What’s on my mind is how Facebook makes me feel a little more uneasy every day. There’s something fundamentally creepy about it … and it’s getting creepier by the day.
My principal concern is that, while Facebook looks a lot like, The Internet, it is something very different. The Internet is an open system of things that link to each other; Facebook is a closed system that, every day, tries to close out the bits that go somewhere else, makes it harder for you to go (or link) somewhere else, and continuously encourages you to deposit *everything about you* with them. Facebook is the biggest information harvesting exercise in human history … and it’s gathering, filing and *using* that information in ways that you don’t know for the benefit of people other than you.
I keep thinking one day I’ll leave Facebook .. and I know the bigger and more ubiquitous it gets, the harder – and more outlandish – it will seem to leave. But if I – and I hope, others, don’t – then one day we’re going to wake up and find we’ve handed the way we communicate, store our personal information, store and share all our media to one privately-owned company that will dictate to *us* the terms of how we (or *they*) use it. And if that doesn’t scare you it should.
Think about it: that ‘mailing list’ of fans on your band’s page? You don’t own – or readily have access to – that. Those photos and videos you uploaded directly to Facebook (now that it discourages you to link to Youtube)? Facebook controls the storage of those – and can tell exactly who looks at them *without sharing that info with you*. All that chatting, bitching, flirting and planning you do on Facebook message threads? Stored *for ever* on someone else’s archive. Gulp.
It sometimes makes me nervous about how I might spread the word about things I’m doing outside Facebook … but then it makes me *more* nervous to think I should be nervous about that!
You can find me on Twitter: (@MrJonathanKing), on Google+ and at jonathanking.tumblr.com/ but, after the end of this week, you won’t find me on Facebook any more.