Monday, June 20, 2011

Are Social Networks a Passing Fad?

I recently deactivated my facebook account and I see that I'm not alone. - Ralph Deline 
Leaving Facebook? You can try... but 'evil genius' social network won't make it easy
By Daniel Bates
17th June 2011
The tide is turning against Facebook - last month, more than 100,000 Britons deleted their accounts on the social networking sit.
But committing ‘Facebook suicide’ is not as easy as you might think.
If you are truly determined to do the deed there are two options: you can deactivate or delete.
Deactivation is the soft option. You can do this by chosing ‘account settings’ and clicking the ‘deactivate’ button.
But, in a stroke of evil genius, Facebook then confronts you with pictures of your friends and messages saying how much they will ‘miss you’.
Swallowing the lump in your throat, you then have to opt out of Facebook emails - or the site will continue to taunt you with messages about parties and events you are now missing.
Even then, deactivation does not actually get rid of your account but leaves it ‘hanging in a cloud’, waiting for you to scurry back.
Deletion is more terminal and the social networking site doesn’t make it easy. You have to search Facebook’s servers for how to do it and then send in a request which has to be confirmed by email.
Facebook insists that within two weeks every single trace of you will be gone from its servers, with no chance of getting it back.
But even then you will still have a presence on the website if any of your Facebook friends continue to put up photos of you.
So there would be nothing to stop your friends uploading photos of you on your stag do, skinny-dipping, or at graduation celebrations.
And nothing to stop your boss finding them.
Facebook fatigue sets in for 100,000 Brits: Users bored with site deactivate accounts amid privacy fears
By Daniel Bates
14th June 2011
'Facebook fatigue' blamed for drop in users
Social network with 600m users has been rocked by privacy scares
Tired of social networking? Logging off Facebook? You’re probably not the only one.
Fearing for their privacy or perhaps just bored with using the site, 100,000 Britons are said to have deactivated their accounts last month.
And Facebook fatigue seems to be catching. Six million logged off for good in the U.S. too, figures show.
Logging off for good: Computer users concerned for their privacy are choosing to shut down the Facebook accounts. (Pictured posed by model)
Worldwide, the rate of growth has slowed for a second month in a row – and as it aims to reach its goal of one billion active users, Facebook is having to rely on developing countries to boost its numbers.
The figures suggest that there could be a ‘natural limit’ for Facebook’s saturation.
There is even speculation on blogs that, as is feared for its failing rival MySpace, the website could one day ‘sputter into oblivion’.
Earlier this year, executives announced that the number of Facebook accounts held in the UK had reached 30 million, accounting for about half the population.
Digital PR Vincenzo Cosenza compiles a world map of social networks twice a year. It shows the dominant website in each region using a colour code. Between June 2009 and June 2011 Facebook overtook Hi5 in Mexico and Orkut in India as the largest network
The milestone was an increase of four million from last July and represented the highest saturation of any country in Europe.
But times change – and last month more than 100,000 in the UK stopped using the website, figures show.
In the U.S, user numbers dropped from 155.2million to 149.4 million throughout May. In Canada there was also a fall, of about 1.5million users, while in Russia and Norway numbers also fell by more than 100,000 users.
It’s not all bad news for the site. Worldwide, Facebook is still expanding and has around 600 million users, thanks to strong growth in countries such as Mexico and Brazil.
According to Eric Eldon, of the website Inside Facebook, which obtained the figures through analysis of the company’s advertising tools, there is a point at which the site can no longer grow, once it has established itself in a country.
‘By the time Facebook reaches around 50 per cent of the total population in a given country, growth generally slows to a halt,’ he explained.
Internet psychologist Graham Jones predicted that Facebook users would suffer the same kind of ‘fatigue’ that comes whenever men and women get bored with trying anything that is new.
He said: ‘People get terribly excited about something new and after a while the novelty wears off.
‘Even if it is a new TV series everybody thinks it is fantastic at the beginning and things tail off.
‘In all aspects of our lives we are addicted to novelty, so Facebook should be the same.
‘The reason it is so compelling is that it is the first big website that allows two-way communication between people.
‘Humans are social beings and up until about five years ago we did not have a website for direct communication in this way.’
Worldwide reach: The map displays links between Facebook friends as lights on a deep blue background
Facebook has been beset by concerns over its privacy, the most recent of which was over its facial recognition technology which commentators have described as sinister.
The site has come a long way since it was started in 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, in his bedroom at Harvard University.
It has become the largest social networking site in the world and made him the world’s 52nd richest man with a personal fortune of £8.2billion – at just 27.
In 2008 it had approximately 100 million users. It has grown to 600 million in just three years.
Privacy fears: Features like 'tag suggestions', where facial recognition algorithms automatically scan photos to suggest who is in them, have spooked users
A spokesman for Facebook said: ‘From time to time, we see stories about Facebook losing users in some regions.
‘Some of these reports use data extracted from our advertising tool, which provides broad estimates on the reach of Facebook ads and isn’t designed to be a source for tracking the overall growth of Facebook.
