Diaspora closes fundraising and the “quit facebook day” that wasn’t.

If you aren’t as nerdy as I am, and don’t read blogs like Mashable and TechCrunch you might not have heard of Diaspora(pronounced “DYE-ASS-PORE-UH” not “dee-uh-spore-uh”).  Diaspora is currently the darling of the start-up world. Having raised over $200K from “the crowd” on Kickstarter by promising a new type of social network where all your content lives on your computer and not on someone else’s server, right as the Facebook privacy debate was at a fever pitch. Initially asking for only $10 grand so they could live in NYC and code all summer they got much more than they bargained for – even getting a donation from Mark Zuckerberg himself apparently.

Around the same time that people (myself included) were forking over money to see what a pro-privacy Facebook would look like, another group of people was organizing “Quit Facebook Day.” It seemed to me that the “uproar” over Facebook privacy seemed to be more about writing articles about people outraged than actually outraging people. It was a great story but what effect did it have?

Not much at all. Approximately 33,000, or .007333%, people deleted their accounts – the equivalent of me losing .06556 friends.

So what do these two things mean? Is personal privacy the real hot topic issue that the media makes it out to be? Or is privacy something that people are willing to “sell” for something they want (facebook)? I personally am happy to let Facebook use my information to target messages to me for a couple reasons:

  1. Targeted advertising means less advertising, not more. Many people think that if Facebook sells your info to advertisers you will see more ads. Not true. If advertisers don’t know who you are, how old you are, what you like, etc they have to show you tons of ads in order to get the one you might like in front of you – but imagine if every time you saw an ad it was for something that you actually wanted? This is a reality.
  2. I can’t sell it myself. Some people take issue with Facebook making money off your personal data. I saw let ’em! What can I do with it? I can’t monetize my own personal data and sell it to advertisers and Facebook can.  Go nuts!
  3. There is no such thing as a free lunch. You all love Facebook but you won’t pay for it. Somewhere around the time Napster was imploding people started to decide that everything online should be free. Well, it’s not free. It costs A LOT of money to bring Facebook to the world. They aren’t a charity, they aren’t creating, upgrading, maintaining and improving Facebook out of the goodness of their hearts. They do something for you, you ought to pay them for it. And since no one wants to pay with dollars and cents, why not pay them in something that has no value to you?

About Ezra Englebardt
Account planner, digital nerd, marketing guru, tweeter, occasional blogger, cyclist, snowboarder, mountain biker, social media junkie and avid reader. CU-Boulder and Boston College alum. Frequent guest speaker in Boston-area universities.

2 Responses to Diaspora closes fundraising and the “quit facebook day” that wasn’t.

  1. Jason says:

    Well said! One of the greatest myths online is that everything should be free.

    Allow everyone’s favorite doctor to explain my position on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrjwaqZfjIY

    Just because you’re not reaching into your wallet, doesn’t mean you’re not trading something of value. With crowdsourcing, it’s time, and with personalization, it’s information about yourself.

    With that said, Facebook definitely overreached in a hasty, insensitive manner with its latest innovations, and it’s not the first time they’ve done this. Imagine a confidant that you told a secret to, and they turned around and broadcast it to the world without asking you (or asking you by way of a 5,000-word Terms of Service agreement) – you wouldn’t look kindly on that friend anymore, or would at least be cautious about sharing with them in the future. It’s called discretion, and FB acted without it in this case.

  2. Pingback: A Twist of F8: Facebook's bid to become the internet | The Zest

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