Truth: I feel angry and cautious each time that I log in to Facebook. All I can think is that if I post something, Facebook will somehow review the content to see if they can sell my data and with the profits add it to Mark Zuckerberg’s $billions. But I am not alone.
In “Wising Up to Facebook,” an Op-Ed piece by Bill Keller in The New York Times on June 10, 2012, the author writes that “In recent weeks it seems the world has begun to turn a jaundiced eye on this global megaplatform. While that may not please Facebook’s executives, it is a good thing for the rest of us — and maybe for the future of social media, too.”
The results of the public stock offering aside, I support the fact that users of social media need to wise up and look at Facebook objectively and not just as fun tool. Keller writes that, “It wasn’t an entirely new thought a year ago when I fretted in this paper that the faux friendships of Facebook and the ephemeral connectedness of Twitter were displacing real rapport, real intimacy.” The example he used was the cover of The Atlantic magazine in May 2012 that read “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” “A resounding “yes” — lonely, and narcissistic and actually ill — was the answer,” Keller wrote.
Keller reminds the reader that “Facebook had its origins in an algorithm with the not-so-lofty mission of letting horny Harvard boys rate the looks of female classmates.” Think about that! Lee Rainie, who studies Internet culture at the Pew Research Center, is quoted as saying that “the empire is still growing toward a billion users, and more and more people say they use it every day. What has changed is that users say they are more wary of posting private information — especially when contemplating a job hunt, a college application or a budding romance. And many Facebook users — a third, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll — are cutting back the time they spend there.”
I will continue to log in to Facebook and suffer being served up, as Keller states, “a target for precision-guided advertising.” The real truth is that, “After a period of idealizing social media, the public is beginning to recognize that these are enterprises with ambitions and appetites. They are businesses….This surge of scrutiny ought to make us smarter, more sober consumers. The challenge for Facebook is how to retain the trust of its wised-up users even as he commoditizes us — that is, how to sell us on without creeping us out.”
Moral of this post: be aware of Facebook!