Yahoo. Internet Explorer. Myspace. Bebo. They all have one thing in common. They were killed off by bigger, better, stronger competition. Today, Facebook has no competition. It’s main threat is itself. For us users, we have nowhere else to go for social networking online which is why i find it ridiculous people are quitting facebook and doing so purely because they disagree with facebook’s philosophy on privacy. I can understand why they dislike facebook, but there is no other option. Quit facebook and you sever arteries which have probably taken you years to build up… here’s 10 reasons why i’m staying and why i think you should too…
1. This is the future, get used to it
A private web only benefits those with the most connections. An open web ensures everyone has the same knowledge. It’s like closing doors or forming circles or using nicknames to hide your identity. That stuff isn’t the internet today, that stuff isn’t the internet tomorrow. Open is. Yes it breeds new pedophiles (or makes life easier for them), yes it results in more spam & phishing attacks, but look at the bigger picture… look at what the internet as a whole has done for us humans and let us not forget, the internet is all about sharing information.
2. You exclude yourself
Try finding another social network where you can connect with all of your friends with ease. Unless you can convince your entire community of friends to switch to another network, you’ll be a lone ranger. And your friends won’t switch because of you, they’ll only switch if THEIR friends switch and so on. You do not have the power to single handedly convince masses of people to change their habits overnight. Accept it, pick the toys up off the floor and get back in the pram.
3. You can still keep everything private
A lot of people don’t realize you can still keep all your data private. It’s just set to public by default. It might be confusing or difficult to lock down your account, but it can be done.
4. Facebook is still growing
Despite the protests and fuss being made about facebook privacy from a small minority of users and the vast majority of online media sites, the changes facebook made last month have increased activity on facebook. 10m accounts have been created since the changes to privacy were announced last month. People are using it more than ever before. That suggests the wider facebook population don’t give a hoot about these new privacy policies and they care about the stuff that matters, the stuff they signed up for – information sharing.
5. There are no alternatives
This isn’t 2006. It’s not myspace we’re talking about. Back then you had up and coming networks like facebook and bebo. Now, facebook is the Google of social networks, there is no genuine alternative. Challengers will simply come and go until radical new social technology comes along that isn’t created by facebook. You can’t simply clone facebook, make it more private and expect it to grow (which is what some new projects are trying to do). It’s just not going to work… Facebook has the connections & relationships and that’s what makes it so powerful and immune from competition. The only way to beat & lure people away from it is with shiney new technology.
6. Facebook Connect
How often do you sign up or login to stuff through facebook connect? If you’re like me, a hell of a lot. Simply losing that functionality would cause me hassle. Going back to sign up forms and manually logging in using username / passwords? No thanks.
7. Hiding information creates suspicion
As more and more accounts (and people) become open online, private accounts will become suspicious. Why are you hiding? Who are you hiding from? What are you saying that is so secretive you can’t say in public? These are the questions people will ask. Shut down your account and it’s an admission you’re not comfortable with everyone (potentially) watching you or being able to see what you’re doing online.
8. More information makes advertising better
Roll back time a few years. Remember those crappy smiley icon banner ads? Facebook ads are usually from local advertisers, so it means they’re more personal / interesting / not generic. A bit like google’s adsense only more casual. Yes of course we don’t want to see ads, but i’m sure you’d rather see interesting & local ads rather than teeth whitening ads or smiley icon pack ads. The more information facebook share with advertisers, the smarter and more targeted ads become. It’s good for everyone, not just facebook & advertisers.
9. Apps & Games
I hate games myself… all of them. From farmville to mafia wars to tetris. I just don’t care. But i understand why people do. I do use some apps, but again i’m not a huge fan / user. I know that i’m in the minority however, the stats say there’s a good chance you play games or use some apps. Regularly. You’d have to be really motivated to just quit suddenly and sacrifice those games & apps… many of which don’t exist elsewhere or can’t be played & enjoyed without your facebook friends.
10. It’s just too much hassle
How many photos do you have? How many friends? Got events planned? Got private messages you need / would like to keep? Sure you do. Deleting your account involves exporting all that stuff to somewhere else which lets face it, is just hassle. Plus you’ll have to upload it & reorganize it somewhere else. It’s like a bank (only not as secure obviously!)… you can moan and whine all you want but you’re not going to switch because it’s too much hassle and like i said before, because there is no real alternative. As soon as one comes along, i’ll be the first to hop on board. I have no loyalties to Facebook, i just respect what they’ve done & are doing for the internet.