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Facebook: The spoiled child of social media


When I first joined Facebook, I knew what I wanted from the service. I was determined to keep careful control over how much personal information I fed into it. After all, my closest friends know a lot of this detail anyway; my relationship status, my date of birth, where I went to school, my employer, my tastes etc. I also could see the value in gleaning tidbits of peoples lives without having to contact them directly. This is especially valuable if you connect with relatives overseas that you rarely see or speak to, or for when you go on holiday. It can be a speedy substitute for the snail-mail postcard.

At first I felt like I had some control over what notifications I received and was comfortable with just the odd email here and there. As my tally of friends grew, it became increasingly intrusive; more notifications, more often. Facebook ideally wants you to drop everything and check out every status update about every cup of coffee, every liked product, every video of cute animal antics, every sunset, every cause, every affirmation, every fart by everyone you've every befriended. It's also prioritising what we see based on previous behaviour, connections made, and what we've viewed.

I remember an obvious turning point where FB decided to start behaving like a spoiled child, jumping up and down on the spot waving its arms furiously shouting "Notice me! Notice me!". These are the notification emails along the lines "Garry, a lot has happened since you last logged in ... " (some 3 days ago) "Notice me! Notice me!". The hair on the back of my neck prickled immediately. It didn't seems to matter how much I'd filtered down what notifications I wanted to receive. The brat was still running rampant. Since I turned off everything except the important alerts about your account being hijacked etc., I've still been pestered with the odd notification about new posts. Grrrrr. Well dear FB, I'm over it. I will decide how I use the service, and when. Even though I believe it's next to impossible to delete all previous posts, my finger is nonetheless poised. I'm wavering anxiously over the Delete key as I sit on the scales that balance value for nuisance. One more irritant will probably tip them.