Friday, September 23, 2011

Facebook wants your entire life

I have played with Timeline for a few hours and I have to admit: it is great. You can see all the posts you made (they call them "stories" now ;-), the picture you posted (storied?), what others have posted tagging you and so on. It is great looking, and you can choose what you want to hide, because it is your public profile (although people will see just the things you want them to see).

It goes back to the day you signed up on Facebook. Surprised? You thought they would throw away all that gold, didn't you? Nope ;-)

Actually, it goes back one step more. To your birthdate.

Yes, they added a little space to fill up the info you did not yet put on Facebook. The picture of your birth, your graduation, your wedding...

Your life.

Facebook wants your entire life on their site.

It is not surprising to me. We are in the same space. We call it Personal Cloud. It is where you store your life. Where you record what you did. It is the modern version of your photo book, just a lot more interactive (and with comments of other people embedded).

What Facebook wants you to do is to start uploading personal stuff. Things that are private. That you are not going to share with anyone. Have you noticed you now can post a story visible to "Only me"?

Actually, they want you to upload everything. Better if you share (it increases engagement on the site), but it is ok if you do not. As long as you upload everything.

A site that has your entire life is the stickiest thing you will ever touch. It will own you. You will not be able to leave it. Right now, people are leaving Facebook. If it is just "social", it might pass. If it is your life, it is going to stay. Facebook is you. You are Facebook.

My problem with this idea is trust.

I read an article this morning. It went like this:
“You can really put a lot more of your life into Facebook,” says Dave Morin. And all of that is information that Facebook will store and potentially make use of. “Our primary business model and it always will be, is advertising,”
Clever move by the writer to put together in a paragraph "your life" and "advertising" :-)

It highlights my problem with Facebook. I am all in favor of a place where to store my entire life. I need it, my digital life is out of control, I need to take charge of it. However, I want to put my life in the hands of someone I trust.

That someone is not Facebook. It can't be Facebook. Nothing to do with their ethics. It has to do with their business model. They make money on my data. My life. I cannot trust them. Period.

Still, I am going to use Timeline. For my public stuff. My private life will go somewhere else.