We have lost sight of the hypocrisy of our judgements in our rush to distrust and cynicism. On Litopia After Dark a few weeks ago, Joanna Nadin commented that practically everyone she met during her time as a political speech writer had gone into politics to make the world a better place. Some had forgotten it along the way but many hadn’t. The disagreements are about what ‘a better place’ looks like, and the means used to achieve it. That’s broadly been my experience too, though most of my career has been alongside local politicians rather than national ones.
I can’t say the same about global capitalists – not that I know many of them. From what I read it seems they want to improve the world only after they’ve made billions out of our needs and greeds, rather than before.
Pondering on distrust was provoked on this occasion by Zuckerberg’s revelations that Facebook always knows what you’re doing – there’s a good if techie description here. (The same guy, at http://nikcub.appspot.com/ gives great details on maximising your privacy.) He makes the excellent point that where Microsoft were on security a decade ago is where FB is today with privacy. In the deep doo-doo and messing us all around for their own profits.
This is getting near the end of the road for me on FB. Adrian Short has written an excellent article about it, and the comments are worth reading too. Every time you visit a page with an FB ‘like button’, that visit is tracked (including when you read this). FB assures us that they don’t sell those cookies, or share that data, outside the company. I find that almost impossible to believe. Besides, they may not be doing it today, but who’s to say they won’t do it tomorrow.
Wait a moment, though. Aren’t we all supposed to be building a platform, make our web presence, delivering content to web 2.0. Isn’t that the essence of social networking, aka marketing in the second decade of the twenty-first century? After all, if FB was a country, it would be the third most populous in the world (after India and China). That’s not an audience any of us can afford to ignore. Is it?
Well, yes and no. Having a very rare name, I’m pretty precious about my online presence, and always have been. I egosurf (search my own name) fairly regularly and check out what comes up. I have my business website, this blog and our sailing blog. I’m on FB and I even tweet occasionally. That’s plenty to keep up with. I like using FB with friends, and it’s been great to get back in touch with people I haven’t seen for years.
I’m not up for being a passive subject of King Zuch, though. And his country is one where I’ve only got a binary vote. Play or don’t play. I’m going to work through all the privacy suggestions, and see if I’m disciplined enough to dedicate one browser only to Facebook. At the end of that, I’ll decide whether I really need facebook on my platform. His intentions may be excellent, his marketing superb. He probably sees himself as a victim of spin. I’d even agree with him about not over-regulating the web (not least because it isn’t possible). But I don’t have to stay in his country when it starts spying on me without warning.
In the meantime, please click the ‘like’ button.