I read a post recently (sorry, I forget whose it was) that talked about the appropriateness of "friending" various types of people on facebook and how that line is sometimes a bit shady.
I don't have a Facebook. Occasionally, I have had doubts about staying away from Facebook. Many of my friends have Facebook pages and have tried to convince me to join. I have never actually faced peer pressure that much before and my god, it is one of the hardest things to not succumb to especially if it is not something too dangerous that they are pressuring. But after reading innumerable accounts of haywire posts on Facebook and this last post that I mentioned I am certain that I have made the right decision. I'd like to share.
My number one point that I dislike about Facebook is what bugs a lot of people - privacy. I don't care about what the company says about improving security settings and all that. Unfortunately I can google peoples' names and find posts of theirs on Facebook even though I cannot access their account. On more than one instance that I tried this, I found a post that potential employers probably would not like to read. It is very difficult to make Facebook like email where only people you trust can see what you so openly and casually write. Many people consider Facebook as their primary means of communication between close friends and family. It's great, but it's dangerous. Not everything that you share with your family should be shared with your friends and vice versa. Sometimes what you want to share is to a very nit-picky set of people and Facebook doesn't allow that. It is way too easy to just post something and realize later the consequences of it, even though it had no value.
From what I have heard about Facebook, many people use it to share photos. Why not use some other tool for that? Picasa or Jalbum or the sort? For writing, I just simply disagree that Facebook is the proper form. Not only does it break down lines of privacy, but it also breaks down any intimacy. I remember even when email came out, people thought that was totally emotionless writing. It is why that when I thank people for anything, I handwrite my notes. Now Facebook is overpowering email. Email has more intimacy than Facebook. When I email a friend about something that has happened in my life that has caused a certain amount of emotional turbulence, the stuff I write is most definitely something cringe-worthy. However, I have that sense of relationship with that friend and I know that it will not be forwarded to the rest of the world. What we wrote stays between us forever. Not so with Facebook. If I were to do the same, who knows who will read that post? And by the time you realize, it may be too late.
So, I guess that last point stresses first impressions. Jumping to conclusions is something Facebook stresses because of its open nature. To those who use Facebook, I wish I could tell you to be careful, but you will not heed my advice. It leads me into my next point which is how it allows youngsters to register even though they are at an age that they know nothing about the cruelty of the world. They do not know or understand these intimate emotions and I personally think it is detrimental to their mental learning. Brevity is not always the best for writing. Good writing is eloquent and engaging. Good writing incite emotions in people while brevity kills them. Youngsters do not realize what impact writing can have and by allowing them input it to the world at such a young age, we are being careless. Protect them a little while longer. We should teach them how to write before we allow them to join the ultimate social network.
My last point about Facebook is one that a lot of people don't understand. I like having a few, close friends not tons of impersonal ones. To me, having one hundred people friend you on Facebook is more of a way to increase your self esteem. It makes you feel popular. Temporarily. What I enjoy from my friends is respect for being me. I can be me and they like it that way. My nuances and glitches are apparent to my friends and they accept me for that. To me, friends are the greatest gift. I can honestly contact them anytime when I need help. They are there to support me because they believe in me. And I only have a few. If a friend is worth keeping, then it shouldn't have to be kept over Facebook. Someone who randomly contacts you 20 years later on Facebook isn't one worth keeping in my opinion. I would like my friends to stand by me the whole time - even if it means that we do not have constant contact. A friendship bond should be bigger than contact - it is about giving something up for that person and being there when he/she needs it the most. Other than that, friends are more of acquaintances. People that I say hi to if I see them.
Perhaps I am bit harsh on what I expect from friends but I do not hesitate to say that I would do the same for them. For these reasons, I am extremely proud and happy that I have been obstinate about not getting a Facebook page. And guess what? I never have to complain about how addicting it is! I can put my time into something more meaningful... perhaps another post on this blog :)