About two years ago, I quit Facebook. There are many, many reasons to quit facebook, and at the time, it was the right thing to do. The privacy policies were, frankly, about as abysmal as you can get, the bit where Facebook reset your privacy settings to the default “everyone can see everything” on a UI change got old quick, and the bit where turn off apps and updates from shit you didn’t want to see didn’t always work just sort of grated.
After much thought, some mental anguish, and a review of the current settings, I re-opened an account there yesterday. But why? Why do such a thing given their track record?
Frankly, it was a combination of Mom & Dad, a local B&B, and the fact that, frankly, it’s become the news source for all my friends.
The first, and most confusing bit, was hearing all the family updates from Mom & Dad that they had been getting via Facebook. My cousin went into business for herself (whoo-hoo!). Another getting married. My own travel and excitements were being missed, because no one in that group looks at twitter. Stuff like that. I could wait until the monthly talk or dinner to find out, or I could cave in and re-open my Facebook account.
Second was Small Street B&B, a local cafe (and eventually a B&B). I ran into the owners at the local farmer’s market the other week, and said “Hey, is there an email list or page where you post the daily menus?” and the response was “Facebook, baby! Get with the times!” Color me chastised.
And then the third. As the last two years have gone on, I’ve been getting more and more frustrated by the lack of events we would find out about. Email invites dried up. Hell, I almost missed a friend’s wedding, and if I hadn’t run into her and her fiance at a party two months prior, it would have gone by completely. Local events at Davenport & Winkleperry. Parties, gatherings, and more. All being organized, broadcast, and talked about on Facebook. And since I wasn’t on Facebook…
…this, my friends, is how they suck you in. And back in I go. Because no man is an island, and there is only so much one can isolate oneself in the current digital world.
So, given my initial complaints, how does it look now? Well, the privacy settings are better but not perfect. That’s to be expected – “When a service is free, you are the product,” and Facebook is really good at making you info the product. I’ve set it as best can be done, and will continue to tune it. We’ll see if on the next upgrade to their stuff if I have to reset it. So we’ll see.
I’m taking a MUCH tighter view on who I add and don’t add this time around. Mostly family, real-life local and distant friends, and businesses or events I’m interested in. I’m going to be more of a consumer on FB than a producer for a while, although I did link it to Twitter (my primary micro-blog platform) so that at least Mom & Dad can see when I drop an f-bomb and my depressingly (to them) liberal politics. That’s all I plan to link, app-wise, until I get a decent link to/from G+. 
I’ll probably end up making pages for KUEC and In The Evening in the next few weeks, once I get the hang of how it’s changed in the last two years. That makes sense, and might broaden the audience for both.
We’ll see how it goes this time. And in a few months, if I can’t take it anymore, or the information flood is too much to handle, I’ll just turn it back off. And try again when peer pressure or a lack of information drives me back in for a while.
 This from a pair of hippy, local-vore, small business owners in a mostly rural town to a slightly older, bald, tattooed, local-vore, mostly-goth tech worker. The SHAME.
 Google+ is still going to be it’s own thing, since it’s still lacking an API for me to link to. Frankly, I like their UI better, and I get a different set of content there than on Twitter and Facebook. And I suspect linking G+ to FB will be a long time coming, given how the two companies are now head-to-head competitors in the Social Network space.