The Unbridled Pragmatist
smart enough to know how dumb we are

Laissez-Facebook

As a MySpace veteran I was forced to undergo the transformation to Facebook and approached with some trepidation.  I had my friends and my nice little MySpace universe, why must I be forced to start over in the Facebook world?  Sure I had dated girls who told me how immature it was to be on MySpace only to find out they were on Facebook.  Was Facebook really more mature?  Ultimately aren’t they both simple online popularity contests?

One thing I definitely learned is MySpace is no place to have a girlfriend.  In fact, I strongly encourage any male reader that has or is in the process of becoming serious with a woman to delete any MySpace profile.  MySpace has a connotation, whether accurate or not, as a website full of teenagers and creepy old men. 

Facebook has now become one of the hottest properties in global media, with Yahoo reportedly offering founder Mark Zuckerberg $1 billion.  This potential deal would almost double the $580 million MySpace sold for to News Corp.  The question to ask is why?  On a personal level Facebook is more user friendly and the search functions perform immensely better.  On Jeff Jarvis Buzz Machine blog he explained. “Facebook turned itself into a platform. That is, it enables anyone to create applications on top of the service.”  While you won’t see the UP creating applications anytime soon, I have used some and added a few to my Facebook account.  Further, in my incredibly naïve opinion, anything that keeps the techies happy is good for the long term future of the site.

The question raised regarding the Online bill of rights drives straight at the heart of online networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.  The fundamental rights established are morally encouraging, however I find it increasingly difficult to expect all wesbites, specifically those in Social Networking, to adhere to these principles of user ownership.  When Adam Smith thought up the free market economy the ultimate goal was the bottom line.  These websites, as the interest in personalized advertising have exponentially grown, realize that information they generate will prove to be quite the cash cow.  To deny these businesses the opportunity to profit on the technology they have created is unreasonable and anti-capitalist.  Larry and Sergey had a great idea when they stated “You can make money without doing evil.”  Hopefully those in search of the Online Bill of Rights agree with Google’s founders and allow for compromise between user ownership and websites profitability. 

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