Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Tuesday December 18 2007

Some while ago I asked about Facebook, here or somewhere - yes, here - and whether it was any use.  Well, now I’m hearing a buzz to the effect that it isn’t any use.  Adriana told me the other night that Facebook would do nothing for me that blogging doesn’t already do for me better.  She used the word “silo”, to mean, I think, some kind of big vat closed off from reality.  And now, at this blog (very belatedly added to my blogroll – sorry for the delay Mr Q – I kept meaning to do it and kept not doing it), I encounter this, which includes the phrase “walled garden”, which I take to mean much the same as silo:

Facebook is no paragon of virtue. It bears the hallmarks of the kind of pump-and-dump service that sees us as sticky, monetizable eyeballs in need of pimping. The clue is in the steady stream of emails you get from Facebook: “So-and-so has sent you a message.” Yeah, what is it? Facebook isn’t telling — you have to visit Facebook to find out, generate a banner impression, and read and write your messages using the halt-and-lame Facebook interface, which lags even end-of-lifed email clients like Eudora for composing, reading, filtering, archiving and searching. Emails from Facebook aren’t helpful messages, they’re eyeball bait, intended to send you off to the Facebook site, only to discover that Fred wrote “Hi again!” on your “wall.” Like other “social” apps (cough eVite cough), Facebook has all the social graces of a nose-picking, hyperactive six-year-old, standing at the threshold of your attention and chanting, “I know something, I know something, I know something, won’t tell you what it is!”

If there was any doubt about Facebook’s lack of qualification to displace the Internet with a benevolent dictatorship/walled garden, it was removed when Facebook unveiled its new advertising campaign. Now, Facebook will allow its advertisers use the profile pictures of Facebook users to advertise their products, without permission or compensation. Even if you’re the kind of person who likes the sound of a benevolent dictatorship this clearly isn’t one.

Which doesn’t sound like anything I want, does it?  And he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, and not just sour graping about something he’s too scared or too old to try.

You can read the whole article, by Cory Doctorow, here.