I am reluctantly on Facebook. For the record, I’ve never really liked Facebook as a concept. Networking is great, but such online social networking ventures seem like a way to pool vast amounts of sensitive personal information in the hands of private entities that aren’t really accountable to anyone. Something is bound to go wrong – maybe suddenly or maybe subtly over time – and we’ll have precious little recourse to any higher authority. I don’t know when it will happen or exactly what it will be, but we’re asking for it.
The other privacy concern, of course, is what you put online for other Facebook users to see. The first thing I did upon creating my account was review the privacy settings, and I was a little disturbed by the sheer number of them. I turned off the display of most kinds of information, and yet it’s still not entirely obvious who ultimately gets to see what information. Each of the many and varied contexts in which someone else might gain access your details (which you’re encouraged to divulge with wanton enthusiasm) must be configured separately, so it seems.
So why am I on Facebook? Well, basically for the photos, and that took some arm-twisting. I have my own webspace to upload photos, my own blog to post whimsical inanities (no reflection on the comments of others), and my own email account to exchange gossip with my co-conspirators.
The first time I tried to send a message in Facebook, I was immediately confronted with the following error:
Something went wrong. We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can. You may be able to try again.
It’s all about the flow of information, you see.