The end of Free?

The novelty of publicly sharing all of your stuff online is definitely coming to an end, I can feel it.

Lots of my friends are techies and have always had pretty tight privacy settings online, but even my non-techie pals are getting in on the action.

Gone are the days when you could click on a friend-of-a-friend and see their most intimate nights out on the town, no chance. People are rightly wising up.

Everyone I know has a locked-down Facebook profile and an increasing number are locking down Twitter accounts. Over the last six months I have seen a definite increase in the number of people using Google Plus too. I’d estimate that when I log-in there are double the number of posts from friends to read.

Google Plus allows you to more easily manage who sees what you post and I’m convinced that this is the main driver for that increase. I mean the G+ interface isn’t very pleasing and it’s still relatively under-populated so what other reason could their be?

It has to be a sign that privacy is becoming more important to people and that attitudes are changing. I suspect that people would prefer to miss someone out than include someone by accident.

The social network Path grew from 3M users in July 2012 to over 5M users by December last year and at the heart of Path? Privacy. You’re limited to just 150 friends and encouraged to use it purely for family and really close pals.

I know five million isn’t that large a number thesedays, check out Instagram (100 Million) or Facebook (1 billion) but the growth is significant if you consider that Path, like Google Plus, offers essentially.. nothing new.

I think that the end of free is coming too but maybe this is another article. I would much prefer to actually PAY for a service rather than use it for free and be subjected to ads, a restriction, a reduction in service or worse still to have myself used as fodder for some demographic to be marketed to.

FlickR. Vimeo. Google Apps, AWS - All of these cost me money but I get to use them as they were intended and avoid any nonsense. I would much prefer to pay £5 a month to twitter and get-rid of “sponsored tweets” for example. (app.net anyone?).

Even if you go “on lockdown”, there’s still likely to be a considerable amount of cleanup to do. Your web history has a habit of coming back to haunt you and you’ll probably find that if you restrict your new posts, your old ones are still fair game.. check out some of the T&Cs…

Anyway, I’m sure that people are waking up and starting to think before posting online and that, is a good thing.