Wouldn’t it be nice to have a private space online? One where you could meet with friends, share photographs, trivial and important news, vintage wine tips, and yacht parking secrets, all the while knowing that you were safe from the inane ramblings of the lower classes? Well, today is your lucky day.
Meet Netropolitan the new social network for, and I quote, people who have ‘more money than time’, and quite possibly sense.
For a miserly $6000 joining fee you can enjoy the exclusive surroundings of a web browser, while rubbing shoulders with others from your social standing. That’s of course if they can find a moment in their busy schedules. An additional $3000 is also required to polish the fonts and ensure that no interlopers make it past the outer courtyards. Figgis! Release the hounds!
Ok, I’m making fun. Rich people with exclusive websites does feel like a fairly easy point of derision…but, actually, there is some sense in this idea.
Of course my non-richness riles against any such creation, but for a while now I’ve wondered how much better Facebook would be if it offered a paid membership? For many things the social network behemoth is fine – keeping up with friends, being distracted by stupid questionnaires, solving world problems by signing an online petition, etc… – but due to the fact that it’s free, Facebook has no reservations in buggering up the user experience in order to rake in some heavy cash. This is achieved through constant adverts or recommendations in your stream, which is already ruined by the never ending desire it has to show you stuff from two or three months ago.
If we paid, then maybe we could get the old, simpler Facebook back? You remember. The one where chronology was respected and the only threat to your sanity was Farmville. The question is what kind of price do you put on privacy and an ad free life? £5 a month? £15? Android apps often come in two versions, one with ads, and a paid version without, so the concept works in principle.
The real problem with this scenario is that we’re actually worth more to Facebook than our money. Advertisers will pay more than most of us would fork out, as our data is far more valuable to them. When we like things our friends post, it tells them our preferences. When we list things we want, or places we want to visit, more intelligent data gets added to the pile of who were are as individuals. Essentially we’re selling ourselves off, one click at a time.
You could try Twitter, Tumbler, Google+, or some young upstart, but they all cater to different markets, or have nobody on them. The thing is, Facebook built a bloody good service, and that’s why we’re there. So now, due to the critical mass of friends and family that make it their daily hangout, we’re kind of stuck. Facebook has the people, they don’t want our money, and we all spend lots of time on the site regardless of whatever insane user interface obstacle course they devise to test our resolve.
Well, that just sucks.
I feel the stirring of a revolution in my loins. That, or I need a more comfortable chair. No, revolution it is. So, what say you all? Shall we create a new utopia, free from the oppressive forces of billion dollar corporations? Where your life belongs to you, and you’re free to post as many cat pictures as you want without fear of it being attached to your permanent record. A holy sanctuary of free speech and expression. And no bloody invites to ever, ever, play stupid agricultural-based games that will slowly put you in the poor house.
Then come with me, my merry band of digital adventurers, as we forge a new frontier here on the Living with the Future social space. Sign up now….only £100!
Wait….no, it’s a bargain.
Hmmm, I wonder what’s on Facebook?