In a nutshell, very well, thank you very much. And actually, the changes I’ve made go somewhat deeper than I had initially envisaged.
Shortly after I wrote that post, Facebook began to really lay on the changes, much more than the ones that had irked me in the first place. Those changes were merely the first pieces of a major overhaul to re-envision no only how the site works, but how it interacts with and streams information about its users. The term used during Facebook’s f8 developers conference is frictionless sharing. In plain English, what that means is that so long as you are logged in, have enabled Facebook Platform, Facebook will “share” a lot of what you’re doing without your direct input.
Watching a movie on Netflix? Facebook will automatically share that in your timeline. Listening to music on any one of the services with Platform integration? It will share that too.
If you have “Check In” and location services enabled on your phone, it will start showing the places you shop, as you walk into the store, without you having to go through the worry and bother of actually doing anything.
Depending on your point of view, this is either really convenient, or among the creepiest damn things any web service has done. Ever.
Now, they do offer ways of controlling how and what is shared, but like so many other privacy options on Facebook, it’s on an opt-out basis. Many of these services will be automatically enabled by default, and you’ll have to wade through a matrix of options to figure out how to turn them off. To heck with that. I just turned off all platform apps, logged out of Facebook, and forgot about the whole thing. Life’s too short to waste time managing my Facebook privacy settings.
But then I got to thinking about the breathtaking gall it takes to imagine it’s OK to track, record, and then display for the world to see all of that information… And it motivated me to log back in. Specifically, I logged back in so I could go and delete the majority of my history on the site, post by post, picture by picture. Facebook is now a repository of links back to this blog, the blog of a friend or two, and a couple of posts with interesting threads I found amusing – I’ll copy those, archive them, and delete them off Facebook as well, at some future time.
And now that’s what Facebook will be to me. A place to spam links back to posts here. Probably, that’s all I’m going to use Google+ for as well. From time to time, I might use the services to get in touch with a few people, but rarely. Most people I actually want to be in contact with, I already have their phone number or email. I’m stunningly non-sentimental about looking people up from “back in the day” kind of thing.
And have I been spending more one-on-one time with actual real people as a result of this? I’m not sure. My social calendar has been a bit busier the past couple of weeks, but that could just be a coincidence. Either way, I don’t really care. What it comes down to is that Facebook is a shitty way to communicate with others and share my thoughts, and I’m not interested in playing along anymore.