on facebook

I hate Facebook.  Up until recently, I had plainly refused to ever join Facebook simply because I am stubborn and wanted to be annoyingly different.  However, recently, I have come to realise how much I truly dislike Facebook and how glad I am I have never given in to the many pressures and occasional temptations to join.

It’s true: it would probably be a lot easier to keep in touch with many of my friends scattered across the planet if I used Facebook.  I would know where everyone as and what they were doing and see pictures of them in front of various landmarks (i.e. Mt. Rushmore or the Sphinx).

It is also true: Moving to a new city (i.e. Wellington) and attempting to develop a social community where you know no one, have no co-workers, and no classmates, is already difficult.  In obstinately refusing to join Facebook, I have actually made it even more difficult for myself, not only to find out about events and activities, but to maintain contact with the individuals I encounter with whom I may want to pursue a social relationship.

However, despite these somewhat convincing arguments for swallowing my pride and signing up for Facebook, I continue to refuse to join.  Until recently, when asked why not, I had a difficult time answering.  In fact, I was a bit ashamed, because my reasoning seemed almost vain: because everybody else is on Facebook and I want to be annoyingly different.  Because my housemates in Montreal talked about Facebook non-stop to the point that I wanted nothing to do with it.  But, I feel now better able to articulate my reasoning for what has become my vehement dislike of Facebook.

  1. It’s a huge fucking waste of time.  The amount of shit people post on there… “I’m going to the corner store to get toilet paper then I am going to sit at home and watch ‘How I met your mother’.”  I’m sorry, but I don’t fucking care.  I have better things to do with my time, scrub the scum out of my shower, than read about the mundane banalities of your everyday life.  This includes all of the petty dramas that play out on Facebook and the whole notion of “Cyber-bullying”.  It’s bad enough these kinds of small-minded jealousies or arguments have to happen in real life on the secondary school playground, but for grown adults to perpetuate such behaviour in a globally public online environment, most likely when they are at work and getting paid to be doing other work, is just embarrassing.
  2. The insular nature of Facebook.  Hello. Not everyone in the universe is on Facebook.  When you make it impossible to access information or contact you through other channels, you are effectively limiting yourself, your organisation, or your business.  If I can’t participate in your event because I am not on Facebook… I probably don’t really want to go to your event.
  3. Facebook makes you lazy.  I think it’s important to keep in touch with your friends and family.  So much that I dedicate a great deal of time to writing, both physical analogue letters, and e-mails, as well as telephoning (though I will admit I am not the best about phoning) those whom I call near and dear.  I also make a great deal of effort to send regular updates about my life, plans, and current location to nearly everyone I know.  I also spend some time writing this blog, which I hope you find well written articulate, and somewhat interesting, so that people I don’t get to see on a regular basis can still have an idea about what is happening in my little world.  I am not hard to get a hold of.  I have had the same e-mail address since 2001.  I also (now) have a cell phone. If you want to get in touch with me, it doesn’t take a lot of effort.  You don’t have to hand write a letter and physically go to he post office between 9 am and 4 pm and buy a stamp and send it to me by a slow boat.  But, you do have to take a few seconds of your time to think “Ok, I want to get in touch with Nicole”, and then call and/or e-mail me.  If that is too much work, seriously, I don’t know if I really want to be your friend.
  4. Facebook’s lack of privacy.  I am not familiar with the exact details but I do know that Facebook sells your personal information to various businesses and that is how they make money.  I don’t agree with that.  In addition, I don’t understand the need to broadcast on a public forum the intimate details of personal communication between 2 people.  In fact, it really annoys and irritates me when people will only communicate with me through a public forum.  To me, that seems like vanity.  I would rather my conversation with you be private; I have no desire to make a private conversation, relevant to only 2 people, publicly available.  What is the point of that?  I not a particularly private person, but I do think that personal correspondence is best done privately.
  5. Facebook decreases your productivity.  Of course, this is quite closely related to point #1.  I know how easy it is to procrastinate.  I can literally spend hours comparing recipes on epicurious.com and looking for the perfect cardigan knitting pattern on ravelry in lieu of doing any work.  I do not need an extra incentive to procrastinate.  My office is directly next to the SIM postgraduate students’ computer lab.  When fetching my printing, a teapot refill, or heading to the loo, I often notice that somewhere between 70 and 80% of the computers in use are being used to access Facebook.  I have actually observed and calculated these similar statistics in VUW’s central library, as well as most other computer labs in a number of tertiary institutions.  Sometimes the figure can be as high as 9 out of 10 users on Facebook.  The amount of time these individuals spend on Facebook must limit the amount of time they can spend on legitimate, productive engagements.

That all being said, and hopefully said well so that I don’t just sound like an asshole, when I was invited to join Google+ I did so, simply because I didn’t really know what it was.  Now, after using it a bit in the past two weeks, I feel like I may have to cancel my account.  However, I do use Google, Gmail, Gchat, and Picasa web albums already, and frequently share information with groups of people.  However, it basically just seems like Facebook to me.  I still haven’t quite made up my mind about the Google+, but irregardless, you can get in touch with me anytime, and share your shit with me anytime too, which I hope you will do, so long as it’s somewhat interesting and/or funny.

That being said, I am not against social networking online.  I am a member (though not very active) of academia.edu.  I used to have a myspace account, and I also once used linkedin (at my aunt’s suggestion for helping me get a job).

Last night, after some one mentioned something about getting information about plans for an August birthdays party on Facebook, and I replied “Oh, I’m not on Facebook”, they responded “What century are you from?”, to which I replied, “The future! Where people don’t use Facebook!”.

Oh, and I’m sorry, call me a cynical bitch, but I also hate pictures of cats.

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One thought on “on facebook

  1. Ironically, I went to click like, which I think emerged with facebook, though I can’t say I went and verified if it was indeed facebook that first introduced the idea of liking scribbles of text. Oh, look, I can like this. Huh, and apparently I’m signed in as Mechanical Tempest. And agreed, down with the cats!

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