Last Spring, I wrote about a lesson I learned the hard way about letting Facebook download my e-mail contacts. Well, apparently, I wasn't the only one unhappy with what Facebook was doing. Google decided to block this handy-dandy "feature."
Now, as TechCrunch is reporting, Facebook has found a work-around Google's block, by "allowing" users to download their own contacts to their own computer, then upload that file to Facebook - all in a couple of clicks (in a similar way to the way photos are currently uploaded).
Both companies would like for you to believe they have the users' best interest at heart. [Insert laugh track here.]
We are in the information age, and information is power. Follow the money trail, and remember, the social networks, search engines, and online e-mail providers do not work for the users, who are using their services for free. I'm sorry if this sounds cold and cynical, but the only value you (or I) provide to these social networks is our personal information - and that of our contacts. The social networks get their money from their advertisers and investors, who want that information. The networks are simply a conduit. Think about it - if the largest search engine and the largest social network are fighting over YOUR contact information, it must be pretty valuable. Guard it wisely.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.