I’ve been thinking about ditching Facebook recently as it’s offering me less value than it used to. It has some great points such as sharing photos with family and friends, private groups, family updates, that kind of thing. However it has many more bad points, like updates from horoscope apps or news that someone has given someone else a magic bucket in MafiaVille and having to give a third party access to your basic details just to read a news article.
I don’t like the expectation that you need to be on Facebook just because everyone else is. You don’t. There are many great ways to keep in touch and share online without having to sell your every move to a giant omnipresent ad broker. Remember that if something you use is free, you are the product. In most cases this is fine, I have no problem with ad based online services, it makes these services cheap for me. Flickr is great for pics, Twitter is great for status updates, and Tumblr is great for both. However Facebook are trying to muscle in on everything you do, just because you have an account with them. All the above use ads to make money, but they don’t feel the need to follow you around the web monitoring what you do.
This brings me to the reason I’ve finally decided to ditch Facebook - at least on an experimental basis. Recently Facebook changed your email setting in your account to firstname.lastname@example.org, without asking presumably so they can scan your emails to target ads, like Google do with Gmail. Go and have a look now. Click About in your Timeline, scroll down to Contact Info and you’ll see the new facebook.com account next to email. (Lifehacker has instructions on how to change back). As an iPhone user I have found it useful to synchronise my Facebook contacts with my own address book. Sure why not? If someone changes their email address, it’s useful to have the update come down to my phone automatically. However in this case, no one changed their email addresses, Facebook did it for them, without asking. As a result, I’ve now lost the real email addresses of a large number of my contacts who I happen to be friends with on Facebook.
Facebook has screwed up my address book. That’s MY address book. Enough already.
I have professional reasons for knowing what’s going on with Facebook, I’ll keep reading the developer blog and have a work account, but for actual personal me stuff, I’m done. I’ll disable the account in preparation for deletion in 24hrs so folk have time to read this, and see how I get on. Yes this is a protest. Yes it’s a bit meaningless as I can’t imagine anyone copying me, but sometimes I have to be a bit of moral hippy.
You can find me online at one of these fine institutions (who all have their problems, but I don’t think they’re as bad as Facebook’s)
and Google+ at http://profiles.google.com/elliot.tucker, and yes I appreciate the irony, it’s just that I distrust Sergei and Larry less than I distrust Zuck.