I started weening off of Facebook a few years ago. Over the past year, I’ve signed in about two times. I have a hard time putting my finger on why I’m over it or why I despise it a bit. Yes, they’ve made multiple privacy gaffes before – but it’s more than just that. It’s more than just their overly cluttered design/layout. More than just obnoxious games and fake, empty birthday wishes from past acquaintances you don’t even consider a distant friend.
A few weeks ago, I overheard something that helped me hone in on another reason Fbook doesn’t sit right with me. I was on a plane, and one lady says to a friend, “What’s the weather to be like in Chicago?” “I don’t know… check Facebook.” It struck me – is Facebook becoming ‘The Internet’ to average Americans? If you think about it, companies don’t push folks to their websites anymore – they push them instead to www.facebook.com/ford. And I get it – there is more value for companies to have their customers share on a social network their association with any given company. But for whatever reason, this all concerns me a bit. I like my Internets free and independent – I don’t like my Internets resting on a single platform – a platform that is owned by 1 company (a company who has not made the best decisions in the past).
One could say “But Ian, Google is a popular service you love, and they can track what you do, just like Facebook can!” True, but Google only serves as a gateway to the wild world wide web. Luddite like folks who don’t believe Google follows their own company motto are free to employ any other search engine service and get similar results. But Fbook is trying to become the end game – trying to become the gateway to the content as well as the content provider. Thus individuals access all information from within the confines of the very convenient, easy to use Fbook walls.
Around the time I quit using Facebook, I picked up Twitter at the request of R$. This new service was interesting – and more importantly, inherently allowed me to trim down my bloated social Fbook network to a more manageable, higher quality post-collegiate crowd (i.e., less noise). Twitter accidentally filled a niche that it didn’t know existed (when it first came out, tweets were prompted with “What are you doing?”) – it digitizes word of mouth. Half the value of any great blag is the supporting community associated with that blag and the comments they leave. And this is where Twit excels, in exercising the unix philosophy perfectly, by providing a clean, universal comment platform for any real world event (it’s the universal comment platform because they were around, got lucky and got popular). One recent Sunday night my now fiance Liz said “Barry is going to address the nation…?” – we had no idea what was going on. The first place I turned to see what was going on? Twitter (and that surprised me greatly, after the fact). Same thing with the recent east coast earthquake we had – it was on Twit long before CNN.com had anything on it.
And so this is why my social network allegiance sits with Twit currently and I continue to keep a healthy distance from Fbook. Twit does one thing, and does one thing well. It’s beautiful the way the Google homepage is beautiful. I would be very disappointed if in a few months I’ll be able to start raising cattle, followed by replying to my emails, then purchasing a National tshirt – all on my Twit account.
In the meantime, I’ll be checking this weekend’s weather on weather.com or wunderground.com.
Tags: Just say No to Fbook · Smokey Maverick Values · Techmology