Really? Is Leaving Facebook The Answer?

Today Mashable revealed results from a survey they took of their readers on the reasons why they would be leaving Facebook. Really? Out of the 5,186 votes, there was less than a one percent difference between the top two responses, “I like Facebook. I’m staying,” and “I don’t trust it with my personal information.”

Really? I mean are people really leaving Facebook because they don’t trust it, or is it more that they don’t understand exactly how to change their settings so their info isn’t so integrated? Is it because they feel Facebook is using their information as currency or because they feel Facebook didn’t do right by them with this new string of web integration?

Obviously in an era where identity theft is popular crime and fear, personal information naturally feels like it needs to be held under a bigger lock and key. However, for the past five years privacy advocates and the majority of Facebook users where perfectly happy with the social network that is large enough to be the fifth largest nation in the world. Facebook has grown to it’s current dominance because of people’s perception of the company and it’s value proposition. Think about how much time your friends (or even you) have spent over the past five years developing your network and profile. If your time had a value attached to it, how much would you be throwing out the window if you abandoned your Facebook account?

In 2009 Nucleus Research found in the US over half of office employees access social networks while at work, resulting in a 1.5 percent lost in overall productivity. The BBC reported that the results of a 2007 British-based survey showed that UK employers were collectively loosing 130 million pounds per day. If you conduct any professional networking through a personal Facebook account, can your employer afford to let you simply opt out? With such an investment of time and money at stake, could it possibly be more beneficial to you professionally to take the time to learn how to adjust your profile settings?

The other argument has the egg on Facebook’s face. I know it is impossible to roll out a product or feature set with 100 percent satisfaction amongst your customers, but what about usability? I wont believe anyone who says that the first iteration of the new privacy settings was easy to access or easy to understand what each setting is exactly controlling. It’s my opinion that Facebook could have saved millions in PR and accounts by simply giving users a clear and concise task flow of how to get their settings back to how they were previously. Or, even better, not changing anyone’s settings and provide deeper, more transparent description as to what the new features and settings exactly are, and if you like the idea of a fully integrated web experience, here are the steps you can take to get it.

To Facebook,

Please don’t ever loose sight again of who has made you popular, rich, and innovative. No, it’s not your hired talent or your founder. It’s me. It’s my friends. It’s your customers. If you want to increase the possibility of MySpace making a come back, continue doing things the way you’ve been doing things.

To Facebook User,

I understand that Facebook has scarred the living crap out of you with it’s new iteration of privacy, but when your friend gossips about what you did last Friday night with the girl from the club, do you simply walk away? No. You’ve invested too much time, energy and capital in to the relationship. Plus, your friend has given you more good times than bad. Is not Facebook like that friend? Severing those ties might be the easy option, but with a little effort you could be pleasantly surprised with how things could be like old times.

Resources:

http://mashable.com/2010/05/25/facebook-quit-survey-results/

http://www.managers.org.uk/news/workforce-productivity-undermined-facebook-games

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6989100.stm

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