I’m sure you hear a lot from we users about our privacy. And I’m sure that you must sadly shake your head at some of it. Sure, I’ll go ahead and ‘fess up: we can be pretty dumb sometimes, because we obviously shouldn’t share something we don’t want someone seeing. I mean, you have to post something on the Internet for it to be seen on the Internet. But let’s be frank, FB (you don’t mind if I call you FB, do you?), you have to share a bit in the blame for some of us losing our jobs.
Back in the early days, you were a very private, bashful lover, FB, only letting us in if we could prove we were college students with a valid college E-mail. Even some of us who were students at under-the-radar colleges couldn’t manage to score an account with you. So those of us who got lucky knew that when we saw someone else, the odds were overwhelming that they were a real person, also a college student, and we could let our hair down.
There’s just something about that exclusive college-only era that was special. MySpace was just too full of high schoolers, spambots, and pervs to attract us. But not you, FB. Sweet, virginal FB was where the real people were.
It started with those high schoolers. Suddenly, we college students weren’t good enough for you. Having tasted social networking and what it was capable of, you couldn’t just let the high schoolers blog on their LiveJournals and Xangas about how they wish they could get in with you. Now you had to give them a taste.
At first, you promised us college students that we could stay separate from the high schoolers, FB. You told us that we would be two separate groups. But that didn’t last. Soon you brought the high schoolers in and merged them with us – giving them access to our friends and our groups. Your first betrayal.
Then, more and more people wanted what we were already sharing with the high schoolers, and you let in work networks and “metro” networks, and then the world. Soon enough, all you needed was any old E-mail to get a piece of you, FB. You became a whore. So many of the things that made you better than the competition started to fade away, as you focused more on how to make everyone else happy, until finally you have ceased trying to make your first loves happy.
Yes, I have graduated college now, and even if that had meant giving you up at graduation, FB, I would have done it, if I had been able to keep that original version of you throughout college. Yes, I have made friends because of you opening up – a web dev buddy in Ireland springs immediately to mind.
But there are some of us in the world who, in our college days, liked to take goofy pictures, or use rough language, or drink and have delightfully incriminating drunk pictures. And really, what’s a little embarrassment among friends? But now that our coworkers and bosses are in you, FB, and our potential employers scout us through you before interviewing us, we have to watch out for even the slightest offense like a picture of us flipping a bird at the camera.
The outside world had MySpace; the corporate world had LinkedIn; we already had microblogging with Twitter…why did you betray us? Why did you tarnish yourself with all of those other things?
Yes, for the sake of the friends I keep in contact with through you, I will keep my account with you. But you have betrayed my trust, FB, and you whored yourself out for the sake of a few extra customers and a few more bucks. Trust is a valuable commodity, and is hard to win back. I hope it was worth it, FB.
With fond memories of the good times we used to have,