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Something to think about... / blog
Linkin, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster, Orkut, Bebo etc

Written by on January 12, 2008

I am "sometimes" asked if I have a profile on MySpace, Facebook, Linkin etc... and I get a couple emails every month from varies people inviting me to be added to their profile as a "friend". So, I thought I would clarify why I rarely answer or take action to any of those requests.

I do have a profile with almost any social network on the internet (I know of 118 different ones) - including all the big ones. The main reason why I signed up is not to use them, but to see what it is all about. It is the same with Second Life, where I have an "avatar", just to figure what that was about.

But, I do not use any social networks as part of my daily work. I already got the biggest profiles of all right here on Baekdal.com. It is extremely flexible, I can do whatever I want with it - and more importantly I am fully in control of my personal information.

So, in short - my "social profile" is located here on my site...

There are 5 reasons why I don't use social networks:

  1. Lack of trust and control. I simply do not trust the social networks and the people within them to protect my digital identity. I know how important it is to protect a digital identity and more so the value of protecting and targeting your personal brand.
  2. There are close friends and then there is somebody that just knows me. The second problem is that while I am perfectly comfortable with telling my close friends and family about all the wacky things that I do, it is not something I want everyone else to be able to see. The current social networks do not differentiate between close friends and anyone else (all of them is called friends). I am not a teenager anymore, I might want to tell my friends if I am looking for a date, but I am sure not going to publish that all over the internet (I am not that desperate :o)).
  3. Crap. Let's face it, 90% of all the things going on in social networks is just crap. Facebook is the worst I have experience so far - my front page is filled with junk.
  4. I am already online. A lot of people use social networks to store and manage contacts, photos, things to remember, things to do or just to be online so people can find you. But I already got this site, and I have a special area (not public and password protected) of this site that is synchronized with certain offline content (contacts, to-do's, ideas etc.). There is really no advantage for me to move all that information to a system that I do not fully control (or trust).
  5. Most of my friends are not "social networkers". They are not people who live on the internet (like me). They are physiotherapist, artists, school "teacher" (in a sense), electricians, marketing professional, authors etc. 98% of them do not know what Facebook is (or rather, they know what it is, but they have never visited the site - and frankly are not likely to ever do so). But, a few of them use Twitter and many of them use Flickr - but like me, Facebook and MySpace seems too much like a site for adults pretending to be teenagers.

The only sites that I do use myself are Flickr, YouTube and I do have a secret Twitter account which I update on rare occasions.

Note: I am seriously considering switching from YouTube to Blip.tv because of the much improved quality and more flexible and usable feature set.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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