Why I Don't Have Facebook
If I had a dollar for every time somebody asked me if I'm on facebook, I would have enough to buy a new wardrobe. And they're surprisingly expensive.
When I say no, they always seem incredibly surprised- how could a teenager NOT have facebook? And I get the feeling the question was not in fact a question at all- it was more like a way for them to test the waters and see whether or not I'd accept a friend request from them.
Anyway, I digress. The point of this article is not to talk about people saying one thing and meaning another. This article aims to address the most common follow-up question I receive:
"But WHY don't you have facebook?"
Well, my friend**, my reasons are plentiful. And below.
You get spam emails from Facebook
I have a fake facebook profile under a fake name I use for competition purposes only. I do have a few friends on there, since random people requested me to be their friend and I decided having a few would make my account seem more legit.
Boy do I regret that decision. I started getting emails whenever they planted flowers in some virtual facebook game, and when they needed ammo or something for another game and the emails just KEPT ON COMING!
The story just goes downhill from here. They started signing me up to facebook groups, and everytime someone made a post in the group I would get an email! One day I was added to a group called "cool jokes" or something like that. I woke up to 200 emails in my inbox and was like: o.O
Now this may just be me being a technology dunce, but I couldn't figure out a way to stop these group mails from coming except by un-subscribing to the various groups one at a time. Maybe there is an easier way to make the copious amount of emails stop. But either way, it's a hassle and a nuisance.
Having the most friends on Facebook can become a competition
There was a stage where nearly every week I would overhear at least one person say something along the lines of:
"I have 572 friends."
Um. No, you don't have 572 friends. You have accepted/requested 572 people you know to increase your friends number on facebook. I truly believe it is impossible to have that many friendships- genuine friendships. Because friends are the people you spend time with, and they take work. It's impossible to maintain that many friends.
In fact, if you ever actually talked to them on facebook, I bet it would probably be something like this:
Kate: Hi James!
James: Hi Kate! I haven't seen you since we met at that dentist 4 years ago! How are you?
Kate: Fine. You?
James: I have to go cook dinner/ do homework/ go to work/ walk the dog/ talk to someone who actually matters.
Kate: Bye. Cya later!
Since this is the internet and good grammar/spelling is about as likely as Mark Zuckerberg not exploiting the private data you place on facebook to profit off you from specifically targeted ads, you can erase a few vowels and capital letters from the conversation as well.
Your Private Details May Not Be So Private on Facebook
The privacy settings can be complicated to set, and as a result some people may think their data is private but it's not.
On top of that, it's my understanding that if you are friends with somebody, you can see all the profiles of their friends, even if they are private. This means that a potentially very large group of people can see your personal information.
Building on that, your boss (or a prospective employer) could see it. Even if they don't see your profile, they can see your picture. Them seeing you drinking margaritas in a bikini or whatever other unprofessional picture you may have up could be the difference between getting a job and not getting it.
People do look for your facebook profile for nefarious reasons. Take this story: A woman diagnosed with major depression was unable to work and was receiving benefits. The insurance providers started watching her facebook page, and after she posted some photos of herself smiling they stopped paying her. Source: ABC News
Facebook Is Addictive and Wastes A Lot of TIme
For reasons that are unfathomable to me, people seem to spend hours on Facebook, most of the time speaking to people they could easily go and see in person. I think that people are spending so much time with technology, they're gradually losing the ability to communicate without it, as well as losing their social skills. Attention spans are getting shorter, and this may just be among my age-group, but people are integrating chatspeak into real life conversations. I understand that language is constantly evolving, but it seems to me it's now devolving.
Not only do people spend time talking online to people they could be talking to in person, it also seems easy to get sucked into one of the numerous addictive Facebook games, such as Farmville. These games aim to be addictive and suck you in.
In the case of Alexandra Tobias, this had a tragic outcome. The 22 year old mother's 3 month old baby was crying during a session of Farmville and Tobias was so frustrated by this that she shook the baby, who then died.
I'm sure there are other reasons people don't like Facebook, but these are the main ones for me.
*Going for full disclosure here: I actually technically do have a facebook- but under a slightly diferent name to my own, and none of my real life friends know about it. It is solely for competitions and free stuff that require you to like a page on facebook.
** I use the term friend very loosely here, since chances are I don't actually know you. Think of me as like a facebook friend.