2 May 2010

Experiencing Facebook`s connected profiles first-hand: a tale of bewilderment and weariness.

Having just spent the past hour going through the maze of sorting out my Facebook profile page as a result of the introduction of the 'Connected Profiles' function, I am baffled... Baffled by the effort and time it takes to opt-out of any of the connections you do not want to make public (e.g. location, university etc), and baffled by how cumbersome it is to find out what the 'connected profiles' functionality is all about.

The help centre of Facebook has a section on Community Pages and Profile connections which is meant to guide the user gently through it all means and the impact of this new functionality on the privacy of the user. However, the section is not very user-friendly for many reasons. Firstly, you have to click on each question to find out the answer rather than all the answers appearing alongside the questions. This is very cumbersome specially as to find out what it is all about, you really do have to find the answers to most of the questions. Secondly, there is a line which appears time and time in many of the answers, almost as a sort of incantation: 'Connecting to Pages is now the main way to express yourself on your profile.' I have tried to find out what this means but to no avail yet: it sounds quite creepy actually!!!

If like me, you are sceptical of connecting to these community pages (and every user should be aware that many community pages are currently being under construction which means that there are currently no privacy settings for these pages: i.e. your data is out there for all to view!), then you will end up with a very boring profile page as mine: completely empty!! I am not even sure if I have a profile picture anymore!! If my current research did not focus on Facebook in part, this is the time where I would have said: 'Hasta la vista baby' in my best Arnie voice!

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