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Why Facebook didn't really change anything, and people are zombies

Calacanis wrote a rant about Facebook that causes me to question his credibility. Seriously, is he a lucky entrepreneur or just full of it half of the time? Like many "pundits" in the tech field, he tends to jump into the fray with whatever fashionable rant is the rage. These days it appears to be Facebook, probably because it's a big target. (I work for Microsoft, and I have a growing appreciation for being a big target.)

The long in-depth "articles" written by the haters and the EFF, among others, allege some ridiculous things, and Calacanis takes it one step further by implying naughty intent. It's that last part that really annoys the piss out of me. Ad hominem anecdotes about Zuckerberg hardly prove any ill intentions.

What did Facebook really do? Most importantly, they killed networks. Because people didn't understand what they were, and wanted to belong, they joined a network and by default showed all of the nonsense they posted to everyone else in that network. That's why teachers get fired for having photos of them with drinks on a cruise ship or whatever. While that in itself is pretty ridiculous, it was probably the right thing to do, since I doubt many people use Facebook for meeting new people.

The second thing they did is change the UI around setting these permissions. When I got the prompt to set them, I didn't change anything, and since I wasn't in a network, nothing changed.

Again, what really annoys me is the suggestion that Zuckerberg and his minions sit around planning how they're going to dupe people into giving up their privacy, thinking no one would be the wiser. Come on, really? Whatever you may think about the boy CEO, he's certainly not stupid. And the predictions about Facebook's ultimate demise are pretty hilarious too, because if Calacanis et al would get out of their tech bubble just for a moment, they'd see that even my 83-year-old grandfather is on there, along with the rest of my family, because that's how we track each other.

The take away is that sometimes people in our line of work get so close to technology that we fail to see the bigger picture. Don't be a pundit zombie.

Comments

Arnis L. said:

I'm glad i'm not on Facebook or any other such a site. :)

# December 15, 2009 7:10 AM

Jeff said:

That's too bad. It's a good tool for keeping in touch with people you care about.

# December 15, 2009 11:23 AM
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