Thursday, April 21, 2011

Facebook: Why?

I don't get the whole Facebook phenomenon. Really. Let me explain.

First of all, I don't understand why companies that already have their own web sites--as ALL companies do these days!--want to send their customers/viewers to a DIFFERENT web site to contact them, comment about their TV show, or whatever. What's the point? For example, SomeCompany has their own domain, It's easy to say and everybody knows they can just type into their browser and go to their site. But now SomeCompany has a Facebook page--and they're advertising it and telling people to go to to post on their wall or whatever. Why? I don't want to be bothered going to some OTHER web site to contact the company! Why wouldn't I just go to their own web site? It doesn't make sense. It's redundant, and for those of us who've chosen to rid Facebook from our lives, or who never had an account to begin with and don't want one, it's impossible since we can't post without an account. I don't want an account. That's why I deleted mine. (You've heard about all the privacy issues, the use of your personal info for targeting ads, etc., right?)

I wrote recently that the LA Times is experimenting with a Facebook only commenting system, and how stupid that is. It requires that you have a Facebook account and use it if you want to post comments on the LA Times site. Why? There's no connection between the two sites--they're separate entities. Like I said in that post, it's like saying you have to open a Wells Fargo bank account if you want to use your Bank of America debit card at Bank of America. Just absolutely stupid.

So right now Facebook is the hot thing. Does anyone remember GeoCities? MySpace? AOL? "Hot" things come and go. It's silly for companies to get all wrapped up in an unrelated site, forcing their users to have accounts at another site in order to use theirs, and so on. At some point Facebook WON'T be hot any more...and then what?

As for individuals whose lives are totally wrapped up in Facebook, what can I say? How about interacting with all those "friends" in real life? In fact, how many of those "friends" do you even know in real life? And why do you want to put your life out for all to see like an open book? Even with Facebook's supposed improvements to its privacy settings, did you know:

"According to CBS News, 15 privacy and consumer protection agencies recently filed complaints against Facebook with the Federal Trade Commission. These companies stated that Facebook 'manipulates privacy settings to make users' personal information available for commercial use.'" [Source]


"Many of the most popular applications, or 'apps,' on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found." [Source]

Like I said before, I don't get it. At all.


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