Love or hate Like?

I have just added the Facebook Like button to my blog posts. I’ve succumbed because it is the way the web works, and I want to be using it the best way I can. Facebook is the main hangout online for my community of friends & family. Yes my Facebook is a community of friends, I know each one of them reasonably well, and some very well!

That Facebook has been able to create this community is quite a credit to them. They have used software strategy and deep insight into human interaction to lead us to use their service. How can I not respond to someone being my friend when I see have 12 friends in common and I know and like them? How often have you heard this: I don’t really want to be on Facebook but now my kids are using it I have joined.

In the last year or so Facebook has escaped its own domain. On this post you will see a Facebook Like button. If you Like this post then it will show up in your Facebook. Your photo shows up here. That means Facebook is now very integral to the web. How could I not use something so communal? So connecting?

Well, I’ve resisted it. What I hate is that Facebook owns this thing. It would be great to have the equivalent of Facebook, Google Apps, Twitter in the commons. There probably are open source alternatives but they don’t have the critical mass to scale right into my community of friends. It is as if all the National parks were privately owned, say by Monsanto, or the roads belonged to General Motors. I find that distasteful and dangerous. The reason I think this is because the profit motive will trump the social motivation when it comes to the crunch. It would be so much better if Facebook was run by people who did not need to think of how the network related to the ads.

Yet no open source or community based group has succeeded in this task so far as well as Facebook or Twitter, that is puzzling and a worry. At least in the encyclopedia domain there is Wikipedia – mercifully free of ads, and run by its members. Why did that work so well and we have so little in the other social network areas?

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