Wednesday, July 4, 2012
The Devaluation of Facebook
The Facebook of today is different. It is a business, a public company with the goal of making you confront advertising everywhere you turn.
With ever-present concerns of privacy abuse, the clunking social monstrosity that we, the people of the world, have co-created with our freely submitted user contributions is every day becoming less of a fun place to hang out.
Let’s start with the News Feed. Instead of seeing updates from people I know and care about, I witness an ongoing, shameless presentation of commercials and promotions from newspapers, companies, and causes, all of which I innocently “liked” in the past. I don’t know if it is possible to “unlike” something (I certainly don’t see this option). Basically by clicking on “like” I told these organizations: “Feel free to bombard me with your advertising.”
The News Feed is organized by a secret algorithm known only to Facebook, one that is guarded as closely as the recipe for Coca Cola. It doesn’t matter if I choose to sort the feed by “Most Recent” or by “Top Stories,” the real gems, if there are gems among the hundreds of posts, are hidden far below. I feel like I must scroll down every day to make sure there is nothing of importance that I may have missed.
Facebook Friends, I can’t see what you’re posting amidst all the clutter!
Where is everybody?
Speaking of friends, where has everyone gone? It seems that in the early days, everyone was in a hurry to establish a Facebook presence. In April, Facebook topped 900 million users worldwide, but how many of those users are actually active?
Many of my Facebook Friends have let their accounts go dormant. When I visit their pages to wish them a ‘Happy Birthday’ I discover there’s been no activity since the previous year. Other friends have closed their accounts altogether.
Facebook today is a business, one that bases itself on advertising. The more companies Facebook buys with the cash it raised in its IPO, the more that its advertising will be in-your-face and targeted.
Let’s face it - Facebook isn’t as fun as it used to be.
What do you think? Has Facebook outlived its welcome in our virtual homes?