Not A Facebook Fan

Thu, Jul 30th, 2009

On-line social networking not for me

On-line social networking not for me

Recently, I have received quite a few emails from people I know requesting me to view their pictures or profile on Facebook. When I click on the link to try and view them I am taken to a Facebook page informing me that I must sign-up for a Facebook account to view the pictures or profile. I don't care to become a Facebook member so I politely email the person back informing them that I can not view their page/pictures due to my reluctance to join Facebook. Why should I join Facebook or any other online social networking site? And more importantly, why does Facebook force people to sign up just to view a friends stuff?

The fact that Facebook requires one to join to view a persons profile is really annoying to me. Especially, since you know that one day (if they haven't already) they will boast about how many people have joined Facebook. This, to me is something a communist dictator would do. Force the people of their country to join their political party (or die) and then boast to the world about the numbers in their political party. Okay, bad comparison, but you get my point. Another issue I have with Facebook or any social networking site is the impression I get from these sites. They appear to me, to give off an adolescent vibe. How many of you have received one of those emails saying, "Mary Smith, (use any name) is requesting you to be her friend. Click here to visit her profile." This might have been okay in elementary school but come on people, grow up! Be her friend?! I say, get a life! I believe the emails requesting you to "be their friend" are from MySpace not Facebook which instead requests you to "be their fan". In my opinion, they both convey an adolescent vibe which I find hard to ignore. Facebook was started by a couple of young college grads to keep in touch. This explains the youthful vibe the site emits.

I realize I am in the minority here. Most people are okay with social networking sites. And some even think it's okay to post mind numbing worthless information about themselves. Everywhere I look I see references to social networking sites including on business advertisements. "Find us on Facebook" most say. So many people are on these social networking sites that corporations have determined that it's worth spending money maintaining a social network page and other related advertisement dollars. There seems to be an online social network craze these days with no end in site. Perhaps some changes though are not so far away. Recently (July 2009), in Chicago, a woman has been sued due to the content of one of her Tweets (I assume people reading this know what a Tweet is. Sorry if you don't). In her posting she complained about mold in the apartment she rented and made mention of the property management company. The lawsuit claims her Twitter posts "maliciously and wrongfully" slammed her apartment at 4242 N. Sheridan and the company managing it. Perhaps if she looses this case, the word will get out that you will be held liable for what you post online, so choose wisely about what you type. Will the quality of online content then improve? I'm certain any improvement will be negligible.

I understand that for some people these sites provide a way to make their foot-print on the world wide web. Not everyone is computer savvy enough to build their own website, willing to pay to have one created for them or has the time to do either. Most social networking sites are free to join and easy to set up. In a matter of minutes, one can join, set up a profile and send thousands of requests to everyone they know to view their page. In my opinion nothing is wrong with that; just don't assume everyone will view your page. For example, recently, a colleague who works with my wife made mention of something to her assuming my wife would know what she was talking about. When my wife asked her to explain what she was talking about, her co-worker said "Oh, you're not on Facebook?" She assumed my wife read all about her on Facebook. It's that mentality that bothers me. Not everyone will join Facebook when invited and not everyone lives their lives through Facebook. If you have something you really want to share with someone, send them an email. It's a little more personal in my opinion.

I hope this online social networking fad fades soon, but I realize that's just wishful thinking. Instead, it's likely to morph into a more mature format that more people will adopt. These sites are still very young and will grow until they invade the space of a bigger fish. As soon as they pose a threat of capturing a large percentage of a market of mutual interest, the big fish will try and eat them. Until then, I can only ignore the delirium and make an effort to not get brain-washed into joining. I have always been a black sheep and proud of it......Okay, Perhaps a tad anti-social too ; )

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