SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Gary Arora, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan

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Can we please stop doing this?: Connecting to Facebook

I joined Pinterest this week!  Yes, you can now follow me on the fast-growing, lady-centric, thing-collecting social network under the name JordoPC. That’s not why I’m writing this though.  I’m writing to ask a simple favor of websites and social networks: Can we please stop connecting everything to Facebook?

After waiting twelve hours for my invitation (one does not simply sign up for Pinterest) I arrived at the sign in page to find this:

I was annoyed to learn you can only sign up if you choose to connect to your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts, which I have no interest in doing.  On the Facebook front, I don’t want to spam my friends’ newsfeeds or have Pinterest suggest I follow that girl that I haven’t seen in 15  years.  I also don’t want to hand Facebook an easy way to know even more stuff about me.  On the Twitter front, I almost exclusively follow news organizations and comedians and if I want to see if one of them has a Pinterest account, I will check for myself, thank you.

After whining for two minutes, I gave in.  I signed up using my Facebook account and disabled the connection as soon as I could, but not before Pinterest posted to my timeline a group of people that I unintentionally followed during the sign up process.

My point is this:  Among users of Facebook who’ve been on the site for several years, there is a growing amount of dissatisfaction.  I would argue that they are on it because it’s still better than not being a part of the largest social network, but that increasingly, users don’t know what to do when they get there.  After a few recent changes, I no longer understand why certain posts from certain people show up on my newsfeed in the order that they do, and when the posts I see are things like “Guy you met once at a party just read ‘Dow Closes at 4-Year High’ on WSJ” and I can’t click the link to the news story because I don’t have the WSJ app, I care less and less about returning to Facebook multiple times a day to see what’s going on with my friends.

Based on the amount that the people I actually care about are posting (i.e. hardly at all) I’d say others are feeling the same way.

While brands probably think it’s great that I see their name ten times a day on my feed and believe it’s an excellent plan to get me to interact with them, I mostly just feel annoyed by looking at things I don’t want to see. I am irked by the feeling that I’m allowing Facebook to know more and more about me by letting them see what I do on other sites.  As Shelly says in his blog “Google = Skynet … Yikes!,” it’s not because I think they’re doing anything bad with the information… yet.  But my instinct is to opt out where I can and increasingly, I can’t.  I don’t want to live in an Internet so fluid that information spills over everywhere in a way that I can’t easily trace or understand.

What about you?  Are you tired of seeing things on your Facebook newsfeed from other sites?  Do you like having your online accounts connected? How do you see this changing and how do you want it to change?

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

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