Proper Facebook Etiquette

#863 Pay up

Wednesday 26th May, 2010

Dear Mariann,

My question is – would we pay for a site like Facebook?  Been listening to the Times and how it hopes to charge. If we paid – there would be no privacy issues about data being passed on – on ads – we just buy the structure and add the connect – bit like a word processor.

(From Pay in reply to post #262 Fierce expertise)

The challenge for the ultimate social network – as Facebook prides itself on being and we love to admire Them for – is that this leaves things a little rough around the edges. A little indelicate and unpalatable if you will. The danger is that it is unfinished and for the most part allowed to run loose, all too aware that its (cleverly) scuppered any privacy or security tribunal because, whilst they OWN your data, they do not own you. Yet. This leaves things  neatly open for you to make lots of mistakes, for them to side-step the responsibility of a panic-button. For those of us on Facebook, the site begins to exude a palpable ‘we don’t care’ attitude. Which could be detrimental to the likes of its fans – you and me.

BUT Facebook is nothing if not responsive. This week you can sharpen up your security settings via a Facebook prompted message and neat visualisation thingy they’ve devised to make things ‘easier’ and look neater. Privacy is still not clear cut. Plus playing around with various thingy’s on Facebook can (and has in my experience) get one into all kinds of sticky situations – from lost content (goodbye education references) to suddenly unlocking your blocked list (eeeek!)!

Staring at the construction of the Facebook network is to gaze at genius.  Look its a site that has simply evolved. Is it getting too big for its boots? Well while you ponder on that one, biding our time across from Facebook are the likes of Twitter. Also still free and revenue ‘open’ lets call it (this is where you chime in, how does Twitter make money?!… good question). Generally annoyance grows at anonymity – which requires that you MUST be someone on Facebook and you cannot just lurk in the dark corners of social networking, less your friends forget who you are. Time and again various media journalists come down on a story or two attempt to ‘Live without Facebook!’ Their declaration is short-lived. And usually quite inane. Once you try to put into words what it is that you do on Facebook, well reality hits, we’re not really doing anything, but this does not mean that there is any less appeal in terms of what the site represents for connecting with friends. Some of my best times have been doing nothing in particular with friends. Make of that what you will. But Facebook is your friend (non?).  It can even be a handy birthday prompt. And there’s been many a social event that I’ve picked up due only to the friendly side of Facebook saying ‘hey’ and reminding that there’s something to be done.

Everyone who cares about friends and their relationships will not just use Facebook. This is not the way the world works. For those that you care about it is wrong to retain a distance and mood of sullen silence. And it betrays a noticeable lack of engagement or care if your only contact with someone is via Facebook. Remember the phone?

Pay, I believe that Facebook may be knocking on your door any time soon. With a sparkling idea such as yours (do/could you work for the Times),

we just buy the structure and add the connect – bit like a word processor

then how could we go wrong. And Mr Zuckerberg makes some more $s for his back pocket. I suspect that your vision is only a matter of months away, in a slightly different format. It would be easy to imagine Facebook having a Pro version. Much like Amazon, Flickr etc. (Twitter are you reading this?!)  Being Pro or a VIP member you can remove any stupid third-party APIs, advertising content and rework your Privacy Settings to even more sophisticated levels. Would people pay for this? Yes. IF there was opportunity for Facebook to begin to start taking some of the responsibility away from us in terms of privacy and security management. What they would offer is network curation / body guards for the likes of us who ARE concerned to not receive cold vibrations from randoms or read suspiciously crafted messages that appear like a second rate push marketing promotion.

FacebookPro you heard it hear first. If They are not building up to this I’m a turkey in bad shoes.

Which leaves us waiting in the wings to learn what will happen next to our network/s. Except they aren’t ours. Yet. Only after the subscription fee. For  now keep you knicker-elastic tight.

3 Responses to “#863 Pay up”

  1. Dr Mariann Hardey says:

    iPad. Jealous. I hope you receive a good poking.

  2. IPad says:

    Can I Facebook on my new iPad – Yes I can as I come out of London Apple store – read and weep non-pads!

  3. The rant says:

    Gen Y has grown up and now realised that all those fun things on Facebook put on when they were at college may now be seen by potential employers. Now they want better privacy controls that allowed them to loose their past private social lives so they can build a new public face. Thats my rant

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