Friday, May 21, 2010

Facebook D-Day

My daughter asked me yesterday if I was going to participate in Facebook D-Day, which I believe is on the 31st of May. I said, "probably not". Today however, I've been thinking, perhaps for me it is a time to have a D-Day for all the services I've connected to that create a lot of noise in my life but add little value.

Perhaps it is a time for Spring cleaning, the irony being most of the online services have been created in the Northern Hemisphere where it is currently Spring. The real problem is I have these various accounts that as a business sounded like a good idea at the time, but from my experience, and based on the observations of others, don't seem to offer any real value and simply consume valuable time.

So I've decided. Those services I'm not actually using such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and others are going on D-Day.

Whilst I do hope that if you are on my mailing list that you get great value out of what I share, but if you don't, then feel free to D-Day me. Unclutter your life. Focus on what's important to you. Your family, your friends and most importantly yourself.

If you closed down Facebook tomorrow how many of those "friends" would continue to contact you tomorrow, in a week, or a month. My bet is most of the people you constantly share your life with aren't really as close as you think. That's the reality of the virtual world. It isn't real. It only feels real. Your real friends and acquaintances will follow you through life in the real world. I don't know about you, but there is something exciting about catching up with an old friend and sharing what you've been up to.

I can't help smiling because I know for many, to disconnect from services like Facebook and Twitter where being busy with a constant flow of updates has become the norm, the idea of disconnecting will be overwhelming. If services like Facebook, Twitter and others add real value to your life then they are of value and you should keep them. If they are only creating noise that keeps you busy, then perhaps it is time to review.

For me I suppose one of the underlying reasons I'm considering disconnecting from the services is I no longer feel comfortable with what they are sharing. When a business model is based on a free service, then it has to make money in some other way. A way you may not have agreed to, or just as bad, agreed to, but not be aware to what you agreed to, or the implications.

When my daughter turned 18 her Facebook account become public without her knowledge. Whilst she adjusted her settings after I pointed it out, she still left things visible to others she didn't want visible. I can still search on her name on the internet using Google and still see pictures of some of her friends.

In my opinion online services should start on the premise that your information is yours. You should decide who can do what with it. If that doesn't make money for the business providing the service, then they should provide a way for you to pay for the service. Free most often means you or your information is being used by someone else for their gain. I think services should be upfront and transparent in what they do.

For me D-Day is a time of clearing out the closet, but in a way it is protest against the modern trend of using people's information for commercial gain without those involved really knowing how their information is being used.

The great thing is you always have choices.

- Kelvin Eldridge

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