So, facebook is back to its old and safe (really??) self. The NYTimes reports today that After Protests, Facebook Withdraws Changes in Data Use.
Facebook has changed before (remember their advertising model?), and with so many people using it, they will undoubtedly change again. As I asked yesterday, is Facebook really any different from the NSA, employers, the phone companies, etc.?
Perhaps better questions (just, perhaps) is why did Facebook so quickly change because a bunch of people complained online, though other recent protests did not stop the war in Iraq, the issues around VP Gore’s missed election, or even the bank bailouts that only seemed to promote publicly-support massive bonuses for the same bankers who did not show any support for struggling individuals losing their homes?
Perhaps mob protests and their effects are fickle? Perhaps online protests work? Perhaps people care more about their social networks than NIMBY social, national, and economic problems?
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps . . .
The New York Times picked up the Consumerist story about Facebook’s content ownership that they spell out in their terms of service.
Something does not feel right about this; Facebook owns it all if it is on their site?
Read their terms yourself, and make up your own mind. How much content do you want to give to Facebook in the name of collaborating with friends?
Perhaps on the flip side, in a connected world, ownership is always transferred to those who own the networks (think about how the NSA spies on US citizens or how emails we write at work are owned by the employer). Is Facebook really doing anything different?
The New York Times (yes, I enjoy reading a paper newspaper in the morning over coffee) has an interesting article today, Friends, Until I Delete You. It was about protocols, or the lack thereof, regarding dropping / unfriending / blocking / unfollowing / defriending people on Facebook (and by default even on Twitter, my primary networking hub, as well as rss feeds and blogrolls). Getting a free Whopper from Burger King aside, this issue will only grow in discussion as the general trend toward Managing Multimembership increases.
I used to accept all invitations, though find it increasingly difficult to keep up and communicate with the people who I am really interested in following and engaging in ongoing discussions. Currently, I do not accept all invitations in Facebook or even return following in Twitter. Let’s face it, if I have not spoken to somebody since high school or college or for ten years, is there much evidence I really want to suddenly start now? There are often reasons why we lose touch (as well as some good reasons for begining again, I suppose).
I often do accept if the person appears interesting, but tastes and needs and wants do change and develop over time.
Don’t get me wrong, this issue is not necessarily a personal one; it is more a recognition that I have limited time and resources. I am simply not able or interested in following or reading people who, ultimately, do not meet the WIIFM? (What’s In It For Me?) factor. Very subjective, but then again what isn’t? (Ahh, I love qualitative research!)
I wish I have more time and energy, but there is a limit. Thus, instead of my own focusing on particulars about unfriending, I prefer to focus on following those who really make a difference in my life, work, and research.