I remember when one of my roommates back in college first used this nifty little thing called a modem to dial up a service I’d never heard of before called AOL. It had chat rooms and…chat rooms, plus you could look up profiles and learn a little bit about the people in the chat rooms before the dawning of the realization people could lie about who they were. And how cool was it that you could talk to people all over the world as if having a phone conversation with them, albeit cheaper than long distance charges and with really questionable spelling and grammar?
AOL was the place to be for social networking for many years, only I’ve ignored it for some time now, even more so after they pawned their profile function off and changed it. Sorry, but if you’re going to make it user-unfriendly to this user, then my time is best spent elsewhere. And I discovered MySpace, which still has, in my opinion, the best blogging feature of the social networking sites as well as the best search engine to look for people in a certain area with specific criteria. The love affair lasted a little while until I started hearing things about Facebook.
“Oh, you’ll love Facebook! It’s so much better!” Uh, no. I didn’t see it that way right away at all. It’s grown on me, though. It’s “Notes” feature is a poor imitation of what a blog should be and search engines don’t see it, plus if I’m traveling somewhere and want to look folks up in that area, I can’t. And contacting them if there’s an issue? The trouble one has to go through for that has become almost legendary and not in the good way.
Then there are those pesky privacy issues that seem to have haunted the site since it first started gaining in popularity. It used to be that folks were paranoid about temporary internet files being stored on their computer. Why were they there? Who wanted them there? It was an X-File and we started getting rid of them. Then came the cookies! And we tried getting rid of those, only the websites we liked going to got wise to that and made it so we had to enable cookies to keep going to where we wanted.
Now we have the very social media sites…well, one in particular…we’ve come to enjoy taking our private information and bouncing it around like a ping pong ball to advertisers while talking out of the other side of their mouth saying our information is being kept private. Yes, we know you want to make a huge profit, but no, we don’t want it to be at the expense of our privacy. What does Facebook not get about this? Then again, the question could be asked why don’t we get that they really don’t care?
It does make one wonder what these shadowy advertisers are using our information for, doesn’t it? Is it another X-File? Are they really trying to provide us with products they think we need and just don’t know about yet? Why don’t they just rely on a website with well-written content that’s search engine optimized so we can find them instead?
My personal information being given an ID that’s transferred to a cookie that allows someone to watch my browsing habits leads me to believe if that’s what it takes for you to learn what I like to look at instead of just asking me, then you have a lazy research department working for you and they should all be sacked!
Believe me when I say that I’m not looking for inexpensive meds, I don’t have reproductive issues, I rarely drink pop or soda, I’m not going to invest my money with you, I don’t need my website rebuilt (hello, look who I work for! Oh, wait, you probably already know) and you’re really not going to save me money on car insurance.
I’d go so far as to suggest we start our own advertising campaign with a simple slogan: Advertisers Can Buggar Off! Only a company would probably approach me, offer to put the slogan on a product and I’d sell out for the money. I’ll stick with my website, SEO and privacy, thank you.