I am officially an Unperson

I’ve done it, I have removed myself from the rest of humanity.  Relax, I haven’t done anything TRULY crazy, I just deactivated my Facebook account.  For me it’s been a long time coming.  It started a while back when Facebook changed their policy regarding photos. While FB later changed their tune and restored the original TOS it’s still a pretty frightening thought that a multi-billion dollar company owns the pictures of my kid.  I kept my account open, and just changed the way I viewed my privacy on Facebook, it was something I monitored every week, and made sure it was a tight as I could get it.  It was frustrating though because it was something I had to constantly worry about, and made me think twice about everything I posted.   It was also frustrating to try to post certain items for certain people, while keeping everyone else from being able to view them.

Then when this new round of updates featuring the “Timeline” started making news I realized two very important things:

A) I don’t care to know every little thing about all of the people I am “friends” with on Facebook.

B) I don’t want those same “friends” to know every little thing about me.

My view is that if I wanted someone to know these things about me I would tell them.   The new “frictionless sharing” (see also: herehere  and here) is also aggravating, annoying, frightening, and just not a good thing (in my opinion)  The idea that everything you click on, listen to, read, look at, or think about should be shared is just awful, not only do I not want everyone to know about my passion for competitive knitting I also don’t want to know about my friend’s weird hobbies.

With the new Facebook layout everything you have done from the day you were born, to what song you are listening to is now available, and even shoved down your friend’s eye sockets.  The day I actually removed my account I happened to see one of the new time line updates on the right hand of my screen about a job a friend of mine started in 1999.  Big surprise:  I DON’T CARE!!  I started deleting photos, and deactivated my account 20 minutes later.

Yet that is not the biggest reason I removed my account.  I started thinking about the new Facebook layout, and why Facebook would go to the obvious trouble to create this whole new system, going so far as to create imaginary demand for frictionless sharing.

Why?  Money, obviously.  Facebook is a business, and a business must make money.  No objections from me, ask me to click on things I like, and companies can use that information to market their product better, and improve their products.  I’ll even take some targeted ads with out a complaint. However what Facebook is doing now is making a nice neat little package of YOU, they will stick a bow on top and sell it to drooling advertising execs so they can make a buck.  Facebook is collecting every little scrap of information about you so you can be more easily targeted by ads.

Zuckerburg is at least honest about what Facebook wants from you going so far as to say: “What kind of products would be possible if Facebook partners already knew everything about their users?”  (Scroll through this @ 10:46 during his keynote address at the f8 developer conference this year.)

I don’t want Facebook to know everything about me. (Google already has that distinction thank you very much.)

I’ve decided to use Google+ instead of Facebook, and yes I know good ole’ Uncle Google is doing pretty much the same thing, but it just doesn’t feel the same.  Plus with Google+ I have much more control over who sees what posts, and what posts I view.  I also like the ability to follow someone, without sharing everything I do with them.  This allows me to see what tech writers, and product designers are saying, and I don’t have to pretend to be their friend, and I don’t get bombarded by all of their personal comments, unless they choose to make them public.  Because while I value what the Android Central team has to say about Android stuff, I don’t care about their cats, dogs, or children (unless said creatures are trying out new Android products).

So I’m not saying everyone should remove their Facebook account, I’m just saying as always be careful about what you put on the internet, even more so now.  Check your privacy and sharing settings, and watch what you say, because it can come back to bite you in the ass.

As always, if you have any comments, questions, concerns, or just want to call me a jackass feel free to use the section below.