An Open Letter to Marc Zuckerberg and Chris Chan MBA
Mr. Chris Chan MBA and Mr. Mark Zuckerberg:
Chris, I found your most recent post as an Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg on LinkedIn and felt compelled to comment and post my own take on your opinion. While I am in agreement with many of your criticisms of Facebook, I found your expressions to be self-serving and downright ‘greedy’ at the expense of others in the same manner that you accuse Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook of being. You proudly place ‘MBA’ after your name, as if to assure those of us that use LinkedIn that it is a more ‘Professional’ forum; and that your opinions are worth more because of that (perhaps more than the college ‘drop-out’ whose opinions have driven the success of an approach to internet communication for the masses that far surpasses yours). Unfortunately, opinions are much like the other part of the body people use to discharge excrement. Everybody has one.
I have no dispute with your perception that Facebook has practiced an inconsiderateness towards its users in the forms of lack of concern for personal privacy in communications, incessant unwanted ‘targeted’ advertising, and even exposure to ‘bullying’ and other downright ‘criminal’ activities. I think that most users of Facebook are somewhat naïve about these practices, and to some degree or another are encouraged to be. It is that naiveté which is exploited by Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook. This is a problem I believe that there is a consensus of FB users concerned about.
However, your tactics for communication of this concern are no better. YOU hold yourself up as a critic of these practices by engaging in the same distasteful practices in the promotion of YOUR OPINIONS. This, to me, is hypocrisy at its worst. It smacks of ‘elitist’ attitude and the same sort of self-promotion that not only has affected Facebook; but LinkedIn as well. In fact, most ‘social networks’ have been ruined by self-aggrandizement at the expense of others elsewhere. Truly valuable opinions are not just simply expressed, they also require experience and learning of many complex issues to be valuable. Facebook’s greatest ‘sin’ has been the practice of ‘mystifying’ the technology of communications in the form of making it simple to express personal opinions to a larger and larger audience without concern for the complexities and consequences of doing so. Politeness, positivity in conversation, and simple common sense are put aside.
Other ‘social networks’ are no better than Facebook in these practices. LinkedIn Groups have become filled with advertising in the form of ‘recruiters’ for different technologies for greedy exploitation of others who actually do the work of ‘implementing’ ‘social-networking’ as well as ‘technologies’ on the internet. As a long-time user of the internet (since 1991 and no…Al Gore did not invent it) I could complain that these activities have ‘ruined’ the internet. As soon as there was commerce established on the internet, it ceased in some respects to be the communications medium that Tim Berners-Lee, Marc Andreessen, and some others of my old acquaintances had envisioned. It quickly became an exploitable commodity, and then just as quickly, became an instrument of exploitation.
The technology of the internet was not designed to be exploitative by nature. It was designed to be a ‘populist’, ‘democratic’ tool for communicating simple informational messages among users for common understanding (a theme that perhaps Twitter has been truer to); not for ‘Telephone Marketing’. However, the internet has certainly become less than ‘informational’ and more about personal opinion; or to be more accurate, more about personal opinion than common consensus on valuable opinion. There is no doubt that this problem is ‘global’ now. The ‘corruption’ of the internet will continue until it is totally and irrevocably destroyed by an alternative ‘system’ for information delivery among people.
It is my opinion that the ‘next generation’ of ‘social networks’ that gain success will be those which deal with the concerns of personal privacy and the dissemination of valuable information on a global scale. As a programmer and developer of systems for delivery of content on the web; I have a responsibility to see this happen (I admit to my own exercises of self-aggrandizement in the past with coding). I can only encourage those who actually bring ideas to the internet to be ethical and back up their ‘opinions’ with real work in learning and understanding; not just the idea that I may get more young college girls to like me if I build a billion dollar company, or the idea that if I graduate with an MBA I deserve to have my opinion be known above anyone else’s. LOL
So, unless you have an alternative to just ‘shutting the whole thing down’ please give my opinions a listen. I am currently developing a CMS for developers wanting to develop ‘social network’ platforms that are free from advertising, private by virtue of encrypted communications point-to-point between all users,, and encourage well-constructed and thought-out, polite communications, with verification of content information as well. I hope to introduce a version soon for my friends and colleagues to experiment with. Thanks for your attention.