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Thursday
Sep222011

Facebook = Deactivated

When you deactivate a Facebook account, it asks you to choose a reason from a number of radio button options, or provide your own. The following is the text I cobbled together on my iPad to inform Facebook why I was leaving:

I'm uninterested in where facebook is going. I recognize that I am the product and not the customer on facebook. This is a compromise I've been willing to accept because of the number of friends, family, and colleagues I have who use it. However, as of the recent ui change and #f8 announcements, I'm done. Not only is the interface worse than ever, but I have no interest in my information being moderated through your algorithm, and I don't want to contribute any more of my information to your database. I'm willing to forgo large swaths of content my friends would like to share with me at this point because as far as I'm concerned it's not worth being your product in exchange for that service (and the ui sucks).

Reader Comments (3)

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September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Peterson

I'm not going to defend the UI nor am I going to defend what Facebook is doing to improve their likely profitability off of us and our digital (it need not be "online" so much anymore) activity.

What I will say is this: there are certainly a number of people who have been interested in support of the academic arguments for things like "Stealth Assessment." What Facebook has done with their changes announced at F8 is, frankly, demonstrate to the grand public how such things could actually happen (this is what Zuckerberg labeled "frictionless experiences").

I'm not terribly interested in Facebook's ascension on the backs of its users, but I'm not particularly terrified of it, either. There is ebb and flow in all of this and I can remember five years ago when this site called MySpace looked as if it could never ever slow down.... and it did. People will (and are) leave Facebook. People will join. People will stay. Facebook is as much about persuing some very wild ideas about how people should connect to each other and to information as they are about making a profit.

The thing is that the reason why Google+ isn't dead yet and the reason why Twitter is still thriving is the same reason why Facebook is still going to thrive -- because many people are fascinated by the "game" that Facebook presents with OpenGraph. The changes are radically different and there are a good number of people (myself included) intrigued by what they've done, just for the audacity of it... and I want to see how this level plays out. I think there's a good amount of technically adept and pensive creatures (again, I include myself) who are equally taken with Google+ for its simple and focused user experience and the potential for so much integration with the tools we already use. And Twitter is simply the web 2.0 version of IRC, and many people (again, me too) love it.

I will give Zuckerberg and his company some credit -- they have definitely pushed forward an agenda that clearly presents a world without anonymity and certainly one with (being generous here) at least a redefintion of privacy. Thomas and Brown might have captured it best with the notion of "personal vs. collective" -- nowhere is there "privacy" in this new world as people my age and older tend to have understood it.

Deactivate if you must. We are both still on Google+ and Twitter and no less a product there, too.

September 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Nice Aaron. I knew someone was going to call me on the product thing with Google/Twitter. I actually worry about Google for the same reason that I deactivated Facebook. Ultimately this is all about the algorithm. In terms of Facebook, I've never actually been interested in their use of algorithms to organize the content in my feed from my friends and family. I just want a linear feed.

Similarly with Google, I don't actually want a search that's optimized for my location and browser history most of the time. I want the page ranking algorithm that made Google great in the first place. This is most important for me in terms of news and current events.

Ultimately control of content is really important. Facebook keeps asking (and seems to increasingly require) abdication on my part when it comes to content selection...and I just realized we'll be better off having this conversation on Google+.

September 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterMoses

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