Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Facebook Status: Not On It

Why I'm not on Facebook:

"Friend?" I believe it was Paul Rudd who said so rightly, "If I wasn't friends with you in high school, I don't want to be friends with you now." I understand morbid curiosity (who doesn't wonder about old flames). But who wants people you have to take out your high school yearbook to remember involved with so much intimate detail in your life? Quality, not quantity, is what I value. I take issue with their use of the word "Friends." I really treasure friendships, and don't think it's about some ridiculous numbers game.

Too much information in our information age, and not of the quality kind. I agree with Betty White's Saturday Night Live monologue: it sounds like a total waste of time. A friend of mine said of the overdose of information people provide constantly throughout the day (what they ate for lunch, are they vacuuming, did they just grocery shop), when she asks "How's it going?" she wants to know in life, not what you just did in the last hour. There was an article some time back warning not obesity, but vanity is America's new epidemic in part because of sites like Facebook. I tend to agree.

Like so many I know, I long for days of just catching up over coffee, writing a long letter (even in e-mail form), having a nice long chat on the phone. One of my least favorite four letter words: busy. Everyone seems too busy to make time for people anymore, and catching up with friends to me isn't knowing that they're at the gym.

Maybe it's our youth obsessed culture, but adults seem to be behaving more and more like teenagers. A 10 minute wait at a restaurant? People are whipping out the gadgets since one can no longer just sit with their thoughts. Perhaps the status is: 10 minute wait at the pancake house.

Just say no: to mass thought. Partly, I'm a stubborn, independent minded Scorpio who tends to not want to do things everyone else is doing, but I'm also a little disturbed by the idea of mass thought.

Ridgewood, New Jersey middle school Principal Anthony Orsini boldly told parents of young teens this in a mass e-mail: "There is absolutely, positively no reason for any middle school student to be a part of a social networking site!...They are simply not psychologically ready for the damage that one mean person online can cause, and I don't want any of our students to go through the unnecessary pain that too many of them have already experienced." Read more.

As someone who personally experienced bullying as a young teenager, I cannot imagine having to go through it with my tormentors having Facebook as an additional tool. I also think Orsini's comments speak to the mass thought of doing something everyone else is doing and that no, it's not a necessity to be on Facebook just because that's what everyone else subscribes to.

I don't doubt the positive aspects of Facebook in helping artists, social justice movements, promoting small businesses and the like. But it's just not for me, and if that limits getting the word out about my blog (and I know other bloggers not on Facebook feel the same), so be it.

I am proud to be among the numbers not on Facebook.

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