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25 January 2012 @ 07:54 pm
FB Timeline & G+  

Apparently Facebook is going to roll out their Timeline change as a non-negotiable upgrade (if this link is correct). That may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for me, because its entire purpose is to make your history of everything clearer to advertisers and corporations.

And Google is apparently rolling out a non-negotiable one-username-shall-rule-them-all policy across everything they own. While in theory I like the idea of not having to log in and out everywhere, in practice it’s the same thing as the Timeline.

I cannot decide if I should just suck it up and accept that this is the way of the future, or if I should try to walk away from these networks. I hate that it’s not *easy* to walk away, but as I said on Twitter yesterday, can I not have some kind of social network that doesn’t keep “improving” itself into aggravation for its users? One which more or less everyone uses, so we can still communicate? In my heart I still want/expect Livejournal to be that source, but I don’t think people are going to come flooding back to it. I don’t know. It’s really frustrating to me, though. Arghglhg.

I’m reactivating my vanity domain email addresses, though. I will mine G+ in turn and try to get all the 700+ people who’ve circled me there onto a vanity domain mailing list of some sort, so that I still have contact with people who at least in theory want to be in contact with me. And I may even have the nerve to walk away from those two social networks. *sigh*

(x-posted from the essential kit)

Alix (Tersa): Arnold--contemplative (tersa)tersa on January 25th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
I cannot decide if I should just suck it up and accept that this is the way of the future, or if I should try to walk away from these networks.

My take on it is...these are businesses. They are trying to define what their business model is by providing a product that will generate a revenue stream (somehow), and we are its "customers", even if we're not paying them for the service (since the advertisers pay them to get to us).

Walking away from them when they don't provide a service we like is the only way to register our vote that we don't like the product they're making. The only way they'll "improve" is if people don't use them.

Not that I expect LJ is going to be much better, given the article you linked to over the weekend. Their note at the end about how they're trying to compete in the social network sphere and that they care 'less' about current subscribers than getting new users worries me. I realize, from a business standpoint, that more users are better for them and that new users is the only way to do that, but my back goes up when it seems the company doesn't give a shit about whether or not they alienate the customers they already have in their effort to get more, because it generally means I'm the one getting screwed (haha). :P

Trying to take a step back and play economist...it has the same feel as the growing pains of any other new technology. Eventually, some kind of equilibrium or standard will be reached.

But, yeah. Vote with your feet is my motto.

Edited at 2012-01-25 07:27 pm (UTC)
terrioterrio on January 26th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
The thing is, we are not their customers; we -- our attention and information and potential purchases -- are the product they are selling to their advertisers.
ruford42 on January 25th, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
I'm not surprised to hear that Timeline seems to be getting rolled out as the new Facebook default. While I'm not a fan of the interface, I don't see where it's a privacy concern -- since it seems to me any scammer/spammer out to data mine FB likely had some JSON integration to keep scrolling through the older wall posts, or more likely just scraped it from the info page.

Now, with G+ -- it really just seems like the article is referring to a single sign-on which Google has been rolling out as an option for some time and I already linked my G+, Gmail, YouTube and Picasa accounts long ago so to me this actually has me hopeful we'll see better integration between these services.

However, it seems Google is finally getting with the program of allowing nicknames and pseudonyms, at least according to this post here.
T. Revst_rev on January 25th, 2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
Regarding Google's apparent change of heart, cf. http://www.jwz.org/blog/2012/01/nymwars-i-told-you-so/
The Green Knightgreen_knight on January 25th, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
So far, I've been impresded with Dreamwidth for talking to their customers and rolling out changes that make most of us say 'awesome' instead of 'argh, take it back'. LJ I keep being attached to despite so many annoying changes because I know so many people here. FB I rarely visit these days; G+ I don't have time for and don't miss it at all.
Laura Anne Gilman: meerkat mehsuricattus on January 25th, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
I am not so much worried about Facebook's new look (I've had it for a while, and it seems to have the same access as before) as I am about Google. The thought of what's in my email being linked to my Google searches being linked to Google maps is... unnerving to me, especially since they're not being clear at all about what security measures they're putting into place. I discussed it on my G+ account, and got a lot of people shrugging and saying 'so what?" so I may be in the minority but... meh.

My plan in 2012 was to pull back somewhat from the personal aspect of social media, anyway. This is just speeding the process. But it's weird when Twitter is the least offensive option (they're making their money in the sidebar, as it should be), and I wonder how long THAT will last.
T. Revst_rev on January 25th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
I've never been willing to touch Facebook with a ten foot cable, and I'm planning to migrate away from my gmail accounts.

Facebook has always been evil. Google's fall is somewhat disappointing.
Laura Anne Gilman: meerkat mehsuricattus on January 25th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
for those of us who've been fighting them on Google Books front for several years, their fall is... not surprising at all. But yes, disappointing. They seem to have learned nothing from the DoJ telling them that opt-in is the legal way to stay out of trouble...
Chrysoulachrysoula on January 25th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
It frustrates me because where I thrive turns out to be entirely a factor of 'normal (allowed) post length' and 'people who bother engaging with me'. I've never gotten traction on Twitter, or livejournal, or a blog. Wouldn't it be nice if there was an... HBOish version of a social network/information ecosystem, that you could subscribe to and they wouldn't need to worry about advertising? Although I guess that gets into a sort of haves/have-nots situation that a lot of people would find equally distasteful.
pgwfolcpgwfolc on January 26th, 2012 09:39 am (UTC)
For the record, Dreamwidth has no advertizing. The cofounder of the site wrote a long analysis of why the ad-based model just isn't the way to go. Instead, they're counting on people loving the site enough that they'll want to buy paid accounts (for the extra features and to support the site). Last I heard, they were making money doing it. If you want to try it out, accounts are free and I've got invite codes to spare.

