Dear Facebook: Why did you betray us?

Dear Facebook,

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,


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8 thoughts on “Dear Facebook: Why did you betray us?

  1. So sad, so sad…but since I am one of those Johnny-come-lately folks, I cannot share in your feelings, although I can empathize with you for having them.

  2. Also, checking out your FB account is one way I can keep up with what you are doing without hounding you on the phone or by e mail.

    • Granted, Mom, and I guess my point is that’s what it should be used for, not for employers or potential employers to dig into your personal life. My point is that as long as you are not having issues at work relating to your personal life, then what you do with your personal life should not matter to your employer. And if you’re the kind who likes to, say, put funny pictures of the way you act when you’re drunk on Facebook, that should not make you undesirable at work unless you always show up the next day with an obvious hangover.

  3. Wow Ando…again like Debra said, I too am one of those late-comers to FB…I remember you trying to get me on when it was only college peepz allowed. Then it all changed…and you are correct. Now there is precious little separating Facebook from Myspace. Facebook is slightly cleaner, but is still starting to fill up with the same old trash. They need some sort of EPIC process to verify identity, but that would be difficult to force on the public at large.

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  5. I must agree with Debra…I’m late to the Facebook game but do remember that MySpace had a short shelf life. Your post is insightful…great display of social network history. I must disagree with your comment on Facebook taking some of the responsiblity for the lost of jobs due to responsible users. After all Facebook does provide privacy options to all users. QUESION: Do you think users are confusing Facebook and other social networks with their 15 minutes of fame?

    • I said what I did about Facebook taking some of the blame because if they had not tried to combine social networking among friends with professional networking, then people who might be good workers with a penchant for partying when not at work might not have lost jobs (or been passed over for jobs) for “unprofessional conduct”. I think as long as a person is able to maintain their professionalism at work, they should not have to hide their social life just because their boss is watching them on FB. Stay tuned for my next post which will almost be a part 2 to this one, which will address my caveat there.

      To answer the question you asked, I do think people have gotten inflated opinions of themselves because of FB, yes. 15 minutes of fame does not mean having 300 friends or 1,000,000 fans on FB.

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