On Monday Facebook will be making a special announcement, the latest rumor is that they are going to be announcing an email program that is run through Facebook. If this rumor is true, then to me this is a step backward to the walled gardens of yesterday. If you’ve were on the Internet in the 1990’s and early 2000’s then you remember AOL at its height. You would get the disk in the mail pop it in your computer and you were in the AOL universe. Want the news sure you could have it as long as it was what AOL said was the news. Entertainment no problem as long as you wanted what AOL had to offer. For a long time this was the Web to a lot of people. It was safe and seemed to have everything you wanted. Of course those who were computer savvy knew that the Web was a whole lot larger and the Web itself was only a small part of the the larger Internet. AOL was just one room in a house standing in the middle of a huge world. Once people knew that there was a larger web out there then AOL felt like a prison rather then a garden. Happily with the explosive growth of broadband and the decline of dialup the AOL walled garden broke down and the Web opened up for most people
To me Facebook is rebuilding that walled garden and many people are happy to play all day in that garden. There seems to be everything you need there games, music, news video and according to the rumors starting soon email. Everything you could want, except what happens when or if you want to leave, how easy is it to get or stuff back, your pictures, your videos. Or God forbid you get banned from Facebook, which can happen and does. Many times the person who is banned doesn’t know why and it can take awhile to correct the problem. Meanwhile you can’t get to anything on Facebook, image if this happened and your email was in Facebook. I realize this is a bit of dooms day talk, but it does happen.
I want to make it clear I not against Facebook, I use it all the time to keep up with my family and friends. However I make sure that when I add something to Facebook, like a picture or video I also upload them to my own Web site, which I own. It’s important that you have a place that you own for the important things you put on line. If you can’t afford a Web site then at least upload your pictures and videos to multiple sites. Also make sure there is a way to get the media back if you want to leave a site. What ever happens Monday I’m sure it will be the talk of both the tech world and the social media world. It will be interesting to watch.