To some its funny that I’m not on facebook or that I really haven’t latched on to this whole social media craze (for the sake of this entry we’ll let social media meaning the facebook model). After all, these services are marketed for someone who is terrible staying connected with people, such as myself. Those who know me would think I’d be quick to sign up for something that promotes community and friendship. I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t tempted at times. The temptation has been strongest for me after I come back from a productive week-long conference, and think to myself ‘damn, that person-X had some bright ideas and was fun to hang out with. I should keep in touch with him via facebook’ or ‘I wish I could see the photos from that event’.
So what is stopping me? A couple of things are, the first being the fair of becoming a facestalker/overshare-er and the other doing with, no surprise, privacy.
I’m sure most people have seen examples of oversharing, dealing with unwanted friend requests, people ‘facestalking’ and other acts surrounding facebook that really don’t speak well for our culture as a whole. If I was in ‘the book’, I know I’d be tempted to look up exes, past infatuations, and those kids from high school who you thought you would never amount to anything— I feel at times facebook is primarily there for us to look at the car wrecks that lay along the path of our, or others lives.
Other times I hear about some of the great things people have accomplished with it, and I feel different about it. Then I read a story (or stories) about privacy and I’m back to my original paranoid self. In light of the privacy issues with facebook that came to light this past week, I’m going to skip over discussion on the whole matter. I will say this, if Facebook was publicly traded, I’d be more comfortable with using it. The idea of a privately owned / unregulated telecom (and face it, the book is practically a telecom in the service it provides) doesn’t sit well with me.
But you know what the biggest fault with my above argument is? I’m judging the walk while not actually having tried to walk the walk.
The mere fact that I don’t have a facebook account is a dangerous thing. I don’t know what others are saying about me on there, I don’t know what photos of me are floating around on it. I’m also unintentionally slapping the face of the younger demographic that swears by it. Youth, and others are using the book as their primary platform of communication. By not using it, and not having a presence I’m sending a message to the next generation that I don’t care about them— and thats far from the truth. I guess I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
I wonder if this is how our parents felt about the web when it was popularized in the mid 1990’s….
On an aside, here’s a link to a really interesting Wired article I read the other year on facebook and friends.