Only problem, of course, is that the userbase is different than the one you know. In order to make it worthwhile for you, you'll have to convince your friends to join up, make new friends on DW, or both.
Chrysoulachrysoula on January 26th, 2012 06:50 pm (UTC)
I have paid for a Dreamwidth account, once upon a time! Unfortunately it's still basically the livejournal format which has never really... worked for me.
TuftEars: SCIENCE!tuftears on January 25th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
But... What if a unified Google actually works and does make life better for users? I feel distinct unhappiness with having to manage a multitude of different accounts-- banking, credit cards, shopping networks and the like.

I can see this evolving toward users basically picking which company they want to provide an artificial intelligence aide that keeps track of their online life based on what features they want and how well it fits their 'style'. There might be so many micro-sites and payments to keep track of, thanks to the net being more and more heavily integrated into everyone's day to day routine-- picture tolls being handled by a wireless handshake between your car and the blank monolith at the side of the road, heck, picture the intelligent agent driving your car for you-- that it would be hellish to try to manage without one.

I mean, just look at Siri. I think people are more comfy with an AI when it has a friendly face and voice.
Laura Anne Gilman: meerkat mehsuricattus on January 25th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
I would feel more secure with a service that I had a legal agreement with (wherein they agree to make me whole if there is a breach of security, etc) than a free service with no make-good in their ToS. Google, so far, is simply saying "oh, you can trust us..."

Not so much, me.

TuftEars: Questioningtuftears on January 25th, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
I can see that viewpoint.

If it were a paid service-- say, 'no ads on my search/email/maps/whatever unless I click "recommend me something"' and offer of indemnity should something goes wrong... hmm.

Personally I like free with ads that are smart enough to know what I'm interested in, having to pay a nominal $5/year or something for my email/microtransactions/etc. would kind of stick in my craw. Even though it would be a small price compared to the amount of commerce I carry out online, I'd want to get something more material than 'We're making your online life better!'
(Deleted comment)
kitmizkit on January 27th, 2012 01:35 pm (UTC)
I did not know that, about the business possiblity. Huh. That's interesting to consider.
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on January 25th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
which is why I dont have a Facebook account, nor Twitter, nor Gmail, I dont do my personal banking business on my phone....
Andrea Blytheblythe025 on January 25th, 2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
The Facebook thing is really pissing me off, too, and the problem is that I'm so connected to my family and friends there, so like you said, it's hard to leave.
Ellen Millionellenmillion on January 25th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
I have mixed feelings about social networking in general.

For the most part, I figure that anything I put on the Internet it totally subject to information mining, that nothing I do publicly has an iota of privacy, and making it easy for advertisers (or otherwise dealing with their asshattery) is just the price I pay for the exposure I get through their services.

Those social networking platforms that treat me well and are more fun... those are the ones I'll be actually interactive on. The others I will treat as purely business profiles and automate as far as possible.
Chrysoulachrysoula on January 25th, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
You know, it occurs to me that the social networks I've had the best experiences on are the independent ones focused on niche communities. Ravelry, for fiber arts, and Goodreads, for books. Where the advertisers are also the users of the site (for the most part) and the sites aren't constantly rejiggered to change the flow of information because the money mostly comes from the users buying and selling from each other and advertising at each other. It's interesting because the communities on both are such that they have plenty of room and support for sub-communities not based in the primary site function, and so those kinds of groups flourish there as well.
Michellemsagara on January 26th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC)
I’m just going to accept it because it’s free.

I have services for which I pay (email, off-site storage etc.) that I have higher expectations of some privacy on - but given the size of their operations, they have to make money somehow to keep their servers running, pay their programmers and researchers, etc., etc., and the time-tried way is by advertising. Since Facebook is pulling in the highest dollars per user because of the demographic information contained in your FB account by default, Google can watch all the advertising go to Facebook, or they can adjust.

But if they don’t adjust, the services I use and for which I do not pay will disappear.

If I really hate the idea, I’ll find services that will give me the same functionality - and for some, I have - but those cost money.

This does not mean that I think anyone *else* should have this attitude. But I would be perfectly happy to pay an annual fee of, say, 10.00 a month for the Google services I do use to avoid *all* advertising *ever*.
pgwfolcpgwfolc on January 26th, 2012 09:54 am (UTC)
It's funny, I'm having the exact opposite experience. I only just (within the last few weeks) broke down and joined Facebook. On the first day, I looked around, saw a friend with Timeline, and tried to get it for myself. It looked a lot prettier and more interesting than the drab and boring default UI and gave easy access to the information and media I'd be interested in seeing from a friend. Unfortunately, I hit a persistent glitch where I clicked the button to get Timeline for my account and the process just timed out. I tried with different browsers and computers, with no success.

As for the larger picture... I don't think we're going to get back to a point where one social network has everyone. I'm honestly surprised that Facebook has managed to be this popular for this long. The Internet is a place filled with more options than you can possibly explore in a lifetime. We're used to choosing the ones that suit us - the stores, the social networks, the people, the information sources, everything - and it's just as easy to use or be a part of one as any other. You can't please all the people all the time, especially not when it only takes one click for them to leave you.

The only thing that pushes back against that reality in the world of social networks is that those networks exist to bring people together. No matter your preferences for UI or whatever, you'll go where your friends/fans/whatever are. You'll move together or you'll stay. Which is why, for all that Dreamwidth offers, it still has a relatively small userbase... a problem which becomes somewhat self-perpetuating.
Larisa LaBrantLarisa LaBrant on January 26th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
Oh PLEASE, oh PLEASE, would LOVE to win one of these!
Yes, same main comment on all sites...have only had 2 cups of caffeine so far!
and Thank you! for two amazing series to re-read for years to come, and the fabulous crowd fund projects.