‘We are very pleased with our growth and with the way people are engaged with Facebook.
‘More than 50 per cent of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day.’
Reasons to leave facebook
[1] Communication zilch. Causes lack of communication and interaction between house hold members. Everybody is too busy checking out the latest post of meaningless dribble.
[2] Facebook eats your brain. Recent research indicates that social networking sites may inhibit concentration span and have a negative influence on our ability to feel empathy.
[3] Addiction and timewasting
[4] Anyone can start a group mocking or belittling you or a member of your family. As long as the posts aren't blatantly obscene or threatening, no number of "report this group" attempts will make a difference. Ever been a teacher? How many of your ex students are on Facebook? Ever had to sack someone? Ever had an ex? Would you like embarrassing and/or false anecdotes passed around the web on a Facebook group that carried your name for anyone searching for you on Google? Ever pissed anyone off, ever? Facebook take no responsibility for groups that in the real world would be defamatory. It could easily happen to you.
[5] Drama. Your friend who said they were sick was really out partying last night. You saw the Facebook photos! Some serious drama is about to go down!
[6] Unless you manually change your privacy settings anyone searching for you on Google sees your photo and a sample of your friends, as well as groups you belong to. Easy to reconstruct your networks and habits from even this basic info.
[7] Facebook is uber consumerist. Why would I want to be a Fan of Starbucks? Isnt it enough I spend my money there?
[8] Open network. You can see anyone’s (well, non-private) Facebook. If you can look at someone’s Facebook and judge how lame they are, people can do the same to you.
[9] It's made people lazy. If you're not on Facebook they don't email you so often. They post photos you can't see on their profiles. Most FB users only communicate with friends through Facebook. Why let a third party filter or change the way you interact with your friends?
[10] Etiquette. There are some intense rules of Facebook. It is offensive if you un-friend someone or delete photos of you two. Considering that everyone else is on Facebook a million times a day, if you don’t respond to someone’s post right away, you may come off badly without even meaning to.
[11] False friendships. “Hey man, let’s hang out later” – B. “Yeah, I’ll call you!”-A. These meaningless wall posts will never come to fruition; it’s just a way of sadly attempting to keep in touch with former acquaintances.
[12] It seems that everyone in your former High School has joined and became friends, Only to relive High School all over again. Twenty years later. The snubbing still continues.....
[13] The end of privacy. What type of world do we live in where every action we do is documented for everyone to see? I don’t want people to see whom I have friended, who has posted on my wall, or the worst of the worst: whom I have ended a relationship with.
[14] Trouble with authorities. Take those same pictures of you in the toga. Now not only have your friends seen them, so has your fraternity/sorority, future employer, and maybe, somehow, your parents. That’s just a nightmare waiting to happen.
[15] Embarrassing moments. OK. It’s Friday night, you’ve had a few drinks, and the next thing you know, you are waking up Saturday morning to photos of yourself in a toga, passed out on your friend’s couch with drool dripping from the corner of your mouth. You can un-tag those puppies, but everyone has already seen them.
[16] The fact it has become suddenly compulsory for the entire world. Peer pressure from cyber sheep.
[17] Facebook is uber conformist
[18] Facebook is narcissistic. So you ate a ham sandwich? Do I need to know this?
[19] Data ownership issues.
[20] The presence of (so far) British intelligence groups monitoring FB activity.
[21] It makes users sound stupid. "Edith is eating the wonderful pot roast her gorgeous husband made for her". "Jon just finished pumping iron."
[22] The world is going to hell in a handbasket and whole generations spend their time sending each other virtual cocktails.
[23] Getting SPAM FRIEND requests from people trying to sell books or seminars like this one I got today: "Debt-Consolidation By-Michael Clifford added you as a friend on Facebook. We need to confirm that you know Debt-Consolidation in order for you to be friends on Facebook."
[24] No way to contact Facebook about SPAM FRIEND requests - in fact no easy way to contact Facebook at all.
[25] Farmville and other online games played by your friends. Bad enough these are a waste of time (aren't these people supposed to be working?) but they ask you to join in so they can accumulate "coins" or whatever. Plus, your feed gets clogged up with these simpering messages such as "Joe just found a lost cow on his farm! Help Joe find a new home for his lost cow!"
[26] Odd "Applications" that disguise themselves as Facebook features: I received an invite to join "Friend for life" (Friend being singular, "Friends for Life" is a legitimate Facebook group) and clicked on "see image uploaded by your friend". Not only did I not see an image, a pop-up appears telling me that I just gave all my personal information to the "Friend for life" application. The "Friend for Life" Facebook page has no information as to what the application is about, or why, or what it does. I can find nothing on Google about it. It seems to be nothing more than an information harvesting worm.
[27] Lack of Compelling Reason to Visit Site: Once the novelty has worn off, you start to lose interest in what your friends are eating or doing on a daily basis. Other than a nice place to upload photos for free (and store them in albums), unless you are one of those young people who needs to be "connected" electronically all the time, there is little compelling content.
