06 June 2010

Tech Based Bullies 2 - I Know Who You Are!

As a follow on from my piece yesterday on Technology Bullies, I want to have a stab at others who influence our lives and while purporting to be the underdog and our friend - in reality is that they are anything but...

The reasons for this are not always malevolent but that to me is no excuse. If you have a role in the world you must be straightforward and upfront about it. This means that you have a responsibility to fulfill your obligations of trust.

And so it must be with Facebook. If there was a company who has betrayed its core constituency - College Kids - it is Facebook.

I had a chat to some 2010 Graduates this past weekend. There were quite a few of them and while it was a social occasion the topic of Facebook was clearly one that animated them. There were a lot of Grad Parents in the group and the differences of opinion between the two sets - Parents and Grads was quite interesting. It does somewhat bear out the research I have previously published on the subject recently.

The parents were more concerned about the abuse of privacy as a distinct item. The Grads were bemoaning that for them the "there is no viable alternative" to the (evil - my word) Facebook. They needed Facebook because they depended on it for many things. The obvious thing was their social networks were anchored in FB. Yet one interesting issue emerged. The confederacy of the Grads to help themselves particular in getting jobs was highly dependent on their relationships and the tool for that was Facebook. With jobs for Grads a perennial problem this year - while better than last year - its still not great. But this lot of millenials who I have been associated with for a long time as a parent has always been a very caring lot. They are hardly selfish and are quite focused on helping others - particular their peers who have been less fortunate.

Frankly I was appalled at specific examples of how free and loose the new privacy (or lack thereof) tools and commercial motivations behind Facebook made the Grads feel betrayed by Facebook in abusing their trust and not protecting things such as privacy that they hold dear. As we all do. Several handy dandy smartphones and laptops were pulled out to illustrate the point.

Everyone agreed that the aggregate - "they try to do good" - was clearly not adequate for neither Grads nor their parents.

If I was working on University Drive in Palo Alto - this would be something that I should be paying attention to as opposed to paying lip service to.


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