Last week, the topic of Facebook's latest changes came up. I said something like, "this might push me over the edge into leaving Zuckerbergville." Someone else said, roughly, "Ha! Everyone says that, but they never quit." That's generally true - the cycle of protesting change and accepting it is shorter than ever these days - but truthfully, I'm very close to putting my money where my antisocial mouth is.
The reason might surprise you. It has nothing to do with privacy or the silly new faux-Twitter ticker. It's just this: I don't think I should work for technology. I think it should work for me. And every time Mr. Zuckerberg expands his empire, I feel like I work for it, and him, and a whole bunch of people who want to profit from tracking what I like.
I'm tired of checking my privacy settings to make sure they're where I want them every time there's an update. I don't want to spend my precious scraps of free time sorting my "friends" into groups. Even if I did, the thought of deciding what to share with which group every time I post makes me sleepy. And all of this feels like work - unpaid work.
But is it really work and is it really unpaid, you ask? Isn't it worth it if it lets you connect with people? Perhaps, but I think that's a pig in a poke. I believe that a lot of us are on Facebook only out of fear. We worry that if we're not on it, we'll miss out on a conversation, a piece of news, or the latest photos of someone's baby/dog/dinner. This is part of the genius of Facebook: It attracts and retains users in part because it taps into the primal human need to be part of a tribe.
But is fulfilling that need worth it if you're forced to readjust your profile every six months? What do you get out of the experience of scanning people's updates? What are you really accomplishing when you post something? Put another way, do you get more out of it than you put into it?
Personally, I'm undecided.