I first heard the term “social media” in JMC 301: Intermediate Newswriting. I was considering a story on text messaging and my teacher said I should point it in a “social media” direction. I had no idea what she was talking about. This term has now inundated my life. I think I understand how many organizations are feeling about this phenomenon: like I’ve been training in the kiddie pool and now I’m supposed to swim laps across the Atlantic. Despite my fears (being eaten by a shark, drowning, etc.) I plunged into the great saltiness. I am now the proud owner of accounts on Twitter (feel free to follow me – MeganGj), Delicious, Word Press (so what if they were required for class), MySpace and Facebook.
As of February 4, 2009, Facebook owns all content posted on, transmitted through or pretty much distantly related to its server EVEN AFTER AN ACCOUNT HAS BEEN DELETED, and it can use your content for any purpose including advertising.
Facebook’s updated Tems of Service have caused a stir on Twitter with many tweets expressing frustration and plans to end accounts. Several of the tweets complained about Facebook owning everything they posted without acknowledging that users freely choose what to post. (Granted it is probably easier to vent in 140 characters than to weigh both sides of an issue.) None of the tweets I read mentioned the fact that Facebook always did own what you post. The only difference now is that its ownership does not expire when you cancel your account, as Jacob Botter of The Consumerist explains.
I had a minor internal struggle about this issue. Here’s a summary of my thought process:
- That’s messed up.
- I can’t really explain why that’s messed up, it just is.
- I’m finished with social media…except what’s required for JMC 417.
- I guess I’m really frustrated that Facebook always owned my content and I didn’t know about it.
- I guess I always knew that I had to be careful about what I posted because the Internet is forever. Once something’s out there it’s out there for good.
- If it weren’t for other forms of social media I wouldn’t know about this issue.
- I guess social media is not completely evil…I guess.
It looks like I’ll be keeping my Facebook, at least for now. I will definitely be reviewing my privacy settings though and reading those Terms of Service agreements more carefully on other social media sites. I certainly understand why so many organizations are wary about jumping into this ocean.
What do you think? Should we head back to the kiddie pool or keep paddling away?