Facebook is Not the Internet

Facebook is not the Internet!

Wil Wheaton thinks you should delete your Facebook account:

I think that Facebook is evil, guys. I believe that Facebook is making gazillions of dollars by exploiting its users, and Facebook doesn’t give a shit about how its users feel about that.

Hey, that very well may be. In case it wasn’t perfectly obvious, kiddies, when you first signed up: Facebook is a business, the user base (you) is the product, and the advertisers are the true users. Facebook sells its product to advertisers. It’s the same with any other social networking site. That’s why I’m stingy with my personal information. You should be, too. Sooner or later, someone is going to buy or sell your e-mail address, your phone number, your screen name(s), your friend list. It’s not a matter of if but when. Kudos if you’re cool with that (and you may very well be). Otherwise, be smart. Don’t post shit about yourself that you wouldn’t be comfortable handing over to a random stranger on the street. Teenage girls: no when-and-where status updates.

I got suckered into the social networking thing back before MySpace hit middle age. None of my friends used e-mail anymore. To keep in touch with them I had to get a MySpace (and, later on, a Facebook). That’s still the case today, so, yeah, social networking sites are a necessary evil. Flaky privacy policies not withstanding, I don’t mind them that much except for two major bummers: the “You Have 0 Friends” paradigm—and apps. Apps are pure evil. If someone interacts with you via an app, you have to install that app in order to reciprocate. Pretty soon you’ve got two-dozen app icons littering your page. It looks like an icon truck crashed on the expressway, injuring dozens and spilling icons everywhere.

Then there’s the “You Have 0 Friends” thing. When you sign up with Facebook to keep in touch with a few friends or relatives, you’re actually obliging yourself to keep in touch with their friends, their friends’ friends as well. People see you on their friends’ friend lists, and they start sending you messages asking why you haven’t added them, too. So, you add your friends’ friends, and this gets you into that gray area where friends of friends’ friends start hitting you up. If you add one, you have to add them all. Otherwise the Ones Who Were Not Added will start complaining that you’re a selective biatch who’s too good to add certain people (namely Trekkies, even though you might swear that’s not true). But once you add these people, you never hear from them again—making you wonder why they asked to be added in the first place.

What an effing mess. You started out looking to create a nice little profile page, but you’ve ended up with a wall covered in the Facebook equivalent of graffiti.

Facebook may have replaced e-mail as the standard for a large portion of Internet users, but the two are not synonymous. With e-mail you’re communicating one on one and, possibly, getting shit done. With Facebook you’re…playing FarmVille. Personally, I don’t hate Facebook. I just wish Mark Zuckerberg would change the name to FarmBook and be done with it.

Facebook...laid to rest