Facebook: the last safe haven brought down

Facebook, the ubiquitous alternative to Myspace minus any 14 year old girls and 50 year old single men. A safe haven for college students to interact socially on the internet, whose privacy and security was controlled by the ability to view and meet other people solely through networks. In other words, if you dont know someone who knows the person you want to be friends with, or if they are do not go to your university, you pretty much can't find them. It allowed for a more intimate and "gated" social network versus Myspace where any wack job can find you and ogle your pictures and life.

This was until they decided to go public. Now, if you live in any place, you are a part of that network. For example, instead of having to be a university student to join Facebook, verified by your uni-email address, you can join the "New York, NY" network. So there goes the first barrier to entry, allowing any Myspace junky to convert to Facebook. Moreover, Facebook has decided to publish every detail of every member's actions, in a "News Feed" (see above) which is brought up as your login screen. (see picture) Now, if someone breaks up with their girlfriend, every single person that they are friends with is notified immediately upon login. (I had this experience as I joined into a new relationship, and the next day at school I was questioned by 10 of my friends.) I understand that if you wanted a level of privacy, you wouldn't post the information on the internet, but this is beyond just a display of information, this is a broadcast of ANY changes that you make to your profile.

Facebook benefits from this ordeal, by feeding the tabloid curiosities of its members. Speaking of members, it removes the preset limit on who and how many members it has, increasing its hits and popularity. For members, the news feed keeps people interacting, for example, when they see news on someone else or a picture change, or anything, they can have a reason to visit their profile and make a comment. The extended network capabilities allow friends that would otherwise be excluded from their posse to be added.

I think that this redesign is poor planning on the part of Facebook. Where Facebook had an advantage over the uber-trendy and free Myspace through the university trend network and a level of privacy and limited accesability to the general public, this is now lost. The niche market that Facebook took hold of, which made them so popular, they have now betrayed. I recommend that Facebook revert to their simple yet innovative design of social network controls, and so do many of my uni-peers.

Listening to Mos Def

1 comment:

Jessica said...

i agree, even though i can shut off the news feed features, they are simply feeding the strange gossipy desires of people everywhere to get them to keep coming to the website.

i guess anything to get ahead.

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