Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Also Said I'd Never Start A Blog AKA Should I Give Up And Join Facebook?

Recently it's been dawning on me that I ought to climb a little further out of my own hole. However, I have yet to be convinced that I would benefit from joining this contraption they call "Facebook." Slate's Farhad Manjoo has written an article just for me:
Though your ranks dwindle daily, there are many of you. This is understandable—any social movement that becomes so popular so fast engenders skepticism. A year ago, the New York Observer interviewed a half-dozen or so disdainful Facebook holdouts. "I don't see how having hundreds or thousands of 'friends' is leading to any kind of substantive friendships," said Cary Goldstein, the director of publicity at Twelve Publishers. "The whole thing seems so weird to me. Now you really have to turn off your computer and just go out to live real life and make real connections with people that way. I don't think it's healthy." I was reminded of a quote from an Onion story, "Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own a Television."

Friends—can I call you friends?—it's time to drop the attitude: There is no longer any good reason to avoid Facebook. The site has crossed a threshold—it is now so widely trafficked that it's fast becoming a routine aide to social interaction, like e-mail and antiperspirant. It's only the most recent of many new technologies that have crossed over this stage. For a long while—from about the late '80s to the late-middle '90s, Wall Street to Jerry Maguire—carrying a mobile phone seemed like a haughty affectation. But as more people got phones, they became more useful for everyone—and then one day enough people had cell phones that everyone began to assume that you did, too. Your friends stopped prearranging where they would meet up on Saturday night because it was assumed that everyone would call from wherever they were to find out what was going on. From that moment on, it became an affectation not to carry a mobile phone; they'd grown so deeply entwined with modern life that the only reason to be without one was to make a statement by abstaining. Facebook is now at that same point—whether or not you intend it, you're saying something by staying away.
That's me all right. I didn't get a cell phone until 2005. And even then, I tried to leave it off. Now I realize I was just clinging to some meaningless standard of non-conformity. But still...Facebook? I'm just not feeling it yet. First of all, I don't want a bunch of people from high school and college hunting me down. Secondly...well the first one pretty much covers it.

So what do you guys think? Am I being stubborn? Is Facebook a waste of time? As far as I'm concerned, I've already got a Facebook page, and its name is...Cosmic American Blog.

1 comment:

Herr Zrbo said...

Great post. I reluctantly joined Facebook about a year or so ago because some Austrian friend sent me an invite and I wanted to keep up with her. I've had the profile for over a year now and still haven't put up a picture. I just never use it and have no idea what I'm supposed to do when I get there (goodness, I sound like an old man).

I got into Myspace a few years ago back when it was still popular because I wanted to keep track of VNV Nation. I used it for about a year but then started checking it less frequently, now I check it once a month maybe. That's why I've never really used my Facebook account, I had tried using Myspace but it just boring to me. I didn't get the point.

Now my girlfriend just joined Facebook this past weekend and has been using it like crazy. She's already got about 50 friends, all her friends from back home who were already on it, and within 5 minutes of her first logon was already IMing with some girlfriend of hers back in Minneapolis! Crazy.