communities

Facebook et al are not my cup of tea. I’ve played with it, given it a go and so on. For most of these sorts of things, I’ll give it a go and move on if it doesn’t suit. However my concerns regarding facebook go a little deeper and it represents an itch I’ve been trying to get at. I s’pose the biggest problem I have with it is that it reminds me a little of a gated community and harkens back to the days when Compuserve, and others of that ilk, tried to create restricted communities, protecting their users from the big, bad Internet.

Though it seemed to be more about creating a community they could market to and that seems to be the case with facebook. I’m seeing ads targeted to me eg an upcoming birthday; I turn 40 this year and I’m seeing ads for booking venues to host 40th birthday parties. A bit of me goes hmmm that’s sorta nice but really this strikes me as what facebook seems to be about, creating demographic information that marketers can use to target me. This is at least in part my own fault, as it’s based on information I have chosen to provide. Similarly in the real world, I have long been reluctant to participate in programmes (eg flybuys) that can be used to track my purchasing behaviour. Yeah, I’m a wee bit paranoid but I really detest being marketed to.

I’m still developing my thinking in this regard though news of other features on Facebook does not bode well. I access it rarely these days, except to play the odd game of vampires or scrabble, or respond to an email someone has sent me. I’m not keen on having everything in one place ie in a situation where I never have to venture anywhere else to see what’s happening. Facebook is not as enclosed as the compuserve of old seemed to be, afterall I can just open another tab in my browser; there’s still a sense to it that it’s keen to keep you there and not have you wander off.

I suppose I’m something of a curmudgeonly ol’ bastard liking different things in different places, email vs usenet vs blogging vs whatever and not keen on hiding behind a unified interface. It would make some things easier certainly, to use something like facebook, and I know some folk who have moved everything over to it. For me, I shall move on. Afterall, if I need to express myself, or interact with folk, I still have email and blogging, nevermind the occasional forum.

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