I do have a Facebook account. I guess I have this account because people I know make heavy use of Facebook and having an account connects me with them. I spend very little time in Facebook, but I send excerpts from the content I generate elsewhere to Facebook so “Facebook only” acquaintances see this content.
Facebook initially annoyed me because of a personal bias. The phrase “digital native” and the unique qualities ascribed to those who happen to fall within this group by function of their birth date seemed elitist and simply wrong. Perhaps I was jealous of an attribution that was beyond my control. To me, Facebook became the face of the digital native. Facebook as a place where many spend great amounts of time often doing things that seemed frivolous. I did not argue the generational difference in the time spent, but I did contest the value of spending this amount of time.
I have been following issues related to user privacy on Facebook for some time. The problem of control has long been an issue with naive users failing to appreciate the longevity of inappropriate content shared online. After listening and reading about recent developments, I have additional concerns.
We drove 500+ miles last Friday and that means that Cindy and I listen to many hours of podcasts (when the Twins are not playing). We happened to listen to a TWIG program (This Week in Google – and the cloud) that got heavily into an analysis of Facebook privacy challenges AND what appears to be a strategy of collecting user data of several categories within the Facebook environment. Part of the conspiracy theory is that these two issues are inter-related; i.e., Facebook is purposefully making it difficult for users to control who can view their data in order to increase the amount of data Facebook can collect and organize.
If such issues interest you, the following resources may be helpful.
- Jeff Jarvis analysis of the issues posted to Buzz Machine
- Electronic Frontier Foundation timeline of Facebook privacy issues
- Electronic Frontier Foundation guidelines for controlling your privacy within Facebook
The issues with Facebook are evolving beyond whether instructors should friend their students or whether educational organizations should maintain a Facebook presence. I admit to distrusting consolidation, but I am trying to decide if this is something more.