Gawker, under the heading “Things We Actually Like“, links to Matt McKeon’s elegant visualization of The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook. Click on the link to view, but I’ll give you a spoiler: Discretion is not a key component of Facebook’s future monetization plans.
The thing is, I am relatively old (54), asocial, and technologically challenged. Also, I picked up most of my writing and interpersonal skills in a hyperliterate subculture (sf fandom) where we learned the dangers of oversharing even in limited-membership forums with hardcopy distributions measured in double digits. Having discovered at an impressionable age that the considerable limits of twilltone and ditto technology could not protect me from knowing more than I cared to about a new acquaintance’s sexual peccadillos and/or pop-culture enthusiasms, I have never felt much impulse to join any internet-based “social technology” more advanced than Yahoo Groups.
On the other hand, Facebook seems to have crossed some sociological threshold that earlier incarnations like MySpace never approached. “Everybody” is on Facebook, because it’s assumed that sooner or later everyone will “need” Facebook. I am obviously not Mark Zuckerberg’s dream target — if I wanted to be in touch with my high school classmates I wouldn’t have avoided all those reunions, and my job skills are not the sort for which HR departments websurf — but I’m genuinely curious as to how many people here actually do consider their Facebook accounts a modern essential.
To phrase it another way: What kind of violation of trust or privacy would it take for you to give up your Facebook account?