Monday, November 15, 2010

Clash of the Titans

With the recent spat between Google and Facebook, I found myself with a sour taste in my mouth towards Facebook.

I was one of those individuals that was very leery to join Facebook. I am a relatively private person and have never liked the idea of putting my life online. If people want to get in contact with me, they have my phone number or email address. If they don't have either of those things, then I probably don't want them contacting me.

I also don't like the idea of not being able to manage what is online. If I post something online, I feel like I should have the right to alter or remove it. Not with Facebook. Once it is in there, it is stuck.

The tipping point for me to sign up for Facebook was when a lot of the people I had met during my time in Finland were interested in getting in touch with me. It gave me a way to keep tabs on people who really didn't keep contact with me.

At first I was quite vigilant about friend requests. If I hadn't really had a meaningful relationship with someone in high school, I didn't allow them to be my friend. The idea that if you don't meet in person with someone that you won't meet virtually with them either seemed pretty on target to me. I have become more lazy now, and have quite a few people that I don't really care to keep tabs on who are my friends. I am needing to go back and purge my friends list to people who are more than an acquaintance I knew over ten years ago.

I took a class in college on business intelligence. It was the only business class I really liked. We talked a lot about web presence and how you want to be perceived on the web. While I don't mind having Facebook to keep in touch occasionally, I don't want Facebook to use the data that they have mined from my account to make a buck from me. I realize that all these free sites need to make money too, but I am one of the freeloaders who wants to give them as little as possible unless I find a lot of value in the system.

If I had to start paying for Facebook or Gmail, I would probably drop both of them (because I don't really need Facebook and there are other free alternatives for email, even if I don't like them as much). But I would think twice about dropping Gmail. It makes my life easier, and I have grown quite accustomed to their way of organizing my life.

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