Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Are you using Facebook? Better look at this....

We are all in love with the the constant connection benefits of social networking because it makes staying connected so much easier. It broadcasts to my sphere of friends or family quickly the family news both good and bad.

But, like other things modern, do you ever wonder if there is a downside to this constant connectivity?

An interesting read is Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich (also known for his book Bringing down the House) although fictional, it is based on the real story of Zuckerberg. He is described as an aloof character who did get the idea for Facebook from the Winklevoss brothers while at Harvard and eventually pushed them and others who helped him out of the way.

That said, on Monday, Gizomodo released this blog page:

which basically is written to alert the uninitiated about the perils of using facebook.

Now I am not here to tell you not to use Facebook, but given the set of circumstances outlined here, I would advise you not to go deep into the information streams of the application or participate in the downloadable content or the activities such as farmville or mafia wars which provide advertising means for Facebook which solicit you to attach your friends and family to your account.

I am reminded of this when I performed a repair this past week and the client tells me that she is getting requests for friending from all kinds of people who she does not know and is now bothered by the use of the application.

Like all things, if it does not help you, don't use it. I think it is still more meaningful to have a conversation with someone you care about rather than spilling it out on media for all to see.

Take it for what it is worth and consider tightening or removing sensitive data for your profile. Then, use subscription email accounts (make other email accounts) for these purposes to separate the general public from knowing what your real email accounts are. I would recommend locking down your data for friends only so that whatever you have in your profile is viewable to accepted friends.

Avoid using any applications which can be downloaded to your computer via the Facebook application. I once tried an application which would allow me to digitize my photo for a custom Avatar. Well, that software provide who was not Facebook, pushed malware into my PC which required a large amount of repair to correct. My experience supports the number 5 reason in the Gizmodo post: your private info is shared with the applications on Facebook.

Finally, the general application is not made to be efficient to use. That means that it is designed to cause you to browse further and spend more time on it which lowers your resistance to using their supporting apps which then create their marketing opportunity which allows them to benefit directly. Since this monetization is surely their goal, it would appear that they are taking on more and more networking schemes from 3rd party software providers in their efforts to sell more and generate more profit.

I am not against these kinds of businesses but the sad thing is that Facebook is viewed as a social contact site and not so much of a marketing environment which it is. I think it would be nice if Facebook would separate their user community into two different zones, one for commercial use and one for private use. But hey, that would be stupid because you would not be drilling into the full population of the Facebook community to propagate your products or services.

Anyway, be careful out on the internet..

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