REASONS WHY I DIDN’T QUIT FACEBOOK,THIS TIME
This post might be a wee bit late considering its been 13 days since the ‘Quit Facebook Day’. But nevertheless, here I go. There have been many posts in the blogosphere telling us what was wrong with Facebook. Not all were hype. Some of them had genuine concerns and motivations (like this one, by Navin Pai and of course, the comments on quitfacebookday.com). And personally, I agree with many of them.But all said and done, I decided Not to kill my Facebook account, at present. Ironic, but true. Here’s how I addressed the concerns in my context.Please note that these are the reasons ‘I’ decided to stay back, not why ‘you’ should.It’s a matter of personal choice.
THE PRIVACY THING
This has been by far the biggest motivating factor for most quitters; Whether it is the third-party websites using your information or your profile being visible to everyone. But I think at the end of the day, it all comes down to ‘me’. I think I’m literate enough to choose 50-odd drop down options in my privacy settings. Yes, it is time consuming, but it’s an investment I’m ready to make if I value my privacy. It might not be as easy for everyone around the world, but why should I care about them? It may come out as selfish, but I’m no mahatma Gandhi. I am worried about my privacy and I can take care of it.
In any case, I think everyone should exercise a little caution when they put-up possibly sensitive stuff online. Nobody wants to know your intimate details or how bad your boss is.
THE EVIL THIRD PARTIES
For the record, facebook asks you to tick-off O-N-E 1 check box to opt you out of the Instant Personalization Program. But even if you are too lazy for that, stop being paranoid. Stop imagining the companies as evil goblins going over your data. They are just a bunch of computers using standard algorithms to give you a more personalized experience. Its as scary as Gmail posting customized ads in your inbox. And as we live in a more networked world, you are gonna see more of it. Your every choice,every transaction & every move is gonna be recorded to give you a more customized experience. Its scary, but as long as it stays computer based and we don’t have Skynet, I feel its harmless.Remember, you can still choose what goes out and what does not.
OPT-IN Vs OPT-OUT
I haven’t met Zukerberg and he may be every bit as evil as he is portrayed. But I think the Opt-out system rather then an opt-in one was purely a business decision. Think about it, any company has to make money to survive. Facebook does too. Now they have a bunch of users who don’t want to take the trouble to fix their Privacy settings. What are the odds of a substantial no. of users taking the trouble to understand and opt-in? And you CANNOT base a business model on odds like that.
Now I know that users don’t exist for the company to make money. That’s fine. Then Opt-out of it. But stop expecting a company to throw their business model out of the window. Or start expecting Fail-whales on facebook.
THE SOCIAL NETWORKING PART
Even I agree that FB is not the best social networking site out there. Its far too frivolous. But then, for me, social networking is not restricted to meeting new people. I appreciate being able to stay in touch with some old friends. And facebook(and orkut) , by virtue of its popularity lets me do that.I have met so many lost fiends here. Even people I had met at competitions around the country.
Sure I can call or mail them, but then, there are a class of friends who may not special enough for you to sit down and write a mail or call, but yet are friends enough for you to stay in touch. Plus it’s a passive medium that’s far less awkward to talk through. Can I stay silent while talking to someone on phone? No. But its ok to do that in chats.I can just drop in a scrap.I don’t have to worry about changed email addresses or phone numbers. Its just more comfortable.
Off late, there have been more and more self-important morons out there who fill my timeline with their frivolity. Sure they bug me, but its OK. Aren’t they everywhere? The world around me is filled with mediocre/loose moralled/not-so-sophisticated people. How can facebook be any different? And you will find them everywhere, be it Twitter or Diaspora. Unless you are a part of illuminati or something, there are always going to be cheapos in every social group you belong. But should I surrender to them?
THE UTILITY OF IT
I think you will NOT understand the utility of Facebook unless you organize an event. Whether its just getting the word across or creating forums, facebook really helps you. We were able to get national participation for PhotoFlare through Facebook groups. We are still in touch with many of the participants through it.
All the news channels are using Pages to leverage their audience interaction. Some companies are also conducting recruitment through Facebook ads. Its sheer popularity makes it an attractive medium. And I think it makes sense to stay close to it for now.
All these were my justifications for staying back.For now, the pros outweigh the cons for me. I agree that there are a lot of users out there(children for example) who are at a risk.But I don’t think I’m one of them .
All This does not mean I’m a Facebook loyalist forever. If at all,someday, I feel the line has been crossed, I will leave.
In either case, I think facebook is destined to die . Orkut is already dying . someday twitter will too.that’s technology. The next big thing maybe just around the corner. And I will move on too.But for now, I’m a part of the 400million Facebook users.