Daily Archives: May 8, 2010

Much ado about privacy on Facebook (I wish Facebook were MORE open!!!)

Facebook Like Buttons

Jeff Jarvis wraps up a couple of weeks of bloggers’ angst about Facebook in a post titled “Confusing *a* public with *the* public.”

Some things.

1. I +love+ the Facebook like button. More on that in a minute.
2. So far only about 50 of my more than 1,300 friends have disappeared from my Facebook friend network. Hardly an indictment by the tech elite (and some of those probably haven’t deleted their accounts, but just removed me as a friend, something that’s pretty common and has been seen every year — keep in mind that’s since last August, so I don’t even think I’ve lost 50 friends in past month).
3. There’s a competitive social network, Pip.io, which answers all of Jeff’s concerns (has much better thought out model of privacy and publics) but so far it hasn’t seen any major adoption.
4. Isn’t this the fifth time Facebook has pissed off pundits? What happened the previous four times it pissed off people? Oh, yeah, it saw huge growth.
5. When I was in Tel Aviv Facebook’s like buttons were so popular people were wearing them as fashion statements and at the biggest tech conference there, Marker.Comvention, they were handing out Facebook like buttons as stickers.

But over the past few weeks I’ve talked with lots of people about Facebook and my attitude toward privacy. It’s clear that Facebook has messed with something and that some of us are having a tough time with that. I think Jeff nailed what it was.

Instead of calling it “publics” I say we wanted to be in control of our story. I said that Facebook had brought us an inch closer to the end of privacy.

The thing is, my wife says she doesn’t care. My wife is closer to a normal user than I ever will be. I haven’t cared about privacy for years. If I don’t want you to read something I don’t put it on a computer. Period.

Remember, I worked at Microsoft. What happened in 2000? The DOJ took all of Microsoft employees’ supposedly private emails and put them into public. So I knew back then that anything I put on a computer could end up on the front page of the New York Times.

This is why I took a very transparent attitude for the past decade toward my life. I have always set my Facebook to the most public setting possible.

Whoa?!? Here’s the deal: I wish Facebook had NO PRIVACY AT ALL!

That’s called the open web. I wish Google could index every word I write on Facebook. Hint, it can’t.

The thing I hate about Facebook is that people who want to see my profile can’t. Even now only 5,000 of you can look at my Facebook profile. That’s lame.

I want to live my life in public. Why? Because that way none of you can exploit me more than any other.

Right now 1,300 people have access to my Facebook profile. That sucks.

I wish you all had access to my profile.

Yes, I know some of you have delusions of creating the equivalent of an exclusive dinner party, or, even, something bigger like a TED conference in your Facebook page.

I’m just so bored with all that talk. Just what are you doing that needs to be so damned private? Are you having sex inside Facebook? Doing illegal drugs? Cheating on your wife? Damn, your Facebook life must be SO interesting!

Me, count me out of this whole privacy thing. I want everything I do to be public and then I don’t have to spill thousands of words crying when Mark Zuckerberg takes my stuff and exposes it in a search engine.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about why I love Facebook’s new features so much.

1. I’m finding new restaurants, thanks to Yelp‘s use of Facebook’s likes.
2. I’m finding new hockey players to follow thanks to NHL‘s use of Facebook’s likes.
3. I’m finding new questions and answers thanks to Answer.com‘s use of Facebook’s likes. (That’s the #18th biggest site on the web, and they just turned on likes).
4. I’m finding new music over on Pandora thanks to its sharing of my Facebook’s friend’s music listening behaviors.

So, cry me a river. Your “publics” have been destroyed. Your privacy is gone.

Come join us in the open web Facebook! Get rid of all the walls, including the stupid limits of 5,000 friends and the stupid kicking people off of the service (which continues to this day).

I applaud that Zuckerberg is trying to be less like AOL and more like the open web.

Now excuse me, I’m off to click “like” on some more things and, even, have added a new bar from Wibiya where you can see other people who have clicked like on my blog. Oh, yet another cool feature thanks to Zuckerberg’s throwing our publics under the bus.

Thank you Mark!