Lance Ulanoff can't help noticing that the social networking site Facebook has more than a passing resemblance to AOL just before it went down like the Titanic: disgruntled users, ill-advised and unsuccessful attempts to monetize traffic, and inflated user rolls kept artificially high by the difficulty of removing your account from the service. Facebook has finally succumbed to pressure from users to allow them to remove their information from the service, so now all they have to do now is to start flooding the world with disks with installation hardware and the transformation will be complete.
A recent report from The New York Times stated that the company is going to try to make it easier for members to get off the service. This is a clear indication that the social network's days in the sun are numbered.
I've never tried to get off Facebook, so I had no idea how difficult it is for members to walk away from the clubby social network. Apparently, you can stop visiting — I've done so for long periods of time — but removing your profile is another matter entirely. Now, however, Facebook will make it easier. You can send an e-mail to the staff and they'll do the cleanup. Too bad we can't get them to add a big "erase me" button.
As soon as you lose the cool vibe, any social networking site is doomed. It's hard to imagine anyone less cool than Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook could very well be the twenty-something's version of AOL. Is TimeWarner for sale?