Matthew Milan and Joseph Dee are losing all their Facebook friends today, voluntarily. After becoming increasingly frustrated about privacy issues on the world's largest social networking site, the duo launched QuitFacebookDay and is urging others to leave the site. One of the reasons they're deleting their accounts is because "Facebook gives you choices about how to manage your day, but they aren't fair choices." However, so far, only 26,805 people have jumped on board with them as committed Facebook quitters (a tiny percentage of the total number of users on the site). If you're not one of these quitters, but are considering a move, here are a few reasons you might want to give the site another chance.
1. Privacy settings (just) got better
After months of angry blog posts and protest videos, Facebook finally caved and announced new privacy settings last week. Although many of us can't yet see these changes, since it's taking a few days for the full roll-out, there are promises of easier controls. These changes will include a message on your homepage with a link to edit your new settings, a single option to share your information with select groups of people and easier advanced settings that will allow you to manage granular information attached to your account. However, users should still be cautious about sharing phone numbers, home addresses and other private information on Facebook (or anywhere else online).
2. That's where your friends are
There are more than 400 million users on Facebook, including a bunch of your friends and acquaintances. If you choose to abandon the site, chances are that there is no other web destination that includes such a wide cross-section of your personal and professional contacts. Although alternatives such as Diaspora are getting some buzz, they don't yet have proven technology or significant community growth behind them.
3. Your mom is a member
As Facebook reported last year, the fastest growing demographic on the site is women 55 and older. In just four months in 2009, the number of women joining the social network in this age group grew 175 per cent. My mom falls into this category. She's been using the site for a couple of years, keeping up to date with dozens of close friends and relatives. Not only does it help my mom stay connected, it helps me stay on top of what she's doing (which often includes playing, and winning, at SCRABBLE).
4. It's great for business (and customers)
If you work in the business world, Facebook is proving to be a valuable resource to reach out to fans. For customers, Facebook "Like" pages mean you're one click away from befriending your favourite brand or telling them to go take a hike. While many people worry that Facebook is selling your personal information to the corporate world, Facebook states time and time again that they will never do this. However, to make money, they do allow advertisers on the site to target certain groups (which is a common practice in the online world -- if you have a Gmail account, you know what I mean).
5. It's free
Every month I pay a minimum of $100 to stay in touch with my circle of friends via my cell phone. With Facebook, not only can I learn about new babies, new boyfriends, and new homes 24-7, I can also post my photos there and do professional networking for free. If you're worried about losing all of this valuable information, there are some innovate ways to back-up your friends, photos, profile and status updates. One of these is SocialSafe, which isn't free, but it will only set you back about $3 to back-up your Facebook account.