So Mr Facebook bought Whatsapp, and we are already being submerged with statistics that show millions of outraged customers switching to other Whatsapp-like systems.
The cause of the outrage seems to be the fact that most people do not approve of having all their personal information (pictures, email address, and now phone numbers) held in the big rich hands of one man. This is an understandable concern, but I feel a bit outraged myself by this reaction.
If people are so concerned about the privacy of their information and communications, why are they not leaving Facebook as well? After all, Whatsapp is a pretty useful tool, free from the daunting appearance of adverts and the annoying option of being added by people you never met.
But guess what, Whatsapp is easily replaceable with a variety of similar apps, or with good old text messages; Faceboook simply isn’ t.
Let us imagine for a minute what would we have to do to substitute Facebook with “real” life actions.
We would have to invite around our friends to go through our holiday pictures, or that time we went clubbing and we had a great time and we met all those glamorous people, and we would show them a series of amusing portraits of drunk bliss. We would quote poetry to the Tesco’ s cashier guy, and we would make sure everyone knows what the weather is like where we are. Us musicians would have to personally invite people to our gigs, and maybe we would make sure to invite people that live less than fifty miles from the venue. I would have to call my mum and tell her to read my blog (although I might have to do that anyway to make sure she does).
So why don’ t we? The obvious answer is that it would take a lot of effort, not to mention how ridiculous our Facebook activities sound when transferred outside our laptops.
But maybe there is also a certain amount of understandably human self-congratulation, desire to share our successes and disappointments, or just curiosity toward others that we live through Facebook, and we cannot bring ourselves to part with.
I have Facebook and I have Whatsapp. Sometimes I hate them both, but I still have them and I try not to base my days and moods on them. Because I believe that if you start taking the internet too seriously what is the next step? Unplug it because the American Government is spying on us?
I am not shocked or outraged by this Facebook/Whatsapp combo, but if someone is then they should give up both, and I am sure someone in the world must have done that already. We are only private citizens, and unfortunately there is only so much we can do to guard our privacy in a big evil world controlled by companies and advertising.
Lastly I would like to say that before writing this article I shared my opinion with some Facebook contacts that had shared the news. When I expressed my views regarding the absurdity of people leaving Whatsapp and not Facebook for apparently ideological reasons, I received a rude, offended and aggressive reply. The person in question assured me that he was not on Facebook to satisfy his ego, and gave me all sorts of reasonable motives for not abandoning his Facebook life. Needless to say that, with the little power we still have on social networks, I ended his on my feed.
Just to keep this slightly relevant to what I claim to do in life, here is a song about another Facebook classic.