Subtitle: Why am I working to make other people money. The ongoing Facebook crisis.
There is an old joke about how to boil a frog. The issue of the privacy changes and future intentions of Facebook could be considered a similar quandary. Many have focused on the privacy issues as the reason to quit a service that isn’t meeting your expectations. I recently responded to CogDog’s post on why to quit Facebook. I think there is a much more fundamental question to ask, before you even worry about the privacy implications, why am I spending my time making Mark Zuckerberg money.
David Sparks notes on the utility of Facebook comes a little closer to my idea. He just wasn’t getting anything out of it that he felt was important. For many of us, Facebook does give us something useful. But, This isn’t like shopping at the grocery store where you always can check both the prices and the labels. In this case the price is ‘free’ and its very hard to decide if you are getting value. Let’s be clear, you are giving up information of value that is being sold for cash and that (minus overhead) is providing the service. At current estimates of Facebook’s value you are worth about $35. And every person you attract to Facebook by the fact you are there is another $35.
Frankly it would be easier if they just billed me.
If this was a straight exchange of cash you could make a clear cut decision. instead you are know left to question what is being taken from you and where it is being passed around. Trying to understand the business model of those that provide these ‘free’ services to see if they are worthy of trust. That is a lot of complexity for a fairly simple transaction. Especially when you could have all the blogs, email accounts, messaging services, and content management systems from any reasonable hosting provider for about $100/yr or less. Most of those packages would be enough to do your whole family – All of a sudden $35 doesn’t sound so good.
From one of my favorite shows, one character is talking about going to a bar where you get half price drinks if you wear something blue. The response is:
“I earn a good living, I like to wear whatever I want and pay full price” – Casey McCall on Sports Night
That’s kinda how I feel.