I remember when Classmates.com was the latest way to get in touch with folks from back in the day, only it was fairly stringent in what kinds of communication could be exchanged since you were paying to use the site and they wanted to keep you using the site. It’s pretty much obsolete now. Then came MySpace, which opened the door to social networking around the world and for a site like Facebook to be born. Everything I liked about MySpace is essentially gone with their recent redesign, so that leaves Facebook. Yes, it’s the better of the bunch. Yes, it’s connected millions and millions of people and changed how we spend hours of our day, but does it mean its creator is worthy of Man of the Year?
Maybe some of this wouldn’t have bothered users so much had they been able to find a clear way to contact Facebook and work through the problems, but that was nearly impossible, too. Perception is everything and the perception was that Facebook didn’t want to be bothered with our issues. Advertisers made good use of the changes and continue to make good use of our information, which translates into dollars for both them and for Facebook. Honestly, and this is just my opinion, it doesn’t strike me as an issue of greed on Facebook’s part as much as it does a lack of experience or foresight. Still, the issues are there and it’s unlikely we’ve seen the end of them.
Facebook has also had its share of censorship issues. A former local author, Frank Anthony Polito, had a page for his comedy/drama novel removed for the sole reason of one of the words in the title. There was no research done to see if the book was actually offensive or how it related to the story, but it was suddenly gone. Frank tried several times to contact Facebook and it wasn’t until his story was picked up by the media that it was finally restored. His is not an isolated incident either.
Perhaps if Facebook had been more transparent about its shortcomings and made strides to make its users feel they were a little more important, all under the prominent direction of Mark Zuckerberg, I could see him being made Man of the Year. Unfortunately, I can’t and there were certainly more deserving names on that list.