I was dragged kicking and screaming to Facebook, but now that I'm there, and people I know from years past keep "friending" me (I love verbizing things), I'm actually starting to enjoy it. Everybody's there, and I actually feel "in touch" with people I'd lost touch with years ago, or who were fading from view. It's very nice that way. It's worth the random garbage on the site.
But you know, Facebook ultimately works for its advertisers, not for you and me. That bothers me, both in terms of what's happening with my data, what drives Facebook's features, and Facebook's long-term viability, especially in a knock-down economy like this.
So, I have a wild idea. Let me pay you, Facebook. $10 a month.
And for that $10 a month I want you to kiss goodbye to your advertisers. I don't want my data analyzed, scraped, or monetized. I want you to guarantee complete ownership of my data.
And I don't want to have to go to your site to get status updates. I want to get them on email, on SMS, on IM. It's not a surprise you can't do that today, because that would mean not seeing all the ads and "additional features".
And don't be like cable. I remember when cable first came out, the idea was, we pay you, and we don't have to watch ads. Five years later, cable was full of ads. To me that's a breach of trust.
The thing is, Facebook has become a black hole. So many people are there, it's where everyone meets. It doesn't matter if other services are free. Everyone's hanging out at Facebook. It has reached critical mass, and people are addicted to Facebook. It's like their morning paper.
So, charge a cover charge (at least as an option), and become beholden to your users, not your advertisers. Please.