Facebook - You’ll Never Leave
I just don’t ‘get’ Facebook, Myspace, Bebo and the other long list of candidates for the award of ‘biggest online waste of space’. I never have understood the appeal and I never will. In fact, they drive me crazy as do the people who flock to those sites at every spare minute of their day. I have remained deliberately detached from such social networking sites and firm in my conviction to resist countless invitations and suggestions that I join up. Even if I wanted to – which I don’t – I couldn’t join now, anyway, through mere principle.
Anyway, given my palpable disgust of Facebook I was delighted to see that its popularity has dropped for the first time in 17 months on the Telegraph’s website:
But it still has 8.5 million users, making it the most visited social networking site in the UK, according to Neilsen Online, the internet research company.
MySpace also attracted 5 per cent fewer users in the period [December 2007-January 2008], from 5.3 million to 5.1 million, while Bebo came third with an audience of 4.1 million.
Nic Howell, the deputy editor of internet industry trade magazine New Media Age, said the figures indicated that Facebook’s popularity was in decline.
“This fall is a significant moment in the development of Facebook and potentially marks the high water mark of the site’s popularity in the UK.”
So although the novelty seems to be truly wearing off, I’m still gobsmacked by how long it’s lasted.
But it’s not just a case of me just choosing to be prudishly obtuse over these sites; there are real privacy concerns here. I’ve read many a lot of stuff recently relating to the difficulty people have experienced when trying to quit Facebook for good. For instance, the New York Times’ article on February 11th: How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free:
“It’s like the Hotel California,” said Nipon Das, 34, a director at a biotechnology consulting firm in Manhattan, who tried unsuccessfully to delete his account this fall. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
And that’s just the tip of the privacy iceberg. Don’t even get me started about the flagrant disregard for online anonymity, with users being readily searchable and contactable by all and sundry registered with Facebook themselves. Those registrations, of course, could be under a pseudonym, by people using the site as a rich data base for fraudulent or sinister purposes. Factor into that the potential for online grooming and you’ve got a very dark side of the Facebook moon. I hate it.
I hope the world wakes up and smells the proverbial soon. Maybe then they’ll suddenly question what exactly all the fuss was about. ‘Pokes’ for instance - what’s the deal there?!? Seriously? It’s a just a website - get over it.