[28] Embarrassing Comments left by "friends": I have a friend who thinks sarcasm is the highest form of humor. They think they are the next Don Rickles. I can tolerate that, but when they make these comments on my wall, or worse yet, on my photos, my other friends don't get the joke. I delete the sarcastic comments, and my friend "unfriends" me. It is too easy for people to misunderstand each other when communicating in brief text sentences - even with emoticons. ;)
[29] Difficult Navigation and Help Screens: The navigation is often difficult. Want to see if you have any "friend requests"? Well don't click on the "Friend" icon, as pending Friend requests is not one of the subcategories. Want "help"? Type in a question and pick one of the 20 irrelevant answers given.
[30] Misleading Advertisement for Applications masquerading as Facebook Features: The right hand column of my screen shows Applications that appear to be Facebook features. Only in tiny print does it say "advertisement". Deceptive.
[31] Just Another Method of Selling Eyeballs to Advertisers.
[32] Profile Pictures that show half a face: For some reason, people put up profile pictures that cut off their mouths or one eye. Quite odd, and disturbing. Everyone wants to be a rock star.
[33] Cause for divorce and quarrels in couples. Many times I had quarrel with my boyfriend because he added girls having fake names and those girls sent him awful messages.
[34] False Profiles and Fake names. I found more than 10 profiles for the same celebrity.
[35] Most of the groups created are crap! Example "I hate men".
[36] Don't you just hate it when someone who barely knows you wants to "friend" you (like its a verb!) and you find they have 2,500 friends and you are really just a sort of trophy.
[37] Actually come to think of it, with the one above, they are probably the safe ones because they will forget you soon
[38] Often offensive "targeted advertising" I'm female and in a steady relationship so I must be "planning a wedding?" or "Trying for a baby?" No! Piss off!
[39] Its COMPLETELY pointless. what is the point? find lost friends,,, erm, why did you lose them??? , kill time? get a life, a real one, throw in a boy/girlfriend as well.
[40] Non-Target Audiences See the Same Content: With more 'friends' comes more responsibility in what you post. Just as mom will read that you "got super hammered last night," your bowling buddies will see your auntie telling you to "be safe sweetie" in a status comment.
[41] Lazy Birthday Wishes. Do you really want a machine to remind your friends that it's your birthday? Wouldn't you rather know who finds you significant enough that they would remember your brithday on your own? And what is the point of a bunch of public birthday greetings (or any greetings, for that matter) on your "wall"?
[42] Loss of Creativity. Random phrases (e.g. "Finding out there's no toilet paper after it's too late") are "liked" by people on FB. What the? Can't we as a society think of our own creative statements and jokes? And WHO needs to know that you like the statement anyway? Why can't you just tell people in REAL life about it, and that way you can actually see the person's reaction?
[43] Makes your life seem crap. Judging my their photos everyone else seems to be having a lot more fun.
[44] Everyone is watching everyone.
[45] Facebook newsfeed is like a noisy hangout. 300 odd people randomly expressing their thoughts, opinions and activities. HELLO! Can I hear myself think?
[46] The useful info gained from other peoples' statuses comes at a high cost: sifting through the junk posted by others. Just reading your newsfeed can change your mood drastically because anyone posts anything anytime.
[47] Attention seeking. "I need a hug"- Umm ok, I'll pretend I didn't see that. I need one too. "27 days left..." Umm till what? You're dying to tell us but you wannabe asked first. "Hung out with my girls, watched new movie. Got surprise call from mum. What an amazing weekend. I love my life" cool stuff but can you like keep it to yourself.
[48] The WALL. Why should my conversations be public. So others can read and enjoy? know what I did and where I'm going? Ii wouldn't want Joe Smith from third grade to know where I'm going next weekend.
[49] Text Notifications. For Anyone who was stupid enough to opt into this service the excitment of getting a text just to find out that someone has pokd you or messaged you...oh great i thought someone real actually wanted to talk to me its almost as annoying as woo i got a text...ah damn it low battery... grrr
[50] Email Spam. I get emails from people I don't know who probably don't know me wanting to be my friend.
[51] Why reward a company run by a guy who has little regard for ethics or what users really want?
[52] FB seems to revolve more around competition, numbers, indirect communication, and less on comraderie and any substance. (How many friend you can acquire, real or not, wittiest posts and status update, most pics, etc.) I don't know about you, but real friendship=lack of competition + sincerity+substance+ sometimes inconvenience and sacrifice.
[53] Greed. Facebook is now valued at 50 billion thanks to Goldman Sachs, despite the fact that their revenue is only 2 billion per year and their profits are negligible on top of that. Goldman wants to tell everyone how valuable Facebook is so they can sell shares at that ridiculous price. Leave Facebook and show these investors just how valuable it really is.
[54] Public Pain is humiliating. Life happens. And as it does, all of your ex's, their ex's and family & friends, who you have added to be nice, are watching, commenting, and asking about your personal problems. It's like that bad dream where you forgot and wore your jammies to work or school, only it isn't a dream, it's FACEBOOK !
[55] Scroll to the bottom of this page, click on 'reasons to use facebook' and try to find 1 good reason. There are none.