With every new year comes many resolutions. Usually, those resolutions are designed to change one's life for the better.
For those who are literally addicted to online social networking, a possible resolution: commit online suicide. Depending on how many accounts you have and the particular services you're looking to ditch, however, that can be a tough resolution to keep.
Fortunately, there's the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. The work of Rotterdam-based Moddr, the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine lets you log off for good without much hassle. Just provide your login details for popular Web 2.0 websites you use and the Suicide Machine can do the dirty work of essentially deleting your online profiles. On Facebook, for instance, this entails getting rid of just about everything, including your friends, and changing your password so that you can't log back in.
The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine stops short of deleting your accounts whole, but that's apparently not good enough for Facebook, which has banned IP address used by The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. The social networking giant has also sent a cease and desist letter to Seppukoo.com, a similar service that allows Facebook users to kill off their Facebook profiles.
The not-so-subtle message Facebook is sending with its aggressive response to these services: it's mortified at the spectre of its users committing online suicide en masse. The reason: even though the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine and Seppukoo.com are never realistically going to affect Facebook's active user count, they reflect growing discontent amongst many users of online social networks.
Not only are some users recognizing that they're addicted to the popular online time sinks, the negative consequences of online social networking are becoming more visible. From employers who increasingly check the profiles of prospective hires to growing security threats, there is no shortage of reasons why using a social networking isn't all fun and games anymore.
If enough users commit online suicide Web 2.0 Suicide Machine style or simply curtail their level of use and information sharing, the Facebooks of the world will find that their business models, which depend on the 'social graph' and information sharing, could find themselves fighting to maintain their position on the web.
In the case of Facebook itself, it has nobody else to blame for the suicide threat and it would probably be wise to address the root cause of the problem. By abandoning its original setup and becoming more 'open', Facebook has given users good reason to commit online suicide. The only question now is whether or not Facebook is in the process of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.