Sunday, November 18, 2012

Facebook? Can I have another (social network), please?

Something about "Sponsored Stories" on Facebook just irks me. It's advertising that shows up in my news feed. That is, when I'm trying to scroll through to keep up with friends & family, I have to see these "stories" (which take up more room than the usual stories) which look like ordinary posts, where someone explicitly shares something, but instead, it's some company's ad. Granted, an ad for a company that one of the people who show up in my news feed "likes," but it's not something that person actually intentionally shared with me - the company has paid Facebook to "place" this story in my newsfeed, as if my friend shared it. Yeah, that really irks me.

"But you can turn it off, right from the ad!" Facebook would say. True... but I have to do that individually for every ad that shows up, and only after it shows up. I can't preemptively say "don't show feeds from x." If they had an option for that ("turn off all sponsored stories"), then I'd have already checked it (and if I just haven't found it yet, and you know where it is, please let me know!). It's not as if they don't already have tons of ads in the non-scrolling region on the right hand side of the page (and I have even clicked on some of those from time to time!). But using my friends, and the "familiar" look, to promote companies, and trick me into viewing an ad? This is is getting quite irksome.

So, I'm seriously considering just ditching Facebook altogether. Granted, I'll lose some of the friends I have there (which I don't have elsewhere), and I'll miss things like the E. B. Erwin High School Marching Band group (where I found someone to send me some old band VCR video tapes, which I've converted to DVD and posted on YouTube - thanks, new friends!).

Looking at Google Plus - does anyone use that much? Any other alternatives to Facebook that may be "nearly" as good, but perhaps without the "forced advertising in the midst of your newsfeed that masquerades as stories from your friends"? Maybe I should start my own social network... would anyone be interested in a fresh alternative to Facebook?

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