Facebook Owns YOU (Well, Kind Of…)

Jun 26, 2012

Facebook Owns YOU (Well, Kind Of…)

When I was a student both in high school and college, teachers and professors in writing classes repeated the well-used mantra, “Write what you know.”  This is good advice, it turns out, because when you stick with what you know, it takes away many potential problems that could develop down the line – in life as well as in writing.

The Latest Facebook Change

One of the things I know for certain is that as soon as you get used to something on Facebook, it will be changed. Many times, the changes will just happen to your Facebook Timeline – like magic! – without any notice. And to be blunt, they really don’t care what you think; sometimes there’s a way around the change and sometimes there isn’t.

There’s been some grumbling around the web about the latest Facebook change, which essentially changed each member’s with a new Facebook email address:

If you go to your personal profile and click on the “About” portion, the screen that’s all about you will come up. In the “Contact Info” section, you’ll see your new default @Facebook email address.

Why is this change important? Between work, freelancing, and personal email, I’ve already got five email addresses (minimum). While some email addresses are more important or urgent than others, I need to check all of them on a somewhat regular basis. I don’t want to add yet another email address.

In addition, this email address is connected to my Facebook messages, which is yet another place where I can potentially feel bombarded by email I didn’t want to get from Facebook anyway.

How Do I Change the Facebook Change?

If you look at the photo above, there is an EDIT button to the right of “Contact Info.” Click that button and a screen should pop up that looks like this:

You can use the drop down menus on the far right to choose both your privacy settings and whether or not the email address is “Shown on Timeline” or “Hidden from Timeline” – in other words, whether it appears on your profile or not.

YOU are the Product, Not Facebook

The fact is, when it comes to Facebook use – regardless of how effective it can be for reaching current and potential customers – you don’t actually own anything. You don’t own your Facebook business page. You don’t own your profile. You don’t own the ads you run through this social media outlet. Everything associated with your Facebook profile or business page can be adjusted, changed or deleted at any time, without your knowledge or consent.

The truth of the matter is that Facebook isn’t the product – YOU are. Facebook changed the email addresses in order to keep people coming back to use them.

I didn’t think it was annoying at all; rather, it was an excellent reminder to first invest time and energy into the spaces that I do own, and keep Facebook, and other, social media outlets in perspective.

I’m going to stick with what I know, which is that I own my website and everything that appears on it – if you don’t have a space online that you own and control, we can help you tell your story (the elements of which won’t be changed without your permission).

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