Monday, July 12, 2010

A Status Update:

This afternoon I started a Facebook page.

Now don't get excited and go looking for me there. If I've done it properly, you shouldn't be able to find me. Which, I know, kind of defeats the purpose.

But, the thing is, it's not for me, it's for a class I'm teaching next semester, just an information conduit for the students, to save them having to wade through the university email system to get info about what's going on in the course. I'm told that several of them use Facebook quite often.

And nothing more.

You see, the thing is, I don't do Facebook. I'm one of those deeply suspicious and slightly paranoid types who just blanches at the thought of putting a 'personal profile' up online for all to see. Or even for those I choose to let in. The idea of being 'tagged' in photos that I have no control over irritates the life out of me. It's why I like blogging, I think. So setting up an account for this class is really a step into a frightening new world for me.

There are a few other reasons I don't 'do' Facebook.
  • Time. I have precious little of it to play with as it is. And from what I've seen, Facebook is one of those things which has the potential to just suck down hours and hours of your life, if you are the type of person to get obsessive about these sort of things. Which I am.

  • Privacy. I read an article on Facebook somewhere recently. I think it might have been in Time magazine, but aren't completely certain. It had a lot of stuff in it about how the rise of Facebook has 'redefined privacy'. That's fine, but I liked the old definition. I already run a blog, a website, a reading and writing profile at Goodreads, and have a slight addiction to Twitter. And I think that's about as much of me as the internet deserves.

  • Good old fashioned ludditeism. You know, for someone as oddly fascinated and addicted to technology as me (gently strokes iPad, which hasn't left my side for a week), I've got this little thread of my personality that just plain distrusts technological change. I fight against it, but every now and then it rears its ugly head. I suspect this is one of those occasions.

  • Plain and simple pig-headedness. This is another of those traits of mine. I think mum must have overdone it with the old "Just because everyone else is jumping off a bridge, doesn't mean that you should..." type of wisdoms when I was a kid, because I can tend to be, well, rather contrary. And the more people tell me I really should do something, the longer I'm likely to hold out against it. I was the third last person in the universe to get a mobile phone. I was still using dial up internet in 2005.

  • **See below
Of course, I know that I'm in an increasing minority, but that doesn't bother me. I also know that there are a lot of very good reasons for joining Facebook, and that a lot of people get a whole pile of pleasure from being members. I know about people for whom Facebook or other social networking sites have been - quite literally - lifesavers, and for whom the opportunity to build and maintain online relationships with other people has allowed them to escape their own circumstances and live comparatively normal lives.

So this isn't in any way an attack upon Facebook, nor upon those who use and love it. It's more an observation that social media is many things to many people, and that it's a good idea to be a little choosy when selecting the various aspect of your online persona. And for me, Facebook just doesn't sit well.

Now Twitter, on the other hand....

*In the interests of disclosure, I should also add that when I eventually fold on these things, I tend to fold rather hard. For example the fact that until 6 months ago I was a militant PC user, and held Mac products in complete and utter disregard. Now I own all of them. Now that I've dabbled in the dark arts of Facebook, it's quite possible that in two weeks I'll have a full profile up and running, and will be spending 22 hours a day writing comments on people's walls, while playing Mafia wars at the same time...

** I should also probably add 'ignorance' to the list. I'm not fully cognisant of the ins and outs of Facebook, and can't be bothered becoming so. It would be a good idea to read everything in this post in the light of that fact.


  1. Bravo! Every time I hear another person say they refuse to go on facebook, my heart lightens a little, like a fairy getting its wings. Aww. I regretfully still have mine, complete with all the three hundred "friends" I added from school that I never want to see again. So now, instead of going in and deleting it, I kind of... hide from it. It's a strange feeling, like creating a kind of clone of yourself to go out into the world and do all your chores for you, only to find that it has you in its grasp and won't let go.

    So - one bravo, and one BOO HISS! for the Mac conversion! Really, how COULD you? Was it the iPad? Is it really as 'crazy powerful' (ahem) as the ads claim?

  2. Actually, to be honest, the whole 'frienfing' and 'unfriending' aspect of it, as well as the feeling of social obligation, are two of the other big Arguments against it, from my point of view..

    And as for the iPad - words cannot describe the beauty of this machine. Can. Not. Describe. (caresses iPad).

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. I am on Facebook and, as you know, Twitter. And I blog. But I have a cunning plan.

    Sometime soon, before I go forth and multiply, I plan on quitting Facebook and Twitter. I am going to use only my blog & my email to "connect" or "network". And I am going to write more letters.

    I just have to work up to it.

    Sell me an ipad. Do I want one?

  4. That sounds like a great plan. Will you write me a letter? Please? It's years since I got a letter which didn't demand money, in some form or other.

    And as for 'do you want an iPad' well, I think I might just have to make that my blog topic for today :)




Blog Widget by LinkWithin