Tag Archives: social networking

We Don’t Need Facebook

Facebook has given privacy a kick in the groin. If this is news to you, you should probably check out:

Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative [Wired]

or

Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook [Gizmodo]

or

Facebook Further Reduces Your Control Over Personal Information [EFF].

Longer than the Constitution
FB Privacy Policy: Longer Than the Constitution

Those who’ve been watching the plucky start-up were already aware that Facebook is mired in accusations that it was founded by a crook and funded by a nut and some gooks. Into this fray comes Facebook’s controversy over their privacy settings. It used to be that Facebook provided a space that was just for friends and family. “Just” as in “only.” As in, not public.

The new privacy settings even led to a movement last month to have a “Quit Facebook Day.” Even if you manage to tackle FB’s labyrinth of privacy settings, don’t use any apps, or never use FacebookConnect you still can’t control what happens when your friends fail to make their stuff private. You can’t stop Facebook from censoring your messages. Even if we all flock back to Myspace or Friendster or Tribe [or Whatever] we have no guarantee that that data won’t be given away. It would probably be wise to consider anything hosted on a faraway computer you can’t control as potentially public, even email. At the very least we should commit to using sites that have consistent and reasonable privacy policies (thus the total opposite of Facebook [1][2]).

But entrusting Facebook is clearly no longer the way to go. Here’s why. In my myriad conversations about this issue, I get one of three responses:

"I don't care who sees my data"“I don’t care about who sees my data or my friends’ data. I posted it so anyone could see it.”

This person shouldn’t be on Facebook. There are much better public sites that do everything Facebook does but better and more beautifully (more on that later).

“Privacy isn’t a big deal to me but there are some things I’d like to put online that I don’t want the whole world to see.” "I'm not super-concerned about privacy."

This person shouldn’t be on Facebook. These are the people Facebook seeks to confound with their myriad privacy on-off switches, e.g. most of us. Because these folks aren’t too concerned about most of what we put out there, we won’t be meticulous about making sure everything is set to private. We won’t think of our Facebook stream as a blog¬† for all the world to see and eventually we will accidentally post something that will get us embarrassed, fired, divorced or deported.

“privacy is very important to me. I only want to share stuff with my friends.”

This person shouldn’t be on Facebook. Because this person cares about privacy. If anything, they should be boycotting Facebook. Wake up: Facebook wants our info to be public so they can make more money on their ads. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted he’s ok with the whole thing being confusing because he doesn’t believe in privacy.

"I want my stuff to stay private."

Oh the outrage!

But alas,¬† Quit Facebook Day has come and gone and your account still remains. Don’t feel too bad…so does mine.

Now that Facebook has decided to make it standard to share people’s stuff, why are we still using Facebook? Simple: because no matter how much better the other sites are, Facebook is where the people are. But having all the people didn’t stop Myspace fom sinking or Friendster before it. We just need a critical mass of people to join these other sites and Facebook will be history.

The thing is: we don’t need Facebook! Even if Facebook were offering a reasonable privacy policy there are much better sites. And here’s the good news! They all allow automatic posting to Facebook. For those of us not boldly motivated enough to quit Facebook, we can follow our friends on these sites while automatically sending updates to those still lost in the land of blue and white status updates. Eventually these sites (which are all still relatively new) will grow full of enough users that we can all jump ship.

“But,” I hear you asking, “what are these wondrous websites?” Patience, dear reader, for you have discovered the subject of page two…

Continue reading We Don’t Need Facebook

the Ever Expanding Blogosphere

Last night I was looking for a good way to host pictures on myspace when I got sucked into the blog mashable until three o’ clock in the morn’. This is a blog about blogs and the social networking sites, specifically the economics and business models they are using. But they also do a lot of research and talk about various newcomers to the scene. Here is a summation of what I learned:While everyone knows that myspace has the lead when it comes to the width and breadth of social networking sites, there are some contenders for specific interests. I had heard of deviant art (for artists) but not urbis.com, social networking for writers. There is a new competitor for art by the name of humble voice, which supposedly has a noteably more beautiful interface than myspace. Urbis’s strength is the opportunity for criticism of one’s work. Both sites have a ranking system, in the tradition of sites like hotornot.com but judging your work, rather than looks. I will most likely start an urbis account for my creative writing, as this blog isn’t the appropriate outlet for it.

I am also excited to start an account with bikespace, a social network for cyclists. On bikespace, you can create route maps, form groups of riders, and evite folks on rides. Bikespace is still in beta so newcomers could be influential.

If you are looking for someone to host all the pics and songs you want on your page, try badongo.com. They give you a gig and you can upload files from your computer. They will spit out the html to put it on your page. The only catch is that they delete your content if you are inactive for a month.
If you just want to throw some pics on your myspace, most folks have been using flickr and photobucket. But I am more excited about tinypic, allyoucanupload, and imageshack, which don’t require any login information. I’m not a professional photographer, I don’t want to chat about my pics. I just want to get them up and out to myspace.

Another interesting addition to the blogoshere are the remixing sites splice and jamglue. At these sites, you can take songs and sound clips with creative commons liscensing and remix them to make new songs.

I have been downloading mixing plug-ins from winamp.com but now you can just do it all on the web. Then you can upload it to your blog for all the world (okay, the myspace world) to hear.
Here’s an example:

.. classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ codebase=”http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=8,0,0,0″ height=”150″ width=”400″>..>
I am most excited about weedshare.com. Put your pipes away, my Oakstermdam friends; it’s a music sharing site. If you have been looking for a way to give money to the bands you love but want to keep downloading and sharing music, weedshare might be the answer. Personally, when I get my hands on good music I can’t wait to share it with others, particularly because the music I like is not playing on MTV (but then, what is?). The problem is that bands need distribution and the only way to do that has been through record companies. But with weedshare, you become the distributor. You can play any song free three times, then you buy for five dollars. If your friend wants the track, instead of buying it from itunes, they can buy it from you. You get a percentage of the money. Then if your friend passes the song on to someone else, they get a percentage, too. It is a concept so beautiful it makes me want to cry (or are is that the last vestiges of PMS?). More on this later, after I’ve thoroughly checked out their site.

All in all, the mashable blog raises one particularly interesting point: the more myspace expands, the more it cuts into the business that it is creating. If myspace video becomes hugely successful, youtube will lose their business. While this looks unlikely, it is certainly possible for smaller contenders like those mentioned above. Yet add-ons like this are what made myspace hugely popular. On the other hand, one can’t blame myspace for wanting to provide everything, so folks don’t have to look to other websites to complete the social networking experience.

All this means to my awesome, devoted readers: you will be seeing more and hearing more on my blog in the future. As usual, your comments are always welcome.