TechieTalk: Face Ache Book

By Roy Mathur, on 2012-10-15, for the Independent Daily, Mauritius (in which an edited version appeared)

When I was little, "face-ache" was a jibe bandied about in the playground at kids (including myself) challenged in the looks department. Given Facebook's failure to monetise with any sense of stability through targeted advertising; this week we're looking at Facebook's other ugliest misses.

Facebook Privacy Concerns

This one has been running for years. More recently privacy turned off by default has caused consternation as well as concerns about how Facebook shares our personal data with third parties. But despite this I have, in fact, completely given up on trying to anally protect every aspect of my online social media presence because fighting to maintain your privacy today is like trying to stop a tidal wave with a sand-castle. Let us also remember that concerns about the privacy aspects of social media and your online persona are not exclusive to just Facebook- there?s also Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr etc...

Facebook is Going to be in Beta Forever

Like Google, the developers at Facebook are always optimising (really?) their creation. I understand that these endeavours are supposed to increase the utility of Facebook, but it seems like every time I turn away from my screen something weird has happened to Facebook to make it more difficult to use. I understand the urge to fiddle, because it?s a trait common to most programmers, myself included, but I wish Facebook would settle on one look-and-feel for their user interface and concentrate on only tweaking the back-end guts of their product.

Facebook Games are Boring for Real Gamers

Social gaming with small, low graphics intensive appified games may be popular with casual gamers, but as a PC gamer who enjoys rumbustious first person shooters, I find the games mostly incredibly boring. Also many of the games require further in-game purchases which is mercenary and irritating enough for me to lose interest. I reported my attempt to play the Facebook game Heroes of Neverwinter in a previous TechieTalk column, but I found that the game was unplayable on my portable PC- a lowly Netbook; somewhat puzzling as the simplified Dungeons and Dragons game is, of course, aimed at casual gamers. However, given the number of Facebook game invites I receive, I doubt that most users are as annoyed about the quality of Facebook games as I am.


As a tech blogger/columnist I am almost obliged to, at least, make a token effort in using almost every single piece of technology I can lay my hands on. This includes being a member of all the current major social media providers. That said, my use of social media has greatly lessened over the last year and I now mainly use it to publicise my blog postings. In this way and, despite privacy problems, I do find sites like Facebook useful.

Finally, on the subject of privacy, remember that you can also do something to minimise risk. For example, there is no need to share your home telephone phone number, current location or year of birth with potential stalkers, burglars or bunny-boiling ex-partners. Users of the locational aware social site Foursquare, however, are on their own.