Proper Facebook Etiquette

#327 A curse on Facebook

Monday 23rd June, 2008

I’m worried about the sneaky (and underhand?) behind the scene ‘stuff’ on Facebook. Any ideas?

Time passes swiftly on Facebook. As luck would have it such time is not ill spent. Well what could be more rewarding than tracking the changes of friends, adding events, groups and fan pages? Of course one might describe such dedicated tendencies as an over enthusiasm, captivation, nay passion, or perhaps indulgence. But could this also border on the obsessive? I would counter, a centre for the fanatical only to those not familiar with the delights of Facebook’s insights, accolades and expose’s.

One might argue that this level of driven content demands more careful and protective tendencies from users. The tension between living out online and being online is a slim margin. Such is the curse of Facebook: One day as a cool tool for simply staying in touch and up-to-date with friends. Another time, and you’ve not shifted from Facebook all day having searched, poked, and posted well through day and into night. Opps.

Life can be complicated. On Facebook things appear deceptively simple and neat where feeds highlight for you what is going on, what is of interest (and even not of interest) and create requests personalised just for you. It is worthwhile remembering that aside from friend lists and content, Facebook is a commercial service. And one that is out for profitability. Mark Zuckerbery isn’t worth an estimated $15 for nothing. Those little ads that sit on that show on the profile page are aimed directly at you from information that you have supplied; be it favourite film, tv, likes, dislikes and other little snippets that were intended for friends. Working behind the scenes this data is divulged and fed into third party commercial gains.

This latest incident in my life should make things clearer: Recently a friend of mine was married and understandably their profile page was filled with wedding references, not least a status update that read ‘wedding day t-minus blah blah blah…’ You get the idea. Rather unexpectedly (so they thought) the profile page began to feature ads for motherware, children’s medicine, formulations and other parenting accompaniments. Far from parenthood, my friend speculated why these had seemingly appeared from nowhere? Where-upon I replied that we’re back to those wedding references.

Subsequently my friend in question described this as an ‘assault’ on their profile, now ‘obliterated’ by nonsense and annoying classifieds. Taking the marriage out of context, those third party Facebook guru’s thought they had my friend pegged. You can see their ‘genius’ and logic at work here: Marriage reference = children = promotion of all things parental.

No sooner had such endorsements appeared, then my friend choose to remover their wedding status. This did ease the child related sponsorships, but I do feel for my Facebook friend when the inevitable Honeymoon updates and contents uploaded.

So look alive Facebook fans. Your content is their content, and something not just for you and your friends to enjoy. Perhaps that’s the biggest curse of Facebook thus far; where your content Is not your own.

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