Sunday, June 3, 2012

I don't hate Facebook, I just think it is flawed... no we are flawed

I'm guilty of bashing Facebook. My sister has brought this to my attention. Okay, good point and readers of this blog and my other online venues deserve an explanation.

Actually it is not the technology that is flawed. Like many other things in life it is human behavior. The ability to write something about someone and post it to millions of folks is almost magical. Sadly if it is a negative comment, the author is insulated from looking into the eyes of the subject of the posting.

Text has little context, it is very easy to hurt folks feelings. I went on a Facebook diet after reading a series of disturbing postings. I care about my family and friends and it is very distressing to read them bashing each other.

Is this the fault of Facebook? Of course not, but they have flaws in their user interface. I have no idea what the difference is between posting on my Wall and posting to "friends". I don't like that I can't really edit a previous post. The privacy settings are a mess. The joke is that they had a Initial Public Offering because they couldn't figure out their own privacy settings.

Terry Gross on NPR's show Fresh Air  had a show called Keeping Your Kids Safe Online which featured the author of Talking Back to Facebook. I strongly recommend that parents and educators give it a listen.

Do I use Facebook? Of course, evidence is the FACEBOOK Family page and New Ipswich page that I created. I did this because I like to facilitate connections and I understand the technology. These pages were created for the Facebook community since the majority of users are here. However the quality assurance part of me realizes how badly Facebook has been slapped together, so that is my reason to push the Google alternative.

Both entities are mining our personal information for profit. If is is "free" we are the product, but at least Google is more elegant with their data mining.

For me a big part of sharing is the large catalog of family photos in my possession. I spend hours adding keywords, geographic data, labels, captions and more to these photos. Facebook tosses all that aside and uses a proprietary database. They even throw away time stamps and rename the files. For me that is a complete FAIL.  Also once uploaded to their database, I am prevented to block downloading and re-sharing .

I have many photos of living children. I want to share the photos but I want to be assured that I know exactly who the audience will be. That audience is usually my immediate family and closest friends.

We are social animal, this is a fact but what do you make of seeing a couple at a restaurant, each staring at a little screen instead of looking at each other? Does that disturb you? It is worthy of contemplation.

My choice of flawed social networking remain Google+ find me there.

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