I have always been a little hesitant to jump on the new gadget-technology bandwagon. With the newer and improved generations of gadgetry appearing every season, I have however been satisfied in keeping my old brick (i.e. ipod), computer, and UW email account for the past two years. With this as my background you probably can imagine that I was a little slow to jump into the social networking site known as facebook.
Now as a semi-devoted user of the social networking site Facebook, lso as I can definitely describe a few of the top issues I have had with the site. Although it has proven to be one of the fastest growing social networking sites with over 222 million users worldwide, it still has its flaws.
#1) THE ABSENCE OF PRIVACY – SECURITY?
One of the top issues many facebook users continually complain about is the security of information. After so many instances of identity fraud on the internet, and realizing the fear of sex predators on the net, facebook users are understandably worried for their safety. When anyone signs onto facebook, they often provide basic information about themselves, including their name, relationship status, etc. In addition to this, any information added onto their private info page is automatically available to your friends and others unless privacy settings are changed. This provides practically anyone you may or may not want to know with easy access to private information about yourself, a scary thought indeed.
Your friends are not the only one’s privy to your address and phone number. Several times I’ve been amazed at the accuracy of the ads on my facebook page. How the heck does facebook know that I may or may not be interested in the new Decemberists album, or that I want to meet young, 25 year old blonde males with a love of thai food? What you may or may not know is that facebook allows its advertisers to get a good look at ALL of your private information, including your interests and hobbies, the idea being more efficient advertising. This also means that you are effectively tagged by said advertising companies, who in turn could pass this information on to others.
Obviously the privacy issue continues to be important to a lot of people, especially the Canadians. Check out this article in August 2009 by the NetworkWorld entitled Canada Takes Lead Role in Facebook Privacy Issues
2) THE EXCESSIVE UPDATES
Another issue I’ve had to deal with are the excessive amounts of updates I can get. I recall a while back when all my friends were tagged in a photo. The subsequent comments that followed resulted in, well, practically spam. This type of information is frequently irrelevant and largely a waste of time, drawing you away from actual important social networking tools. One of my friends has over 500 friends, but does he actually spend time talking to each and every one of them? Of course not. I only have about 150 friends, but out of all of them, only about 20 I keep close tabs on. The other 120 are people I know, but can often be the instigators of spam on a social networking site. The result ends up me unfriending people, or actually hiding their updates. I know, I am kind of contradictory being on a social networking site trying while to minimize the excessive updating and perhaps the subsequent “networking” which may result.
#3) THE ADDICTION
Finally, there is the issue of time. In this ever-expanding world of technology, people are spending more and more time out of each day tuned into the latest gadget. Facebook is no exception. When people are clocking in over 6 hours of a day on facebook, they have officially ended a conventional life and entered a cyber one.