Mark Zuckerberg, Credited with founding Facebook

Naive, If Not Blatantly Dishonest

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook
Image via Wikipedia

I have been asked numerous times why I do not have a Facebook page.  Originally, I had three main reasons:

  1. I thought Facebook would be another digital fad like AOL, MySpace, etc.  It would go away—and indeed probably will in time .  Something else would replace it.  Would I then have to jump on that social tool-du-jour?
  2. I have two blogs that I enjoy using to share my professional and my personal “online me.”  I don’t need another online presence.
  3. I became concerned that Facebook was an enormously successful marketing tool that, like almost any other American business, would, in the blink of an eye, sell its soul and all of the marketing data it accrued for profit and then to the devil called greed.

Then along came the huge issue of privacy concerns that is now plaguing Facebook.  The foolhardiness of this quotation, from Facebook’s founder dropped my jaw!

You have one identity The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity — Mark Zuckerberg, 2009

Source:  Why Mark Zuckerberg Needs to Come Clean about His Views on Privacy
by:  Kim-Mai Cutler

Is he serious?!  There is one me—the me, me. And I have numerous “identities,” as does every other human being on this planet. Identity is the product of relationship or association. People have a work or professional identity, their identity as a spouse, their identity as a parent, their identity as a friend, their identity as a neighbor, their identity as a member of community, etc. To insinuate, let alone state, that all of these identities living in each of us somehow lacks integrity is to demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding about humanity and the definition of integrity.  But there are additional layers of complexity here.

The notion of radical transparency, a term being brandished about lately, is, I think, based in a naïve and simplistic world view.  I recall as a young school administrator listening to adults confide to me the complexities of their life situations.  At the time I was too young to actually even believe them as they recounted the circumstances of their lives.  I couldn’t imagine that so many people lived in such incredulous circumstances.  At the time, I didn’t have enough life experience to understand how fragile the easy life of even simple privilege I had always been lucky enough to enjoy was.  I had little, if any, experience with the complexity of a broader scope of life.

A significant percentage of people would not live life better if they lived in complete, radical transparency.  And a significant percentage of twenty-somethings, like Zuckerberg, might think they can now but later find that life brings things into their lives they may wish to leave forgotten, not plastered all over the Internet.

And what of context?  Without context to clarify meaning, to provide an illuminating perspective, many things could be so misunderstood as to be immensely damaging both today and at some unexpected time in an unforeseeable future, especially when people only know the “virtual you” before getting to know the actual you living within the context of your life.  Moments in time that are the tiniest reflections of the whole of a person can supplant the essence, the potential, the intent and focus of a future life better lived.  If being an administrator taught me anything, it was that people need a dignified option to find a better way forward that provides them with the hope of a good future.

At the very least, Zuckerberg is brilliant (attending Exeter and Harvard) and exceedingly wealthy (Forbes estimates his 2010 net worth at $4 billion.)  He is a young man of wealth and privilege.  What he lacks is a sensible world view for the masses of people who lack the resources to ever control their own destiny.  He’s foolhardy enough to think he can manage that for the 400,000,000+ Facebook users.

As things are now, Zuckerberg stands to profit most when you naïvely live his vision of radical transparency, of one identity—your Facebook identity.  He can then continue to mine and aggregate every bit of information about you shared on his platform.  You will be powerless to do much about it.  He can monetize and redistribute that information in ways oblivious to you, and oblivious he wants you to remain.

May 31st is set to be “Quit Facebook Day.”  I think it’s time for millions of people to send Mr. Zuckerberg a “It’s time to get real!” wake up call.  Or, you can continue to let him control the future of your privacy.  It’s your choice—for now!

Your Privacy on Facebook (graphic)
Click to enlarge.

Graphic Above Source: