The need to join a social network can conflict greatly with a person’s need for privacy. Joining Facebook, for example, may not be in line with what a privacy advocate would want, but then it would be essential if one wants to keep up with today’s communication trends. With more and more people relying on social networking sites to keep in touch, it might be a bit hermitic to keep resisting the pull. Not owning a Facebook account can cause a person to miss out on social interactions that occur within the site which, as much as we’d hate to admit, are getting more and more frequent.
Let’s face it, Facebook, Google+, and other social networking sites are most likely here to stay. But does that mean we should give up our right to privacy and just put up with them unashamedly mining our data? Not if UmeNow can have a say in it.
UmeNow.com is a new social networking site that has set its sights on destroying Facebook. Bravely, UmeNow promises the world in a rather ominous statement: “We will kill off the Facebook data eating monster”. While that may be quite an ambitious aim which some people might dismiss as fanciful, UmeNow does present some very tempting offers.
For one thing, UmeNow is all about privacy. There will be no ads, no tracking and data mining, and no selling of personal information. The site will be off limits to any third party aps, users will be allowed to post anonymously, and all users will not suffer from any privacy violations that are usually committed by the so-called “free” sites. UmeNow claims that it gives users the “power to connect and share without risk”.
Right off the bat, the site sounds like social networking utopia. Remember, however, that the reason why Facebook can afford to support 600 million users and still remain free to use is because it offers ads and several other services to third parties. If we can post about what we had for lunch and have all our friends informed, it’s because we see ads on the sides of our screens and because Facebook is actually interested in such data.
UmeNow won’t be using any of Facebook’s tactics to generate income. What it will ask for, however, is a monthly subscription fee of $6. They give a free one month subscription, but after that the user will have to pay.
Ultimately, the question is: Will the average Facebook user be willing to spend $6 a month for privacy? UmeNow’s success depends heavily on a positive response to this question and the only way we’ll get an answer is to see how the site fares in the coming years.