Before I get started I want to state that I am in no way a luddite. Funny I say that yet I still read the majority of my books in a very tactile, pressed wood pulp form, I don’t own any iDevices, and I have actually met all of the “friends” I have in person. I love technology, I embrace it… if there is a gadget, phone, game, or other electronic doodad that you have seen in a shop window or grimy little palms of some spoiled child then chances are that I either own it, have owned it, or have spent hours at a store playing with it. I mean you are reading a blog designed and hosted by me for instance. Technology has definitely transformed my life for the better. That being said, I still cannot get myself to rejoin the book of face.
Facebook has recently reached over 800 million members (think 1/10th of the global population) with no sign of stopping. The firm is about to have an IPO and make more millionaires in a single day then any point in history. Facebook is no longer a website, but a full on techno-cultural trend.
I was actually a Facebook member within the first month it was opened up outside of university only members. Remember back when Facebook still required an email address from a U.S. university? My entire stint on the site lasted maybe three months. It is hard work keeping up with people’s every pointless musing, drunken photo, and idiotic tangent. After a number of weeks I also realized that my “friends” list had swollen to include people I had met maybe one time and could barely remember. Knowing what I would consider extremely personal details about people I barely knew what a bit disconcerting and forced me to ask myself what am I really letting the world know about me? There was also the element of being “friends” with two people that don’t really like each other. It is much harder to keep the peace on the interwebs, versus just separating groups of friends in real life.
Anyway, given my current lack of facebookery I am now one of the digital outcast, a binary pariah, one of the few people I know that is not on Facebook actively sharing every detail of their life with an ever growing group of acquaintances on my wall. At least I am not completely alone in my avoidance of “the social network”. The New York Times has an interesting article on a growing subset of the U.S. population that is either leaving, or just not signing up with Facebook. The major highlight was that it is not a tech adverse generation, but rather very tech savvy young adults the are looking to keep their friendships a bit more… real. Note that this is a US phenomenon at present, but the unstoppable book of face has just started reaching out to the rest of the world with Latin America and the far east about to be poked.
Thank you, but no thank you Zuckerberg, I will keep my friends of friends at arms distance in real life. Facebook… pshhhhh.