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I Will Not Be Deleting My Facebook Account

Posted on 25 May 2010 by - Permanent link Trackback this post Subscribe to this post Comment on this post -  

Facebook have recently got a lot of flak for changes to their default privacy settings, terms of service and strategic partnerships. People (and applications) are moving away from the social networking platform and the list of reasons to do so is quite compelling:

I signed up for a developer account, read the Terms Of Service and played around with the API. I’ve also experimented with advertising on Facebook and after a while it becomes obvious that Facebook’s business model is to rent your data out to those willing to invest time (in developing free applications) or simple cash.

However, I will continue with Facebook and here’s why - my Facebook friends.

Friends: Not Fans, Not Followers, Not Community

The vast majority of my Facebook friends are people that I have met in real life, that I have worked with, been to school with or had a beer with and I want to interact with the way non-geeks do.

The geek in me prefers to share photos via Flickr; cool sites via delicious; status updates on twitter; longer messages via email; music via Last.fm and use a host of other specialised services that blow Facebook applications out of the water.

I’m no big fan of Facebook but my friends are on there and that is why I’ll stay.

Facebook is the lowest common denominator of online sharing and that suits a lot of people - people who struggle to keep their email contacts up to date, or don’t understand upload quotas, or cannot install browser plugins. For those people Facebook just works - we developers must remember that.

I Will Be Keeping An Eye On My Privacy

Whilst all of the information in my Facebook profile is available on other websites, I will keep an active eye on my privacy settings and recommending that everyone disable instant personalisation (howto guide here).

I also block a lot of Facebook applications - I just don’t trust them to follow the terms of service even after Facebook has weakened its data-retention rules. I recommend that others do the same, but I also recognise that many are willing to trade privacy for Bejewelled Blitz, Farmville or Mafia Wars.

Facebook Will Die One Day

Just not today.

Communities are fickle, and Facebook is a behemoth with a lot of traction in the lives of ordiniary people, just like Yahoo was and AOL before it. What is needed to make people move is an alternative that is very obviously better in the eyes of the average user (not just the techies currently pushing towards an open, decentralised replacement).

Remember when Google replaced Alta Vista as the most popular search engine? Heh, maybe not; that was a long time ago in internet-years, but I do. All the geeks shouted about how a new search engine’s results weren’t influenced by advertising, how you couldn’t buy placement, the purity of the algorithm, etc.

When Joe Schmoe visited google.com for the first time, he saw a text box and two buttons - and that was better than the busy portals offered by its rivals. Then he tried it out, and the results were good - better than competing search engines - and so Joe had a new favourite search engine. The algorithm didn’t matter; the revenue model didn’t matter; the user experience did matter.

So, developers should not just make an open Facebook, they must make a better social networking site. One that is obviously much better from the first glance and stays better the more you use it.

Facebook are reacting to user concerns too, but it remains to be seen whether this is just PR, or if there will be a root-and-branch change in the company’s practices. I suspect not, they make money by offering access to your info to advertisers and developers so a new revenue model would be needed.

Are You Deleting Your Facebook Account?

Go you! You’ll be part of a mass movement if you quit on the 31st May 2010. The instructions are here.

See this screenshot for what to expect (it’s quite sneaky).

Leave a comment and tell me which (if any) other social networks you’ll be using in future, or if you will stay on Facebook, tell me why.


Creative Commons licensed photo by Franco Bouly.

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5 Comments

 Derek said at 2010-05-25 14:21

I'll stay

 For a variety of reasons, some revolving around a lack of interest, but most around the fact that Facebook's value to me is all the friends and people I have on it. Creating that kind of network on another social networking tool is just something I can't see happening any time soon. I was a member of Facebook for about a year before I actually started using it, so it really had no value until I had a bunch of friends.

I also watch the privacy settings like a hawk and don't bother with many of the applications that request access. And I don't post a lot of private stuff online. It's just a matter of being aware of the fact that almost anyone will be able to see what you post online somehow. I don't swear much (online), I don't post pics of the family, it's not that hard to think about and be careful.

Now I'll use Facebook and Twitter (and cross-post to Facebook from Twitter) and that'll do me. I'm a member on LinkedIn but still haven't seen any real value in it (for me). This is how I viewed Facebook when I first joined so I'm hoping at some point it will become useful.

Personally I think many of the quitters don't want to take the time to pay attention to what they post.

Great post Andy. Glad to hear someone is thinking about the decision.

 Matthew Gaunt said at 2010-05-25 12:11

Spot on

Astue, accurate and fair

 seo tutorial said at 2010-06-14 17:29

I like it

I wouldn't like to delete my account

 Online Software said at 2010-06-23 12:50

HI

I think no one will delete own facebook account.... every one wants to enjoy....

 

Thanky you for the post...

 Web Tasarim said at 2010-07-04 01:30

...

I wouldn't delete my own Facebook account also. But you're right. Every social media site dies one day. Facebook is gonna fall if not die, not very soon but soon enough :)

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