Facebook and Singapore; Is Facebook the New Singapore?
I’ve been following Facebook for sometime now and one of the issues they are facing is how to monetize the site; come up with ways to make money from the billion users.
It dawned on me lately that Facebook is not the first to have this problem. In recent years Singapore’s ruling party and people who are connected is doing just that. First start a country (or website), approve as many residents (or users) as practical, then monetize (make money) it.
With Facebook, I don’t mind the ads because it doesn’t bother me. People are talking about privacy issues but that is just the nature of socializing online.
Take glassdoor.com, they provide salary information on all sorts of jobs, but before you can participate you have to be willing to add in your salary info. It then becomes a community. If you are not truthful about your salary and if everyone lies then there is no value in the system and it defeats the purpose of you using the site in the first place. If you are using the site then in earnest you hope that others are truthful about their salary; as you are about yours.
Then there is Google plus, each time you post you need to specify if you are posting your update as global or within your specific circle. When you view your feeds a lot of time you also view other global updates. Twitter works about the same, view tweets from people you follow or view tweet feeds.
With Singapore, it is not a question of being bothered with the monetizing efforts, I don’t have a choice and the issue of privacy, again, I don’t have a choice; Singapore knows everything I do. In fact, it is a standing gossip that there is a file for each and every one of us. Have you ever had that feeling you are being watched?
Singapore, monetizing efforts mainly focusing on three areas: fees, fines, and taxes. Fees are imposed for driving into CBD or other designated areas. Fines like littering (SG$300) or fines for feeding pigeons (S$500). Singapore taxes anything from cars (COE) to housing. Recently if you are a permanent resident you need to pay (I think 7% more than Singaporeans when you buy your first property).
Facebook and Singapore is very strikingly similar, we might be happily using Facebook now but if something goes wrong they can simply kick us out; we don’t own the right to use it — it doesn’t belong to us. Singapore is also like that, if something is wrong you can be homeless, most people living in Singapore don’t actually own their homes. Singapore owns most of the properties via HDB and more than 80% of us simply lease it from Singapore.
Sadly there is one difference that I can think of, if I’m not happy with Facebook I can switch it off. If I’m not happy with Singapore what can I do?