When facebook changed its layout the other day, it caused quite a stir. All over my news feed people were crying foul, posting pictures like this one. It all seemed a little over the top to me. I responded by posting a picture that read “I am appalled that the free service that I am in no way obligated to use keeps making changes that mildly inconveniences me.” I’ve been on Facebook since 2008. It has added much to my life. It makes it easier to share pictures of my kids with family. I have reconnected with cherished friends that I would have thought were lost until the next reunion.
It has given me a platform to voice political opinions, informative articles, and to seek out readers for this blog. I have gotten infuriated over other’s rants, and have probably caused others to wonder, “what is that guy’s problem?” I have 468 facebook friends, whom I can now group into distinct lists. Some of the 468 I barely even remember meeting the first time. Some I never really wanted to reconnect with – they just sort of “appeared.” All the while I have scoffed at those that mocked facebook.
All of the complaints against the big blue F seemed silly and uninformed. I had my security settings mastered. I could spot a virus video link a mile away. I changed my password frequently to avoid spammers. Now however, I am starting to have doubts.
Insecurity is starting to creep in. I think it started for me when I watched the movie “Social Network.” No longer was Facebook some anonymous website with a clean logo. It suddenly had a face – with insecurities, faults, and frailties. Are you telling me that Facebook was created because some nerd wanted to impress a girl? This did not bode well. But then I realized that almost everything awesome ever created by a man was probably done to impress a girl.
Yet my fortress of certitude that I had built around facebook started to crumble. When I read about how difficult it is to delete a facebook account, I started to get worried. My fall-back argument to every facebook criticism was always “I could always delete it.” Now I am not so sure. Yes, you can delete your account, but is it ever really deleted? Recently a friend of mine announced he was getting off of facebook. He asked if there was a way to backup what you have stored on FB. It turns out that there is a program to backup everything that you have ever put on FB. Every picture, every comment, every note, every link. EVERYTHING. Which begs the question. If I can back it all up, then where is it all stored?
I’ve read a few interesting articles. Some are pretty alarmist, like this one called “Facebook’s new terms of service: ‘We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever” This one is called “Ten Reasons Why You Should Quit Facebook.” Here is another article called “The Web Means The End of Forgetting.” It all seems like an invasion of privacy. It is starting to make me a little squeamish.
Yet it is hard to say they are invading our privacy when everything that we put on facebook is completely voluntary. I know that there is no such thing as privacy on the internet. It is an illusion. I operate understanding that everything I put on faceboook is permanent. This unfortunately, is not an assumption I had for the first couple of years on facebook, but live and learn, right? Then a couple of weeks ago I saw my own cell phone number on my facebook profile. I am positive that I never entered that. How did that happen?
So now I am looking at the new facebook. And I am seeing everything that everyone of my friends does, and I’m starting to think – “Do I need to know that?” Or more importantly, “Do I want all of my friends knowing everything I do on facebook?”
So now this is popping up on people’s statusses.
Please do me a favor and move your mouse over my name here, wait for the box to load and then move your mouse over the “Subscribe” link. Then uncheck the “Comments and Likes”.
I would really rather that my comments on friends and families posts not be made public, Thank You! Then re-post this if you don’t want your every single move posted on the right side in the “Ticker Box” for everyone to see!
I’m posting this not only for myself, but also so that my friends and family will know to ask others to do the same if they would not like their every move on facebook!
Then I read somewhere that this really doesn’t do any good. It is all so confusing. And that is my point. I don’t think any of us really know what is going on.
It seems like things are moving incredibly fast. Laws haven’t caught up. Social mores are being created as we speak. What’s too much on FB? What does it mean to be in community while sitting at a computer? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I no longer see Facebook as a benevolent entity helping people get connected. It is what it is – a multibillion dollar business designed to streamline advertising and gather consumer information. Am I okay with that? If I know that I’m being exploited, is it really exploitation? The problem is I just don’t know.
In five years, what are we going to say about 2011? Are we going to laugh at those that had worries about Facebook the way we now chuckle at those that refuse to buy things on amazon? Am I going to regret photo-documenting my family’s life? Is something I said, did, or posted going to cost me? hurt my family? get me in trouble?
I don’t know. I don’t think any of us do.
I’m not deleting my facebook account. For better or worse, it has become a part of my life. I can’t in good conscious encourage others to join though. But if you are on facebook, do me a favor and “Like” the Fat Pastor. I have 65 fans, and I’d really like to get over 100.