Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Quit Facebook Day. Who Won? Who Lost?

So the day to quit Facebook has come and gone. From reports, some 31,000 people stated they have had enough with, as PCWorld described it, the cavalier attitude Facebook has taken with privacy. In fact, PCWorld lauds those who took up the challenge and deleted their account. I know they didn't do it right away, it takes a week for that to happen. Still, 30-31,000 people said they had enough of it all and have left. I posted the video of Leo Laporte quitting, since as one of the early adopters and as the head TWIT, he has a very strong following amongst the Tech Community. Before I go too far on that tack, I should remind you he at one time quit Twitter, but now is back. Although I believe it had more to do with the name rather then any problems he may have had with the service.

The "Quit Facebook" did garner a fair bit of publicity and interest. Most did wonder what the big deal was all about, and in some regards those who wondered have a point. For those who were going on about privacy a question had to be, but Facebook is all about sharing, not keeping. It's about posting, not privacy. Of course, the real issue is not about sharing, but rather what permission do we give Facebook with our information.

There were some who questioned and cautioned the stand of leaving Facebook. Amber MacArthur, who co-hosts a show with Leo Laporte, expressed her view and stated she has no interest in leaveing Facebook. Her article in the Globe and Mail gave the 5 Top Reasons not to Leave.

This leads me to the title of the Blog, who won, who lost. My suggestions.

The Winners, the Quit Facebook group. Considering how small their numbers were in comparison to the number of people on Facebook, they got the attention of the Big Company. You would think 31,000 out of 450000000 is a very small tempest in a teapot, but still they got Facebook to notice them. As well, they got Facebook to do some dumb things, such as remove all posts that contained links to their group, or anything that would help a person leave Facebook. They got the attention of the Mainstream Media which helped their cause immensely. They got the message of the issue of privacy before people.

The Winners, Facebook. They weathered the storm. The number that left is very small. One article stated almost a million Canadians joined Facebook in the month of May alone. While it did serve as a wake-up call for Facebook not to be so quick and easy with privacy, they must feel good that ultimately, the call to quit was ignored by the vast majority. People didn't seem to want to quit after all.

The Losers: the "Quit Facebook" group. At one time it was reported that approximately 60% of Facebook users planned to quit. If you look at the graph, only 46% were either highly likely or already had quit. If you just consider those numbers, it would mean 207,000,000 were going to pull the plug on their account or had done so. 31,000 is a far cry from that number. So it could be said the quit group suffered from slacktivism. It's a common problem that exists in the day of social networking, people get angry over an issue, they sign up, sign off and promise to get involved. However when the time comes, a very small minority actually get involved. The rest see their involvement begin and end by joining the group.

The Losers: Facebook. There is now a vocal minority that are not impressed with anything Facebook does or will do. They lost some trust and while it meant to almost nothing now, it could easily grow. Chris Crum made this question in his article:
Could Facebook become MySpace? Sure, it could, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon. It's going to take more than privacy concerns. It's going to take another service simply being "cooler". For now, Facebook is still "where it's at," and it will continue to be important for the foreseeable future.

Excellent question, could Facebook be the next MySpace? Remember when it was the totally cool place to be? Now, where is it? It still exists but what. Now there are groups interested in toppling Facebook. They want to have an open source social network, where ease and privacy are both the strong points. Right now, its a dream, but what if it comes true.

I think a question has to be asked, how many of those hundreds of millions are active now? How many were influenced to stop using Facebook. Perhaps they won't go through the trouble of deleting and cancelling their account, but they will simply never bother going back to the site. Their account is a dead account and is just nothing more then deadwood.

It's going to be an interesting few years. The real hope is Facebook was sufficiently humbled that it will be more aware of concerns from its stakeholders and not be so quick to abuse us.

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