What have I learned from my experience with Facebook?

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Return to Facebook

Yesterday, I wrote about how integral Facebook has become to my life. Now that my account has been disabled, I’m not able to access my photo albums, share updates with friends or families, or keep up with what’s going on in my community. Facebook has always felt like a fun diversion from life while at the same time has become something I depend on more than our house phone or even cable television. I never thought of it this way, but Facebook had turned into more of a utility that I depended on daily, but never asked myself how I would manage without it if it ever went down permanently or if I lost access.

As I thought about how utilitarian Facebook had become, I compared it to smoke detectors. We just take them for granted and don’t often think about them unless we’ve burnt dinner or are checking the batteries. But, their job is to alert us in the unfortunate event of a fire. Hopefully, they will never need to do that.

I think it is interesting to compare Facebook to smoke alarms, because maybe there needs to be a couple of days each year when we sit down and download a backup of our information just as a precaution. The articles I’ve read have suggested that everybody do this at least once, just in case they lose access like I have. I’m just saying we should take this farther and download backups a little more frequently, and on a more regular basis.

This might also be a chance to reassess Facebook’s role in our lives.

I am not anti-Facebook, or anti-Social Media. Even Facebook offers vast benefits to its users. But, I think that it would be wise to maintain balance. We shouldn’t rely on one application to handle the majority of our communication or memory keeping, and I’m afraid we are doing just that with Facebook. Like any utility, Facebook is great when it’s working, but a disaster when it’s not. But, that’s based on a model for utilities that are typically managed with professionalism and a respect for customers, so the most we have to worry about is that they stay available.

My experience has taught me that while Facebook seems to be working on the surface, their moderation needs a lot of work. This should be a source of great concern. Again, I’m not suggesting that people abandon Facebook, just that they take precautions. It’s a little like renting a room to someone, and then learning a little bit later that they were once convicted for arson. If this were to happen, one might at the very least double check the smoke alarms in their house just to be safe.

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1 thought on “What have I learned from my experience with Facebook?”

  1. Interesting suggestion about backing up your Facebook information. How does one do that? Is there an option within FB that says “make an archive of everything I’ve posted in the last year” or something like that?

    I’m a little bit OCD about backups. Not FB per se, but just files in general and photos specifically. One feature I love about MacOS is its “time machine” feature. I just plugin an external drive, and the system just takes care of it. This was helpful last November when my laptop suddenly bricked on me. The IT staff at BYUH mailed the laptop to California and in addition to replacing a few parts they also wiped the hard drive. No worries, I could restore from the lastest backup.

    I used to backup my photos to DVD-ROMs, but I found that became unwieldy quickly… they take up a lot of room, and it’s time-consuming to swap out disk after disk trying to find the photo you want. So then I starting backup them all up to Shutterfly, which kind of works, except they only accept certain image formats and no videos. Plus Shutterfly doesn’t preserve folder or file names — all the photos are just in one pool. Now I back up ALL my photos and videos to Box – luckily BYUH has a site license for all employees, with no storage quotas. And it maintains the folder structure that I had on my desktop. Finally I feel like my photos will be safe no matter what else happens.

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