After my ‘Focus’ post I would like to dive a little bit deeper into the one topic that did motivated me to a far more radical move than initially planned. My initial intention regarding my facebook, instagram, and so on accounts was to just leave them, so anyone who would like to, could contact me thereby. But I found, that this was very unprobable or could be prevented by providing aforehanded some info.
I never was an avid user of Twitter, facebook or instagram. And this is not about my personal usage, nor do I blame a platform on how well I use it or not.
Profit – Respect
So why does an rather average user of these two kings of the social media hill leave or attempt to leave both entirely, when they are just about everywhere on my OS X and iOS devices?
Simply put, it is a matter of what a service does with my data and how they treat one.
In recent times, Twitter changed their attitude towards the previously very welcome client developers, I am one of them, though a mere flea among giants, still one feels unwelcome, despite the effort placed into their service and making reusable code for other users.
Next step was the afterwards partly but only halfheartedly withdrawn ToS of instagram. Demanding the right to sell my handful of photos, when I just thought I might use more of instagram as my major photo service for posting them to app.net and my wordpress blog and maybe facebook.
Not that I expected my content would be of much profit for them, but again I felt disrespect on the trust I gave to make them great, at least I was one of those multi millions that made instagram be ‘worth’ one billion, phantastillion, whatever.
Well I decided to change from instagram to 500px or so and was still toying around with it, when the next two blows came.
For quite a while it was known, that content providers would have to pay facebook to reach all the followers. I could see, how my facebook timelime showed some ads and ‘someone liked this’ posts stick rather prominently on top places, where I missed content from other pages I would have loved to hear from. Reading here I felt this itch of disrespect again. facebook was not ‘worth’ multibillion dollars due to their great invetions, industrial production, or content but by the community members who provided the actual content. And now I did not get that content, though I had clicked ‘follow’, not ‘show me, as facebook sees convenient’. facebook takes all but does not give all for this.
Still I was patient, did keep my facebook account only for its functionality of a giant adressbook, for sentimental reasons.
But then I read how facebook tested a feature to sell access to everyone’s inbox, disregarding my ackowledged contact or not, and calculating the prices according the popularity. Not that my account would be of much value expressed in dollars, but in respect for me.
Trespassing the Line Between Over-Ambition and Disgusting Greed
And this method of making profit by preventing mass information, that was not considered as spam but actively opted in on the one hand and opening a sniper’s precision spam potentially never opted in for for money was too much.
facebook treats its content providers and their consumers as bloody cattle and not with the due respect to those who made the company’s stellar growth actually possible. Ads do not sell well to a handful of unhappy people if they do not have something that keeps them reading, watching, chatting, sharing.
facebook did not create that, what made the people come, facebook is only the logistical service behind this, to bring content, people as an advertising audience and the advertizer together.
The Fragile Screen Between User and Advertiser
I do very much differentiate between what for example Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple do and what facebook does on the other side.
Of course it is information about myself that is provided to the actual customers, those who place an advertisment. But I still keep a little amount of trust that Google and Co. show the one who advertizes does only a statistical, mostly anonymous abstract of me, a user who uses, searches, but not my name that creates my market value they get their money for.
facebook razed that little screen between me as a content provider and consumer, a user and the actual customer of them who wants to show me his advertisement. And that is a step too close and to greedy.
Google and Co. provide a high level service, with search engines, maps, routing, public books, development platforms, programming languages, and much more. That is value for me (of course it again provides much information about me), that I get from the ad-transporter directly. And it is worth a lot. facebook does not do this at all.
All these data give for example Google a worth by itself, their maps or search engine technology and infrastructure would still exist without advertisments. Though the business model would collapse and thereby the ability to provide these services. But maybe users would be willing to pay for that experience.