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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why we (WION) left Facebook, and other "Random" thoughts

It's an old saying, "you get what you pay for." and...in many cases, its true!

Over the weekend, the WION administrator's account for our Facebook page was hit with a virus that is making the rounds in the Facebook community. It did what all viruses do, mess with other users by annoying them with bogus e-mails and links that "looked" like they came from WION or our administrator,  yours truly, Jim Carlyle.

The rule I've preached on the air  time and time again is, "don't open attachments" in your e-mail, along with "don't open e-mail from people you don't know", and NEVER ever reply to an e-mail asking for information on your social security, banking, or any other personal information. I've always believed this, I've always practiced this, and by practicing this "safe computing" I've enjoyed the web, and still do. This virus was confined to Facebook only, not the computer on which Facebook was viewed.  I haven't had a virus on my personal or business computers for the better part of 10 years!

But, when any service on the web allows a virus to penetrate its servers, and propagate through its unsuspecting users, trouble begins.  If the service expects us to give  up seemingly personal information to them, shouldn't they protect us while on their service?  It's a reasonable expectation. 

Thus, came the question, "Can a radio station in the year 2010 exist without a Facebook page?"  Well, the answer is..YES.  In fact, it will mean more time to update our own WION website and that will be where we hope you'll look for information on our station, our events, our clients, our food-drive and anything that AM 1430 and FM 92-7 may be doing!

Yes, we miss the "instant messaging" capabilities, but....there's e-mail!
Yes, we miss the "instant updates" on (some of) our listeners...but there's e-mail

No, we don't miss the famous, "X likes this "thumbs-up on everything people report....that gets very old, very quickly. I've always believed I could post something like, "My toilet's backed-up and flowing all over the floor" and there would be a whole bunch of people who, like lemmings would click "X likes this!"  So, that part, we won't miss.

 Nor will we miss people who take others' money to set up Facebook accounts (something any basic computer user can do themselves) and the perception of "you need Facebook" to survive. After all, first it was Myspace, and in the mix came Facebook, and Twitter. We have YET to "tweet" a single thing, and we're still growing as a company. Our "tweeting" is live, and is done by the human voice. On the air.  What a concept! Human to Human communication!

Facebook is, after all, a FREE service. It's not meant to be a primary advertising source, and only reaches those who are OTHER Facebook members. If that many of you (and we had a respectable amount) were following us on Facebook, you'll certainly continue to listen.....and to e-mail.....and to call......and to participate in WION's community events.  And, yes, the decision to close the account is permanent. We didn't just "deactivate" we are on the "deletion" list, though Facebook thinks they are SO important that THEY make you wait 14 days for the account info to be deleted.  They think USERS can't live without them, and will change their mind before two weeks is up!  Interesting isn't it?

 If you're a Facebook fan, enjoy!  Practice safe computing, and know who to interact-with safely.  We did!  But, we also were careful from day one with what information we gave to Facebook  and did not post any info about our administrator you couldn't find in public records. We didn't rely on Facebook for our only source of marketing, and.....ultimately, its Facebook that loses when they don't protect users from hacking of accounts, viruses, and when users DELETE their accounts. (taking one link in the virus chain out of their system.)

Remember, when you give Facebook information about yourself... (not limited to your name, age, location, likes, dislikes, interests) you're voluntarily giving them information they use to sell ads, to target you, and to make money...ON YOU. You ARE their income. You ARE their hostage, as long as you use the account you sign up for. So, be aware of what information you tell them at all times.  It was an innocent communication from a user that likely triggered the virus into our Facebook account, and...now, we don't have an account. By choice. Their loss. We got what we paid for....and....so do you. But, we were aware of that "going in"...so we feel no mourning at the termination of our fan page, or our administrator's page (which was bare minimum anyway.)

So, We'll see you on our website.
As of this writing...day number (3) without Facebook...and the world still turns, the sun still rises, the web still exists, and we're glad that we can put our former Facebook time to better use.

Jim Carlyle "likes" this.

Oops.