Find Me On Facebook
Posted by Jamie C. Baker
I was on MySpace back when you could only have 8 photos and a handful of top friends. It took me a while to get into it, but it became a nice way to keep in touch with people from high school and see how people were doing. The more room MySpace gave for photos and opportunities to meet the masses of members it accumulated, the more probability a person would fall into a pattern of using it to stroke their ego and get into trouble. People became obsessed with getting multiple comments on photos, even posting captions like “Comment me and I’ll comment back!” Single people and some in relationships gave into the temptation to flirt with people from afar, taking it as a compliment when random people would call them hot or sexy. Some began using MySpace as a way to become famous, or at least feel like they were. It lost its appeal for me shortly after I got married.
The new king of social networking is now Facebook, with an insane amount of members and activity. I’ve been a member of Facebook three times; two of those times I took it seriously and tried to get into it, the third was just to view a contest and my account was deleted immediately afterward. The two times I tried to get into Facebook were both a waste of time. The first time I discovered how easy it was to locate people and for them to locate me; I had a barrage of people contacting me that I had either not spoken to in years or that I was never friends with, or sometimes both. It was fun at first until I began getting contacted by people who had wronged me in the past for a variety of reasons and who were simply being a nuisance, so I deleted my account. The second time was fun at first, but began to get frustrating when people from my past would express interest in talking only to immediately drop off the radar and remind me again why I don’t speak to them anymore. There was also a great deal of drama that I simply don’t have time for, so I again deleted my account. Sadly, from what I’ve read about Facebook, I have no doubt that one or all of my profiles are still floating around out there somewhere.
Social networking can be fun and it can be a great way for people to stay in touch. So can my cell phone or email or going out to dinner with friends. Currently the only networking site I use on a regular basis is Twitter, but I do have a Google+ profile that I check two or three times a week. The nice thing about Twitter is that it’s a tiny bit of information at a time from only the people I choose to hear from, it’s easy to ignore if I’m not in the mood without offending anyone, and it’s much harder for people to strive for attention since there are no “Like” buttons or any option to comment on tweets other than replying or retweeting. Google+ is quiet so far, but has the appeal of being secure and allows me to share things only with the circles of people I choose to, allowing me to be as open or private as I choose. I’ve also had the pleasure of not experiencing unwanted contact from people on either site and enjoyed the ease of blocking the few people I choose not to hear from.
People tend to act shocked when I say I’m not on Facebook. I used to be shocked that people expected me to be on there and acted as if I was committing a cardinal sin by not being a member. I simply don’t see the point. I’ve been out of high school for 12 years now and if I haven’t talked to you in those 12 years, why do I want to talk to you now? Sure, it’s fun for a minute to laugh at the chick who used to make fun of me because she’s gained 100 pounds and lives in an awful apartment, but is my time really being well spent mocking people I haven’t dealt with in years? I don’t need any validation from people so it’s pointless for me to care about how many people like my photos or comments. The only thing I feel that I miss out on by not being on Facebook are the various contests that are Facebook only, places that ask you to like their page in order to enter a contest or to check their page for exclusive information.
Another reason for my anti-Facebook attitude is Mark Zuckerberg’s mouth. He’s been quoted as calling users “dumb fucks” for submitting their information to him. He’s also been quoted as saying that “blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people.” A Facebook employee has said that Zuckerberg doesn’t believe in privacy. Recently, he’s tried to lay the blame elsewhere, saying other sites violate your privacy, but people attack Facebook because of its transparency. Given that he insulted Google+ as trying to be its own little version of Facebook, I don’t put much stock into his comments, especially since I have never felt uncomfortable and exposed on any site except for Facebook.
Unfortunately, Facebook has also become a great place to go if you’re looking to step outside of your relationship for a while. People take advantage of the ability to become who they truly want to be online and have the options of talking to as many people as they choose. The fear of rejection is nearly extinct when you’re not face-to-face with someone and the temptations are great when you’re faced with your old crushes and boy/girlfriends. I’ve read through a site dedicated to stories of cheaters who used Facebook to find new love; it’s gotten so bad that lawyers are using the site in divorce proceedings to showcase the unfaithfulness of a spouse. It’s beyond simple to log in and seek out what you feel that you’re missing in your own relationship, much simpler than actually taking the time to talk to your loved one and fix the problems you have or just leave them prior to beginning your search for new love. There’s also the danger of getting a little too carried away; what one person could see as harmless banter their spouse could see as blatant flirtation.
Facebook can’t be blamed for the choices people make, but the fact that so many people are carrying on this way makes it easy for me to turn away from the site. My husband and I have obviously dated others prior to getting married and I suspect that the majority of them are floating around on Facebook somewhere. It’s safe to assume that if we both were on the site, at least one of our exes would shoot us a message eventually or comment on a cute photo or any other seemingly innocent type of contact. It could go nowhere but there’s also the chance that our ex could decide to cross a line and try to arrange a meeting or steer the conversation to a place it shouldn’t go. If a couple isn’t strong enough, there’s a huge possibility that this new attention could result in reciprocation and eventually a broken relationship. Before my husband and I got serious, there was a female that would leave lovey messages on his MySpace page and it bothered me immensely, so I can’t imagine how I’d feel if one of his ex-girlfriends decided to lay it on thick on his Facebook page.
I don’t fault anyone for being on Facebook, nor do I think any less of them for being a member. I only want the shock of me NOT being on it to die out. It doesn’t matter to me how popular it is or will be in the future, it’s simply not for me. My husband is amazing, I love my small circle of friends and I enjoy the people I interact with on Twitter and that alone is enough for me. I don’t need you to click a button to “like” my photo in order for me to feel pretty, nor do I need you to comment below my status updates for me to feel like I said something important. As of this very moment, the site’s statistics say there are 800 million people registered to the site and the average user has 130 friends. Perhaps I’m the crazy one here, but I don’t need to be connected to 800 million people and I sure as hell wouldn’t know what to do with 130 friends. I’m Facebook free and quite happy about it.