Quantum Matrix Scribe

Facebook, I don’t understand you

January 24, 2011 | 3 Minute Read

So to allow people to comment here with their Facebook accounts–so they don’t have to go through the trouble of getting yet another stupid account–I have to enable Facebook Connect. But that means I have to get an App and an API key and all this nonsense. And I have to wonder: why? Why do I have to get an “app,” and thus ask Facebook users if I can download or access their profile information? I don’t want any of that, I just want them to be able to comment here without trouble. I don’t want to have this “canvas” thingy or do all this sort of advertising stuff, and hell, my privacy policy is simply “Yeah I’m not going to tell anybody any of your private stuff.”

And then there’s the new profile layout. Now, I’m not one to really complain about Facebook’s profile changes. It’s their product, they can alter it as they see fit (and considering that membership has continued to climb at a fantastic rate, it appears to be quite fit), and before, they always seemed to make it more efficient, better, in many ways. But the most recent change I just can’t quite grasp. First off, those pictures up there? Yeah, maybe we don’t want them all up there for someone to see right away. Yes, I know you can delete them. I still think they don’t belong there. But secondly, and more importantly, what is the point of a status update anymore? It used to be it was at the top of one’s profile, where it was quite visible and could serve as a sort of “broadcast” to anyone visiting your profile as to what your status really was. But with all that personal information up there, your status gets pushed downwards, muddled with all your links, videos, notes, Farmville pleadings and Mafia Wars gangbanging, and your friend’s writings (which now you can’t filter out anymore; another dumb decision.) And so it makes me wonder why we even really have the damn thing anymore. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we do, but it still feels almost extraneous.

Before I used to think the same of Twitter. Since virtually the entirety of my social network was on the social network, what was the point of using Twitter? It was a status update, just limited to 140 characters. I was rankled by the inane length constraints, being a burgeoning novelist, and besides, it seemed redundant. I had status updates, who cared about Twitter. (Lots of people, yes, but I certainly didn’t.) Eventually I got over that and started using it, although still not on a truly frequent basis.

Now I’m starting to reverse my ideas. I’ve grown annoyed with Facebook lately, not only over its recent batch of befuddling design choices, but also over its security flaws, its unnecessary expansion and intensified complexity of its privacy policy, the arrogant attitude of its creator, the idea that Facebook seems to dictate all forms of internet interaction, and finally the sort of atmosphere that it’s becoming the social media Borg Collective, assimilating everything else into it. All my friends say “send me a Facebook message” instead of text or–god forbid–email. It’s as if this one company dominates and sets all of their communication protocols. I prefer to have diversity and choice, I’m no fan of monopolies. Seeing this occur is just unsettling.

So I’m thinking of using Twitter more often in my social media sphere. I won’t actually ditch Facebook–it’s like really think syrup, you just can’t get out–but I will shift my usage to a different service. And then, maybe Facebook would have to compete to get me back.

Reality check on aisle 9, please….