Facebook, G+ and other Laments…

Before I get into this article, I need to reiterate that the opinion expressed in this article are mine, and mine alone.  They do not reflect the opinions of my employer (Dell) or anyone else. Now…on to the story.

I woke up this morning and all is well with the world.  Wife and kids sleeping peacefully, dog at the foot of the bed out like a light.  the birds outside singing their little hearts.  Not a sound in the house.  Just me, my iPhone, and about six-gazillion message waiting for me about how much the new Facebook “sucks”.  Because I was reading it on my phone I did not have a chance to see said suckage, so I responded this way; “Today is totally going to be like Christmas as a kid!! I wake up and check my Facebook messages only to see several people upset about the new format they woke up to. This is going to be great…I love surprises like this.”  Wow…was I ever surprised at the comments people were making over a FREE service that they DON’T have to PAY FOR.  That’s right…I’m on the side of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Tumblr and anyone else that makes (or will make) a product that we get to USE and ENJOY for FREE.  Now, it would be one thing if we paid for the use of the application and they they switched it up on us.  But NONE of these companies ask a dime from us, except the ability to use our online behavior to drive the marketing engine.

One of my Facebook friends (we’ll call him “Bob” to protect his real identity) posted this: “One more privacy invasion by Facebook…if I haven’t put my AGE, I don’t want other people to be able to do it for me! Same goes for ANYTHING about me. If I haven’t put it in here, I don’t want Facebook going behind my back to ask other people to do it. TOTALLY underhanded.”  This was as a result of a list that I created to keep my local friends in one list so I can target my postings (because not all of my FB friends care about cheap widgets at the local Dollar General).  Anyway, he didn’t like the fact that I could put information about him in Facebook’s database.

That really goes to my point in all of this.  We are happy to use these services that these companies roll out.  They let us share our pictures and videos.  They let us keep up with friends that we have not seen in years.  They let us share news faster than any newspaper or TV can.  They let us connect instantly around the world and they do it all for FREE.  We don’t have to use these services…we make a conscience decision to do so, and then complain when the company that creates the product, buys the servers, storage and bandwidth, pays for the data center space and power, and all they ask in return is that they can use your Internet habits to sell to marketing organizations.  If you don’t like the things that they do, then do not use their services.  Close your account and go back to regular email.  Or, better yet, do what George Beardsley (co-founder of unation) did…go out and start your own Social Network.

Please don’t get me wrong…I am not trying to rant and rave here.  I just thing we need a little sanity put back into our society.  Facebook, Google, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. exist because we decide to use their services without cost.  They owe us noting.  If we don’t like what they are doing, then we need to quietly move on to something else.  Me…I like Facebook, and I like Google+.  Will there be a time when I move on from Facebook to Google+?  Maybe, but it won’t be because I am ticked off at Facebook.  I know full well that if I put it out there, it is there for the world.  I know that what I do online is not anonymous and that the data is being used by these companies to make money.  That’s fine with me.

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