danah boyd continues the conversation. danah (she doesn’t capitalize her name) is one of our industry’s top researchers about social software.
Actually now that Milan (our new son) is coming I’m finding myself a lot more in her camp than previously.
Maryam doesn’t want Milan to become a public object. She doesn’t want to see his photo taken onto some gossip or hater site and turned into a Kathy Sierra-style caricature. She keeps telling me to keep his photo only on sites where we can lock out anyone but our close personal friends and family.
It’s why I want per-item privacy that’s easy to figure out and easy to set. Facebook doesn’t have it. That’s one of the reasons why I am getting so much heat from around the blogosphere for “letting anyone in.”
Another case study? One of my friends caught his teenage son having a party because his son posted some pictures of that party to his Facebook page. Let’s just say that “dad” isn’t allowed into his Facebook profile anymore. This is yet another example of the problems that Facebook users are facing. Forget the fact that many of you believe that parents should have transparency into their kids lives. This was a case where a kid put some content up that he didn’t want someone else to find yet they did. Same thing as an employer finding a photo of you doing something that they would find to be a fireable offense.
There is going to be a lot of tension about Facebook until it adds much better privacy controls. Some things deserve to be open to the public (and to Google). Glad to see Facebook is recognizing that. But other things should only be kept for close personal friends. I wish I could set Facebook stuff to be shared with the audience I want to share that media with (whether or not I usually want to make my stuff totally public).
Personally, Facebook would do a lot better to listen to danah than to listen to the tech geeks like me who want more publicly-available features on Facebook.
There are a lot more people in the world who are like my wife and who want to keep things hidden than there are like me who want to have publicly-available resources.
I really wish there were a service that serves both our needs, though.
I look at the new Moveable Type and it does just this. So does Flickr.
But we don’t have a social graph that lets us really control it.
Until we have a really controllable social graph, we have “precious.” (danah’s new moniker for Facebook).
One other thing that bugs me about Facebook? The messaging (Facebook’s answer for email). I can’t forward messages. I can’t add people to a conversation there. I can’t BCC anyone. And there’s a LOT more that’s missing there. More and more people are going to get mad about the messaging system built into Facebook. But that’s a separate conversation from the privacy controls that danah and I are talking about here.
Thanks danah, I’d love to continue this on a stage at one of those Facebook conferences.