This is something that’s been bothering me for awhile, and that I continue to struggle with. How do I maintain my real life social connections and get rid of data mining services like Facebook?
I have a handful of friends whose correspondance with me is primarily through Facebook. I can’t help but wonder if I would never hear from them if I wasn’t on there. I’m even scared to admit to myself what I would do without the constant status update stream.
What makes Facebook so evil that I want to get away is simple. Facebook cleverly gets you to willingly put your demographic information on their site. Then they encourage you to connect with friends and family. Then there’s pages to become a fan of, groups to join, and before long, the data they have simply amassed includes info on where you’ve lived, what company you keep, what you like, where you shop, and they compile this and sell it to the highest bidder.
Consider this: they also know what it takes to get you to compulsively play games. This data also has value.
I can easily find information on just about anyone I meet these days with a search of Google and Facebook. Cobbling this info together, plus some other public database searches, and I’ve got a good bio on them. I do these searches out if curiosity, and don’t use the information for personal or professional gain. Even with some information obscured, Facebook leaves a bunch of information that helps missing pieces fall into place.
My best advice to myself is to drop Facebook now, and don’t look back. I want a better answer than that. I want to have my connectivity with my anonymity.
Will I lose real friends by losing Facebook? That’s the real question.