We can’t quit you, Facebook! You greedily mine the valuable private information that we naively keep generating all over your Web site for free ... yet even your latest epic run-in with your user base is unlikely to have many fleeing for the exits (or even adjusting their privacy settings).
But Facebook is only part of a larger phenomenon of online destinations that we feel compelled to visit daily, even if they don’t always treat us right when we do. Here are the top five Websites that we love to hate, but would hate to lose:
WHY WE LOVE IT: Instant Personalization issues aside, it’s social glue with an extra dose of stickiness in a world of increasingly fractured families, isolated cube workers and obsessive-compulsive virtual vegetable farmers.
WHY WE HATE IT: It sucks up hours of our time, runs rough-shod over our privacy and pulls off the neatest trick in the online world -- paying absolutely nothing for jillions of bytes of fresh daily content and marketing data ... and yet owning it all, lock, stock and barrel.
THE UPSHOT: Every time you check to see if anyone liked your Wall Post, a kitten has to actively opt out of dying.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The Gawker media empire offers up hipper versions of TMZ’s lurid gossip, a more irreverent look at sports than ESPN, some of the fastest-breaking gadget news anywhere, and more.
WHY WE HATE IT: Being seduced by Gawker’s ethos of smug, cynical round-the-clock snark will leave you very, very funny and very, very single.
THE UPSHOT: If you only have a snark hammer, every problem looks like an ironic nail.
3. Online Banking Portals
WHY WE LOVE THEM: Because going to the ATM -- or worse, waiting in line to talk to a bank teller -- to check your balance and transfer funds is so last century.
WHY WE HATE THEM: Because now our formerly once-monthly freak-outs over stupid purchases and crippling overdraft charges happen daily.
THE UPSHOT: Your checking account balance is -$43.29.
4. Google News
WHY WE LOVE IT: It filters through all the news from thousands of online media sources and wraps it all up for quick-and-easy consumption, hour after hour, day after day.
WHY WE HATE IT: Its traffic-driving superpowers are such that it has ceased collecting and aggregating news so much as it now informs reporters what they’ll be writing about that day.
UPSHOT: Our media professionals could probably be doing worse things than writing 723 versions of the same Google News story with slightly different wording. [Try to work some more keywords into that graf - Ed.]
WHY WE LOVE IT: Other people’s public Twitter meltdowns.
WHY WE HATE IT: Our own public Twitter meltdowns.
UPSHOT: Is there a therapy or drug that lets you un-know about the existence of Tila Tequila?