THE BLOG

Facebook: Company, or BFF?

05/12/2010 06:35 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In an effort to avoid as much oil spill news as possible (unless it is the newest Super-Friends inspired attempt to cap it), I've been over reading some really bad news. One topic being the media's recent obsession with the lack of privacy on Facebook. I have to admit, I find it pretty funny how much people care.

That's not to say I don't use Facebook, because I do. Quite often. I have a page to post my article links too. I lurk friends from the past and get a glimpse into their current life. I also read the over-sharers' news feeds like it's the newest hit reality show. Basically, I use it just like everyone else. I find it to be useful for promotion and totally entertaining for the silent lurker in all of us. And it's totally free.

But private? Honestly, I don't care either way. You know when you let someone stay at your house and they always crack that "I won't poke through the drawers..." (wink, wink) joke? Well, at my house, feel free. If I died tomorrow, the weirdest thing you'd find here is a Hello Kitty vibrator from Japan still in the box, and not much else. I like to keep my shit clean. When it comes to the internets, it's the same thing. Not to say you can't get weird, it's just common knowledge Facebook is no longer the place to do it. But then again, it was free so how mad can you be?

A few things to remember here when your blood is boiling at the nerve of Mr. Zuckerberg and his uppity investors who expect returns. First, it is a business. Not only a business, but one that just had its fifth birthday. The Ford Motor Company had it's fifth birthday in 1908, AOL had theirs in 1988. Apple computers had theirs in 1982 and even though we actually pay for their products we still can't trust them to put the consumer's interests first. So why would anyone think Facebook would be any different?

Which leads us to the second fact, which is that Facebook needs to make money. And to be honest, it doesn't really seem to be the best platform to be making it. Sure they get billions of page views daily, but have you ever clicked an ad? I haven't. I actually had to go out of my way looking for them wondering where they are. I'm not envious of their position, because even though they are the worlds largest whatever they are, their users have them by the balls like a hen pecked boyfriend. Every time they make a move to make some money, the users freak out and actually influence their decisions. I get the feeling they have finally recognized if they want to make it to the 10th birthday, they have to finally stand up to the girlfriend and face the consequences.

Thirdly, Facebook isn't Craigslist. It's not owned by a rad dude who just wants to help the world be a little better during desperate times of corporate anonymity and bottom-line decision making. It's run by a guy who, though richer than all of us combined at the age of 25, still drags his butt into work. Like Apple, it's a company not driven by money, but by ego. A giant ego whose only interest is ruling everything in the category and then some. Again, like Apple, this will always eventually put the user in the back seat for the better of the complete and total digital takeover on the whole.

Lastly, they might watch your words for info on how to target you. Honestly, this doesn't bother me. If it means I get ads for bicycles and Jamaican music instead of life insurance, I'm all for it. And if they want to sell my data in a huge chunk with everyone else's, have at it. You might be looking at me as someone giving in to their draconian ways, but if you have been listening to anything hackers have been trying to say for the past 30 years, you'd know this information was given away the second you typed it, and not the week Facebook went public-ish.

Just a few things to think about when you're up in arms about who is reading your status updates. Which brings up another point; has it ever occurred to you that if you don't want the entire planet to read your brain sludge, maybe your closest 400 acquaintances shouldn't either? I hate to suggest people toning it down, because that's when it gets really good, but if you've made it this far in the story I owe you that tip. Your 400 friends think it's just as strange, if not stranger, that you're status updating about being dumped for (or by) a hooker as the rest of the world does.

In the end, it's just another dumb site that has to figure out how to pay the bills like anyone else. If their means to do so don't work with what you want out of it, maybe you should start a subscription based version? Because if you're not going to sell information or run targeted ads, that is your only hope to keep running the servers needed for a trillion people messaging "friends" and getting their eFlirt on.

Or you could just keep using it (for free) and recognize that like shows on Hulu or ABC, you have to give to get, and like Hulu (but not ABC) the give-to-get ratio seems more than fair to me. Besides, no one really cares that much about your (our my) secret Facebook bubble, not as long as the Lindsay Lohans of the world keep forgetting to wear underwear, which doesn't seem to be anytime soon