Facebook’s privacy setting now set to “Public”

I would be remiss not to post before Facebook’s IPO.

I don’t have a great feeling about it. The closest example that explains how I feel about Facebook’s IPO is this:

My best friend in junior and senior year of high school was really into John Mayer, before he got big. He was still playing in coffee houses and growing his fan base through small online communities.

When “No Such Thing” and “Your Body is a Wonderland” blew up, she was elated for him and his success but sad because she felt that her “little secret” had gotten out. His music was no longer personal to her because now the whole world was being serenaded by his music.

No one would characterize Facebook as their “little secret” but I do.

I’ve followed (snort) Facebook long before Twitter was around, long before all of the colleges had access to it. Long before Facebook was ever considered a legit news story.

I’ve cared about its existence and what that existence means to us, users, for the past 8 years. I’ve been a friend to it, and it a friend of mine, for 8 years. I’m one of its oldest friends.

Now, Facebook is inevitably changing its privacy setting to PUBLIC.

Anyone can subscribe. Facebook will be forced to share.

Everything Facebook does will be scrutinized. Its objectives will change — they have to, to satisfy new owners, who may or may not be its friend, a friend on it. My relationship to it, therefore, will change as well. I won’t have as much say as a user; I won’t be part of their bottom line. It’s difficult to express, but I feel that I am losing a special connection and my little secret.

Wired published an article earlier this year on IPOs and the effect that going public has on the ingenuity and innovation of a company.

Facebook will no longer be as nimble. It will no longer be as fun.

Mark will have to face more pressure and challenges and I hope that he will be able to withstand it.

I think he will but he won’t have an easy time.

I don’t envy him from that position but I will always admire him for what he has accomplished.

I hope he stays clear to his mission statement — “to a more open and connected world” — and remembers always that we the users are the core of this site, this company.

In many ways, the users should all have at least one tangible share in this IPO. We’ve stuck with them for this long, after all.


4 Comments on “Facebook’s privacy setting now set to “Public””

  1. Her JM is my JJ says:

    Your anecdote sounds vaguely familiar.

    I also don’t have a great feeling about FB going public–but that feeling is not based on any knowledge of the market or finance. It stems from that universal narrative wherein one has always been true to himself and managed to succeed despite the odds, and then finally caves to the pressure of finding fame/fortune/power, to his demise. I’m not saying FB will be ruined as a result of going public, but there’s something about the Zuckerberg saga that makes me want to view it through a literary lens.

    • xuxi says:

      Literary lens.. I totally agree, and am trying to view it through that lens here, or will attempt. P.S. JJ will always be a sweet secret for me and the person who introduced it to me.

  2. nospheltest says:

    The problem with going public isn’t the scrutiny, it’s the focus on quarterly profits. If Facebook can somehow avoid that and focus on longterm success, you’ll have a better product. Granted, I don’t see stockholders letting them focus on long term.

    • lisahopeking says:

      The emphasis on quarterly profits will lead to scrutiny of the product and how he and Sheryl are managing. I suppose I’m most concerned about how this product will evolve now that it has public owners. I suppose I also prefer mystique sometimes, over transparency.

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