A few months ago, I made a top ten list of predictions for 2010. One of them was that this would be the year people get tired of Facebook. At the time, a lot of people thought of my various predictions, this one was the goofiest. Abandon Facebook? Who the hell is going to do that?
Then today, I read two things that made me think maybe I was onto something. First, Gizmodo made a Top Ten list of their own: “Top Ten Reasons you should quit Facebook.” I find it difficult to disagree with any of the points they made – particularly because they’re all true.
Mark Zuckerberg’s proclamation that, “default is now social” sounds like a cleaned-up version of Eric Schmidt’s, “There is no more privacy” – both of which are close enough to, “All your base are belong to us” that you have to wonder if the two are in competition to be the next Bond villain.
(If WordPress’ video embedding worked, I would be showing you the video that appears here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6e7wfDHzew)
Then I got Loren Feldman’s latest e-mail blast for 1938Media, and he’s announced that he’s off of Facebook. A lot of people these days say, “I’m quitting Facebook,” mind you.
“So I quit Facebook… It’s not going to hurt my business one bit. It’s not. I’m bigger than Facebook. I don’t mean that arrogantly I’m just saying that I think my brand is established and I have a really cool site that I control. It’s where my AUDIENCE and COMMUNITY is. I am Loren Feldman of 1938media.com. I am not facebook.com/lorenfeldman.”
When you spell it out like that, it’s hard to bullshit one’s self that leaving Facebook is in any way a big deal.
I’ve actually been ditching out on a lot of social media services lately. I’m officially done with Foursquare, no matter how many people are now latching onto it. Is telling people where you’re eating lunch really that much more interesting than going on Twitter and telling them what you’re eating for lunch?
I’m also done with Last.fm. I have no idea how to use the site, I can’t listen to anything without being told I need to give them money to do so… and Blip.fm is just BETTER, folks. Trust me. BETTER.
Now I’m thinking I need to take my own advice, and finally cast Facebook off. I’ve only used it to keep in touch with family and close friends – the kind of people I could call on the phone anyway. The aforementioned privacy concerns are becoming legendary, even post-Google Buzz. What is it really good for?
Ultimately, it’s good for businesses selling something. People have been bamboozled into believing Facebook’s where the action is, so they’ve all joined, and they’re all still trying to figure out what they’re supposed to do next. Open Graph is introduced as the next stage, to convince us there’s something happening. The result? Marketers still have a huge pool of people to sell to, and Facebook has a huge pool of marketers to make money off of – not just because Facebook has the traffic, but because they own our data.
In fact, let’s consider their traffic a littler closer: Why is Facebook as popular as it is? Finding the link to cancel your account is difficult. As Dan Yoder said in the Top Ten list above, you can easily “deactivate” your account, but actually deleting it is more difficult than getting a Google Adwords representative on the phone.
So perhaps there AREN’T 180 million or so users on Facebook? There are just 180 million “profiles” that haven’t all been deleted? I mean, MySpace still claims to have a lot of users too – but one look at their daily traffic stats and you know that’s a lie.
Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW there are a lot of Facebook users. But if there’s a lie about the actual number of active users, it might be part of the push to convince people everyone’s there, and you’d better not leave, or you’ll miss the party. Could it be that it really ISN’T that popular?
Because the truth is Facebook’s no party. It’s difficult to navigate, you can only communicate with your “circle,” and in the end someone’s going to be there to scam you out of your money.
I, for one, see no reason personally to continue with it – and am finding more and more reasons, like a lot of people, to ditch out on it.