Everyday I log in to Facebook to see what my friends are up to. It’s a great way to keep up with my old friends who are now 300 miles away. Even with all of it’s current popularity, I feel like it will fade away in time. Here are my reasons.
The Platform Was A Mistake
Thanks to the Facebook Platform, there’s always a new silly quiz to take or some other application wanting my attention. I mostly ignore those things, but sometimes I give in.
This is where the problems start. It’s not enough to just take the quiz, the quiz also wants you to invite all of your friends to take it, too. Also, by taking the quiz, you have to agree to give the program access to all of your information on Facebook.
This has always struck me as a little odd. I usually spend as much brainpower trying to make sure that this program doesn’t e-mail everyone on my friends list as I do actually taking the quiz.
I believe a social network should be centered on the people involved. They’re the reason the site exists. The applications are just a distraction to get people to spend more time looking at the ads.
It’s a Walled Garden
Facebook released their API partly in response to my second criticism. It’s closed. There’s no way to share things on Facebook with other people, unless they’re also members.
What if I want to share my pictures and status updates with everyone? This isn’t possible with Facebook, yet sites like Flickr and Twitter make it easy. Also, what if I want to export my data from Facebook?
The Platform could easily be used to create applications to make sharing easier, but it’s against the terms of service. Facebook recently shut down an application that made your data available as an RSS feed citing privacy concerns.
This is kind of a double-edged sword. I think one of the initial reasons for Facebooks rise to popularity was the fact that it was initially only available to college students. It was like a private club. Obviously, that made outsiders want in even more.
Now that the site is available to all, there should be a way to make the data more readily available.
It’s Nothing New
Like I mentioned earlier, there are many other ways to share your information online. Facebook is nice if you didn’t already have a blog or some other means of sharing your thoughts and pictures online.
Facebook does make it easier to keep up with friends, but it’s not rocket science. A group of tech-savvy friends could just as easily set up a blog for each person, then subsribe to all of their RSS feeds.
For me, it seems like just another inbox sometimes. Why should someone send me a message through Facebook, when they could just e-mail me?
I’ve also starting using the Twitter application so that my Twitter updates also update my status on Facebook. If there was an application to make my friends status show up as a feed, I would probably never visit Facebook.
Thanks to the fact that the site is fueled by advertising, that’s never going to happen.