A Jilted Lover: My Evolving Feelings Towards Facebook

Anyone familiar with my writing over the past two years knows I love social networks and social media. Going back further, I was an Examiner blogger (archives of that effort are buried five to seven years back on this site) before the paper even had an inkling that online was its future. In 2008, I fell in love with Facebook. I used it to to incessantly update my status - causing some real life friends to hide my updates; I used it to promote the Barack Obama campaign; to rail against Wall Street bailouts; and even to protest a Bay Area Rapid Transit congestion pricing scheme.

In January 2009, I wrote, in a post oriented towards citizen-government engagement, that Facebook "is simply the easiest platform for sharing and collaborating on matters of importance." I began leading "Citizen 2.0" trainings on social media for civic activism.

But while I was becoming more and more enamored with the site, its plans had less and less to do with me.

My next Facebook blog post was about how Twitter was a more open network, "much more of a real news feed than Facebook."

It was less than two months later that Facebook converted its status updates to a Twitter-style feed, temporarily filtering updates that included the word "Twitter," like it was a curse word. The social web was blowing up with updates about Facebook ripping off its smaller competitor, and I wrote, in a post entitled "Facebook is Evil," "Facebook is not to be trusted, though it remains a decent tool for some purposes."

I tolerated the site for more than a year after that, building up a following of more than 2,000 over the summer for my social media-fueled bid for U.S. Congress.

Since the election, I'd been using it more sparingly and not doing much thinking about Facebook at all, until April of this year, when Facebook launched plans to basically reshape the web in its own image. Its social web vision was impressive, but Facebook has always been ham-handed and immature when it comes to implementation.

I began writing that governments should be using their own social portals and content, not relying on Facebook and its advertising platform. I kept reading about Facebook's plans and many of the new content-control and privacy issues they present. Last weekend, I abruptly deleted my Facebook account.

On Monday, I realized that Facebook's new "community pages" were hijacking search terms for official government pages, including those for major federal departments. On Tuesday, I wrote about how community pages usurp the tourism pages for major cities around the world. Also Tuesday night, I answered some questions for Ari Herzog, elaborating on the end of a spirited relationship.

But I've not given up on social media as part of Gov 2.0, not hardly, and you can still find me on several blogs, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Onward and upward into the future.

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  • published this page in Blog 2010-05-19 22:49:36 -0400

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