Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Still faceless, but feeling the pressure

I'm still not on Facebook.

But, I'm not sure how long I'll stay that way.

I've received invites from several people in the past week or two -- from a former coworker at a TV station, from a university classmate, and a grade-school/high school classmate.

I know that I've told several people my own reasons for not being on Facebook so far -- but now I'm down to bargaining with myself to see if there's a way to be signed up, yet still hold to my objections.

Today I did a google search on "why I'm not on facebook". I only got seven hits.

Other searches turned up a few results, but not much to solidly reinforce my own opposition.

One argument is that if people want to find me, I'm easily found via Google. You'll land right at bigasssuperstar.com. A poster at penmachine.com offers a similar point of view:

I have this thing about trying to keep my online existence stable, so if you link to something of mine, it will still be around in a few years. If I gave you my email address or ICQ account number in 1996, or my blog URL in 2000, it still works. I don't regularly create and abandon new blogs and podcasts, or delete them and start over. I like to have an archive that persists. Sorry if I'm weird and not cool that way.


Maus Congeniality concurs:

1. I've been on the internet a long time. Any people from my past that I wanted to find again, I already have.2. I'm already on myspace, flickr, friendster, livejournal, blogger, twitter, friendsreunited, ringo, bebo and have had - in my life - at least 5 more 'blogs' in various other places ... No wonder I get so much spam.I really, really don't need to make any more marks on the internet.3. See above: it's really not difficult for curious former schoolmates/workmates to find me online.4. I'm getting a bit old and a bit busy for social networking, although I'm sure it's plenty fun when you've got time on your hands and want to look up names you remember from primary school or whatever.

Another echo from prgirlz.com:

High school was fine. I didn't hate it, I had some good times, I made great friends. In fact, my closest friends are from those years. But I'm in touch with everyone I need to be. If I've lost touch, well, what can I say? I don't miss you! If we weren't friends then, why do we want to pretend to care about each other now, just because of this site? This site IS high school. How many friends do you have? Are people writing on your wall? Are you dating someone? Not married yet? Do you have a good job?


In my case, I've never felt very socially connected, and I never kept in touch with people who I probably could have kept in touch with over the years. That's not to say I have an urge to become close buddies with people I haven't seen or spoken with in 15 or 20 years. But I admit to being curious about how their lives turned out.

My other arguments against joining?

Well, I have a history of computer over-use dating back to the days when computers were things only nerds used. And I was a nerd who used computers, often to excess. I have a "been there, done that" attitude about some of this social-computering stuff. I had my fill of IRC and message boards and mutli-line chat before most people even had an e-mail address. I've summed it up publically as "I don't need one more thing to keep me sitting in front of a computer instead of doing useful, productive things." Kind of like a reformed alcoholic debating whether to check out the new bar that everyone's been buzzing about.

My bargaining-with-myself (or, bullshit justification for doing what I want, depending on your perspective) solution to this would be to use facebook only at home -- not at work, where I've seen it consume much of peoples' daytime hours -- and only for, say, 20 minutes a week. As much as I can find fun stuff addictive, Facebook doesn't sound like so much fun that I'd be addicted. But I'm sure some people said that about crystal meth, so...

I have no intention of becoming the sort of person who lives his or her life through the screen. I don't care to update a Facebook photo gallery with all my latest party pictures -- I have Flickr already. And for the minutae of my life, well, I already have this blog.

I feel secure enough in my self and my grounding in reality that I wouldn't believe I'm more popular or socially worthy because I have x number of "friends" on a web site.

I also have a history of being a little too open about my life. Definitely more so in the 90s than now, but I was shamelessly exhibitionistic about aspects of my personality in a "hey, look at me, aren't I interesting (if a little odd)" kind of way. As I've matured, I've gained more respect for my own privacy. I was afraid that Facebook would expose me more than I'm comfortable with, but I've since been told that the system is flexible enough that I could share just what I want and lock down the rest.

My other big public objection was that I'm not a fad-follower. I tend not to get involved with things just because they're cool. I like to be an early adopter or a way-past-the-fad adopter. It took me a long time to want to get an ipod. I only started blogging when I moved to Halifax. And I still don't have an HDTV (nor do I feel like I need one for another year or two, unless we win the IWK Lottery dream house). Well, if I'm to examine this objection, joining now would put me well outside the early-adopter Facebook crowd. It's even past the "cool" "fad" phase. It's now at a level of ubiquity at which the addicts have already become bored with it. Sounds like a good time for someone like me to get on board.

So, bottom line ... I'm thinkin' about it. I don't think I'd want the pimped-out, full-ass, here's-my-whole-life-in-pixels Facebook experience. Just a "hey, you're looking for me? You found me. Go to my web site" profile, with an opportunity to say to a few folks, "oh, hi. You're now a chemist in Lichtenstein? Very nice. Glad you remember me. Be well."

5 comments:

  1. Hi, Penmachine here. Alas, I caved in a few weeks ago and joined Facebook. My blog remains my primary online activity, but Facebook has been extremely useful in (a) connecting me to people with whom I'd long ago lost touch, and (b) keeping me up to date with what my friends are doing in a low-bother way.

    I treat it as very ephemeral, though: I delete messages I get there after I read them, and generally don't treat Facebook as anything that will last for me. But it is fun, so I'll keep it up for now.

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  2. Scott
    Just do it.
    No harm really. It is a really nice way to stay in touch.
    I only have friends added that I want to know anything about me.
    It is absilutely who you can connect with via Facebook on current matters.
    And I better be the FIRST person you add.

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  3. It is absolutely amazing who you can connect with is what I was trying to say before one of the three phones on my desk started to ring.

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  4. Well now that those of us that use the damn thing feel like lifeless losers after reading your reasons, maybe we don't want to be friends with you anymore ;)

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  5. heya...I have two cents, which you get for free! (the busybody's friends'n family discount)

    My gut reaction to your post was "wow, what a lot of words!" My second reaction was that if deciding whether or not to facebook is causing you this much dithering/anguish/self-arguing, then maybe you shouldn't. Yeah, it'd be cool to find long-lost school chums, but you know yourself best, and if you've held out this long for what you believe are good reasons, there's really no good reason for you to cave now.

    Much as I believe the world can never have enough Simpson, I want to remind you that you're already quite googleable, and if the world wants to track you down bad enough it isn't really all that much effort.

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