Faceless

I must be one of the only people left in the world who isn’t on Facebook. Or in the universe, maybe, because I’m pretty sure Facebook is out there, too. All I do is blog – and even that’s pretty sporadic.

I just don’t get Facebook. Why do I have to be so available, so easy to find? Maybe I don’t WANT people that I met in my Sunday school class when I was 6 to look me up now. Maybe I don’t WANT to receive an invitation to your party en masse and impersonally along with two thousand other people who have “friended” you. Maybe I don’t WANT to see photos of you or your kids/ spouse/ dog/ mansion/ Ferrari when I haven’t seen YOU since 1987.

And maybe I don’t want to look you up, either. Maybe I didn’t like you then, so why would I like you now? Maybe I did like you when we were 15, but when you went out with my boyfriend before we actually broke up, I hated you and I’ve never gotten over it. Maybe I’m not terribly curious about whatever happened to you in any case.

Almost everyone I know thinks that Facebook is the cat’s ass, that it’s so much fun adding stuff to your own page and replying to stuff on friends’ pages. Why is it so important to put on your page stuff like your entire medical history? Just in case your best friend in Grade 6 now wants to know? Do you think he or she cares? You know, I have enough trouble thinking of topics to blog about, never mind checking Facebook and updating my bloody status every six minutes. Do I even have time for all that?

As far as communicating through Facebook, well, why? Can’t you email me or text me and me alone? Yes, I know you can send private messages on Facebook too, but isn’t that a little silly when all you have to do is open up your email program on your laptop? Or pick up your smartphone to text me? Or – and here’s a radical idea – you could CALL me! Remember phone calls? If I’m not available, suck it up, buttercup. I have voice mail too!

Friending? Defriending? Come on, if you’ve never met someone in real life, how can be friends or not friends with them? Doesn’t being a friend imply that you actually KNOW the other person? At least in the blogging world, we call each other “followers”. That makes a little more sense to me.

The lack of privacy scares the crap out of me, too. I know, I know, you can set your own parameters for privacy on Facebook, so you can be as private or open as you choose. But – and this is a big issue, I think – it is still quite possible to trace you, even if you’ve chosen the maximum privacy settings. There are people who give lectures on this very topic, most notably to parents of elementary school-aged kids, whose kids are mostly too young to be on Facebook anyway (don’t you have to be at least 12 years old?). Apparently, most of these parents are quite stunned that 1) their kids have Facebook accounts in the first place , and 2) it is pretty easy to find a kid’s real name, address, school, etc. based upon what is written on their Facebook walls and how their photos and those of their friends are tagged. It seems to be like a puzzle: follow this lead, then that one, then that one, and you will eventually find the personal info on the person you are looking for. Sometimes it takes a while, but according to these experts, it is possible almost every single time. I’m thinking: Facebook is not the safest way for a little kid to spend hours every day.

And what happens ten years down the line, when all those people who have posted all those silly photos and personal information about themselves on Facebook try to get responsible jobs? Employers check out prospective employees, and they will see those compromising photos of you and your drunken pals barfing in the alley last weekend. They will find those incriminating photos of you and your brother pretending to snort coke at that bar last month. They may even find those racy photos of you that your ex posted on their wall two years ago when the two of you were still an item. Despite your qualifications, doesn’t look like you’re cut out for a responsible job, does it? (Of course, there is the point of view that if everybody and their dog is publicizing private information and posting any and all photos, it becomes commonplace and loses any importance it has, so really, it’s no longer an issue. Maybe … but I don’t quite believe that!)

So, about Facebook? I may be in the minority, but no, thank you!

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14 responses to “Faceless

  1. I deleted my FB account a few months ago; I hardly ever went on it, never altered my status – couldn’t see the point of telling everyone I had had a bad day, or pizza for dinner. Don’t miss it and doubt I will go back. My niece explained that she had not invited me to her hen night because i ‘didn’t seem to be on FB’; I pointed out that she had my e-mail address (not to mention my mobile and home phone numbers and home address) and she seemed quite surprised at the thought of using another method of communication. Though she has managed to cope with both e-mails and texts since then without any trouble.

    • Alienne – It’s interesting the way younger people think sometimes, isn’t it? I suppose they just need reminders that world communication really doesn’t revolve around Facebook, that there are a couple of other, reasonably serviceable modes to use when trying to contact someone.

  2. Exactly, I’d rather have the real life contact than the fleeting superficial contact on Facebook. I always get the feeling that it’s very shallow and doesn’t amount to much. I’m looking for something deeper than that.

    • Nora – That’s it precisely: Facebook is superficial and shallow (and was probably never meant to be anything but that), and not a true, meaningful human connection at all. So, I suppose it does serve some purpose, but we still have to make more of an effort to really connect with one another. Friending someone on Facebook just won’t cut it!

  3. I am not a fan of Facebook either. I have an account that I never look at and never write anything on because I don’t really care to share info with a bunch of random people that I haven’t talked to in decades. The people that I do talk to, I email or text or IM if I want to have a chat with them. I do have a Facebook page for my blog that I update with posts, and I would stop that but people seem to follow it and I feel obligated to keep doing it now.

    I am glad to see that I’m not alone in my dislike of Facebook. Not everyone is really so interesting that they need to keep people constantly up to date on what they’re doing now. And now. And right now too.

    • Kimberly – Doesn’t it seem a little redundant to put the same posts on your Facebook page as on your blog, though? If people read you on Facebook, would they too dumb to find your blog, I wonder? But at least you’re not posting every little thing you think and do and say, you’re actually giving info on Costco products and services that you like – you’re a public service, you are!

  4. I think your points of objection to FB, dear sister, are extremely well considered and expressed, and I would expect nothing less from you. On the other hand, I get a kick out of FB. It has allowed me to reconnect with old friends, former colleagues and students, etc. And I am very circumspect about what I both post and what I respond to. And even more circumspect in what I reveal about myself. Yes, I do have some naughty photos of my ex. Would I post them? Never on God’s green earth. So, I’ll hang in there sporadically. And if it should ever try to bite me in the ass, I’d be out of there in a heartbeat.

    • mrwriteon – Well, of course you, my brother, would know how to use Facebook correctly, if anybody would. Keep up the good work then!

  5. I’ve temporarily abandoned my Facebook page and don’t miss it one bit. I was only keeping track of my daughter anyway. There must be better ways to keep in touch with your children. I may never go back to it. I didn’t care enough about anybody else I was ‘friended’ with.

    • Nora – Yes, what’s wrong with actually meeting your real-life friends and family to have a coffee and chat with them? And if they’re too far away for that, like your daughter, what’s wrong with regular emails or phone calls or even – gasp! – a card in the mail?

  6. I have a Facebook page. So many people said, go on Facebook, go on Facebook. I went. I played games. I read what other people had to say and updated my own status once a month. At the best of times I’d spend maybe 10 minutes a day there. Now i haven’t been in months. If I’m gonna waste time on the internet, I’ll waste it on something more interesting that “had a cup of tea, it was lovely”.

    Seriously, a) why are you telling me this and b) why should I be interested?

    Facebook, schmacebook

  7. I had a policy (when I actually used my personal Facebook page) and that was if a person didn’t contact me for a period of 6 months, I “unfriended” them. I ended up unfriending my own son. Sometimes, I wish real life was more like Facebook 🙂

    • Nicky – Well, technically, you’re not supposed to be your son’s friend, you’re supposed to be his parent, so that lets you off the hook completely!