Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More than 800,000,000 use Facebook. Why don't I?

(Gasp! Whispers! "He doesn't have a Facebook page?" "How could you not be on Facebook?" "Dude, it's 2012, get with the times." ).

I have never been one to do things simply because everyone is doing it. In fact, when I was younger if everyone was doing something that was good enough reason for me to not do it. I have vivid memories from junior high of walking down the hall wearing tie died shirts and telling my friends that I was listening to Freakie Styley by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on my Walkman. Oh the looks I got!

This brings me to a long running conversation with a friend regarding why I don't have a Facebook page. Honestly, for the longest time, I didn't even realize I didn't have a Facebook page. Nor did it occur to me that it mattered. Increasingly, however, as social media evolves further into every day life I am realizing that this issue is deserving of some further consideration.

The first indication beyond my conversation with my friend (who you will meet later by the way) that my absence from Facebook might be worthy of addressing was in a job interview when the interviewer flat out asked me "Do you use Facebook?".  (Ummmmmmm...huh?...) While I was more than prepared for that interview, I was not prepared for that question. Since then, I've thought about whether to get with the times.

So to finally address this subject, I am going to make my case for why I'm not a Facebook user:
  • Why all of the sudden would I want to be on Facebook?:  I don't quite understand the need. Is it to keep up with my friends and what is going on in their lives? To let everyone know what I am up to? To reach out to old acquaintances from the past and to allow them to find me? With the exception of perhaps a small handful of people I've lost touch with I already feel pretty connected to my friends. Will Facebook deepen that connection?
  • Time: By the time my kids are fed, bathed and in bed, my lunch is made, and my clothes are laid out for the next day (things you need to do when you get up as early as I do) I am exhausted and it's roughly 8:00pm or later. If I don't check my Facebook page then, I would have to check it and use it a lot at work, which is a habit I am wary of getting into.
  • The Decision to NOT Be Someone's Friend: Someone sends me a request to be friends and I have no interest in accepting it. When I ask Facebook users about this it doesn't seem to matter to them. They say you just ignore the friend request, which means you are also getting ignored. I am not sure I like the idea of sending someone an overt message that I don't want to be their friend nor do I want to receive that message from others.
  • Why again should I do this?: I've yet to be presented with an actual compelling reason how and why a Facebook page would improve my life. Things have been going just fine thus far without it so why start now?
  • Privacy:  While not an original reason of mine, in reading up on why others don't use Facebook I learned that there are some legitimate concerns regarding user privacy and Facebook's practices of protecting and sharing your browsing and personal information.
To present the other side of this argument I have invited my friend to write guest post supporting why he thinks I should join the nearly 1 billion people as a Facebook user. Stay tuned...

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