fans everywhere. The stupid social networking site has gone public. As in, it will now be offering shares of stock on the stock market.
I was on Facebook for about two years. I thought it was all about sharing tidbits of life, opinions, and photos with old high school friends, college friends, family, and so on. Little by little I became addicted to those elementary games too (and I even enjoyed them for awhile). I had tons of photos on my site. Lots of opinions – sometimes causing disturbing rebuttals. And being a computer geek (I met my husband online and I work in IT) I know how to set the privacy controls and all that sort of thing. But come on, I got over the whole fad and moved on. Just like my parents when the old party line telephone was being phased out for a private line in the 1960’s. That’s all Facebook is. It’s a party line telephone!
Do you know why a lot of people moved on from the party line? Wives were suddenly made aware of their husbands shenanigans. Husbands overheard neighbors talking about how annoying they were, mowing their grass too early on a weekend morning or maybe how loud their truck exhaust was when they drove down the street. Kids picked up the phone only to hear some of the seediest conversations of their lives! AT&T did great business with the advent of the private line telephone for a reason! People started realizing they really didn’t want to know what everyone thought of them, or what their spouses were secretly up to. Isn’t gossip a sin? So, I have a sneaking suspicion (and hope) that Facebook will eventually fizzle out the same way those old party line phones did.
It seems bizarre to me that Facebook started out as a private network, mostly for colleges – you had to have a college email account initially to even get started.
Now you’ll probably think I’m a conspiracy theorist when I say this but the day the announcement came out about Facebook taking funds from Goldman Sachs (about $450 million), and a private Russian investor (do we yet know who that person is?) that was the final straw for me. I’m half way through a Masters in Marketing degree so I understand the whole marketing perspective of Facebook – and that they’re only beginning to make money from advertising stuff. Believe me when that really takes off you’ll already be so addicted you won’t even realize how targeted they’re slick marketing will be.
So, for me when a company gets too much cash inflow I question if there’s something “a bit more than meets the eye” going on. Who wants the data? Who wants the photos? Do they care who I know? Who’s trying to gain control? Since I had no way to answer those questions I systematically began deleting all of my posts (and it took awhile since I had to delete each one individually), deleted all of my photo albums, etc. Only when I felt like I had removed EVERYTHING that I wouldn’t want published in a big city newspaper, that’s when I hit the “disable” button. I’ve been back on, yes you can enable your disabled account again if you choose to, just to view some photos that family or friends refused to email – I know they’re sucked into Facebook, it’s fine, I was there once so I understand, but it’s a pain to disable it – too many questions and crap. So I have only been back on it a couple of times in over a year. So much for keeping tabs on how all the kids are growing. If my family and friends want me to see they’ll just have to email – or do what I did. I stored (backed up) all of my digital photos on a site I pay an annual fee for – phanfare.com – if anyone’s interested. And that takes care of of the whole argument about “my photo’s too large of a file size to email” thing.
Everytime I reactivate my account to check photos my family or close friends have posted I feel wonderful for a few minutes until I see something that pisses me off. Then I deactivate the account again acknowledging to myself how much I loathe Facebook. UGH!
Bottom line: I think Facebook is a time trap, gut puncher, and time waster for the most part — and I’ve got more important writing to do. 🙂
UPDATE: After the birth of my beautiful granddaughter (and her parents subsequent decision to allow pictures of her to be shared on Facebook), I begrudgingly returned to Facebook. In fact, I even setup an “author page“. Call it hypocrisy if you will, but that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. 😉 I preach a lot about forgiveness, so forgive me – and I’ll forgive Facebook. Just be careful, kind, and considerate out there…