I’m not on Facebook. Deal with it.

February 10, 2010

I admit it: I occasionally read USA Today. They have a stronghold on hotel distribution. And I don’t read the whole thing. Usually I look at the sports section first, especially during college basketball season; and I look at the news section and the opinion pages. Their editorials often display a surprisingly libertarian slant on current events. During the Bush regime administration, their “opposing view” opinion often came from an apparatchik such as Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, Ari Fleischer, Douglas Kmiec, or Herr Karl Rove himself.

But I digress. A headline in today’s print edition caught my eye: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/webguide/internetlife/2010-02-10-1Asocialbacklash10_CV_N.htm As I read the article, all I could think of was: At last, someone agrees with me.

I don’t need to try something in order to know it’s not for me. The whole premise of Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace bothers me: that I need to have my whole life on display for the whole world to peruse. Twitter is especially annoying. What am I doing right now? Well, I don’t care what you’re doing right now. Why should I expect you to care what I’m doing right now? What incredible hubris one must have to make that assumption.

Every person should be able to decide what the appropriate level of public exposure is for them. And make no mistake, it’s public. One should always assume that if it’s on the public Internet, someone can find it. A couple of years ago, a client showed me some drunken party pics of a coworker of mine on MySpace. The client and the drunken coworker had a mutual acquaintance who was also a colleague of mine.

Consider the following:

  • If the info is on the Web, someone could use it to fashion a persona patterned after me. They don’t need my national identification number Social Security number to use my identity.
  • Throughout my life, I’ve never been the one to do something because “everyone is doing it.” In fact, “everyone is doing it” is the best way to dissuade me from doing pretty much anything.
  • I’m already on Yammer, a secure intranet version of Twitter, and hardly ever use it. What makes me think I would use Twitter? Besides, 140 characters is not enough for me to say what I have to say.
  • My friends, both personal and professional, know where to look for me. They have my e-mail, some of them are linked to me professionally on LinkedIn, and some of them even come here. Hell, some of them even have…dare I say it?…my phone number.
  • The article tells the story of several people who say they simply don’t have the time any more. In addition to all the necessary computer interaction one has in a day, the social networking sites take up even more of your time, time that could be considered discretionary time just as the money you have left over after paying bills is your discretionary income.  Unlike money, though, everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, and no one can create more time where none exists.
  • If a person can find info on me, so can the government.

So all in all, I think that between this blog, my e-mail addresses, and Yammer, I have just the right amount of public exposure for me. Love Facebook? Fine. Just don’t castigate me because I don’t.

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