Am I the only person who thinks there's something wrong with Yahoo 360º? I'm not saying it's a bad concept as a social networking hub. In fact, Yahoo is in a great position to leverage their tools from photo sharing, avatars, blogging, sharing friends lists (social networking), website customization and potentially a lot more in the future. They were able to do this with an instant user base of millions of yahoo messenger users that have signed up for the beta. Not bad considering there are dozens of other sites that offer more or less the same service and have been in this game far longer than Yahoo. But that's not the reason why I do not like the idea. Turning something design for a certain purpose into something else entirely will certainly have repercussions.
There's a lot of things I don't like about 360º in a privacy point of view. I am in fact a 360º member but only because I don't know how to shut it off. I just deleted all my friend list (after discovering to my horror that some of my friends have very strange friends of their own profile-wise in 360). Receiving a note that so-and-so wants to be your 360º contact seems innocuous enough but this sharing of the friends list automatically without warning pissed me off. Sure that's the whole point of 360, being able to share your friends with other friends. I'd like to keep my friends list private thank you very much, just as I don't care who the friends of my friends are. If I wanted social networking I would have gotten a friendster account a long time ago or a MySpace account or from dozen other similar sites. I don't think some people knows just how much information they are sharing just by activating their 360 just judging from the... errr... “interesting” photos posted all over. If in the past people would think that the profile photos they use in Yahoo are viewable only by the people in their friends list, now that isn't the case anymore. It's viewable by anybody that knows the URL of the 360º profile of anybody in his friends list. The reason why I don't think some people know this is the proliferation of err... shall we say “indecent” profile photos all around 360º. I think that they never intended those photos to become viewable in the public space. After all, before 360º, these same photos was only seen by a select few. So what does a member of 360º to do? Well, If you really still want to use the service without any offensive content in your homepage, you can pick your "public" friends carefully with nice clean profiles and tell the rest that "I'm sorry I can't add you to my friends list because you are friends with people with indecent/bordering on the pornographic content". Call me a bit anal and a control freak but I don't want links and content that I have no control over. I'm even campaigning to friends and family members not to sign up. I personally think yahoo 360º is a can of worms that wasn't really properly thought through particularly on the impact on the existing user base. It's a shifting of paradigms from what it was initially designed to what they want it to be. The implication may not be as trivial as some would think.
It's a good thing that I have another yahoo ID where I have all my indecent pics... errr... you do understand I was joking right? Hehehe.