Many websites now allow you to sign in using your Facebook I.D. I’ve seen it numerous times and I’ve always avoided doing it. It always seemed curious to me. Why would they want me to do that and furthermore, why would I want to do that?
To me, signing into another website with my Facebook I.D. is like having someone stand too close to me in the grocery line – it’s an invasion of my personal space. I don’t really want these websites to have access to my personal information!
After reading Social Media: The Ground Shifts by Richard Gordon, I have a much better understanding of how Facebook Connect works and why companies are using it on their websites. It’s all about customizing a user’s experience and in doing so, keeping the interest of the consumer. As Gordon points out, this will inevitably lead to “formidable advertising platforms.”
I remember reading an article about how advertising was seen as an invasion of privacy when radios were first introduced to the public. That’s basically how I feel about Facebook Connects. I’m sure I’ll get over it someday (just like radio listeners did), but for now, I don’t want my personal info being passed around in the cloud, open to exploitation.
Gordon makes an excellent point when he talks about how people using Facebook Connect can no longer hide behind a cloak of anonymity. He says that this could lead to “higher quality interaction” and cut back on the number of nasty comments and rude remarks that are so rampant on the internet today. It’s true: people say the most God-awful things when they think no one knows who they are. Imagine if their Facebook friends knew the kind of trash-talking they do!
He also says that “content sites may find themselves challenged in growing audience engagement because their users are interacting mostly through their social networks.” While I know this to be true, it’s discouraging. I think about small businesses and non-profit agencies that don’t have the time, money, or know-how to establish themselves in this new online world and it worries me. What will happen to them if they can’t keep up?