Ten Reasons You Haven’t Spotted Me On Facebook

1. The indispensability of Facebook is greatly overblown. Off the top of my head, I know that my brother, sister-in-law, son, mother-in-law, father-in-law, next-door neighbor and work supervisor don’t have accounts and none are likely to anytime soon. To reach any of these people, I either have to take a very short walk or pick up the phone. None of these people seem to be unduly suffering as a result.

2. My social networks fit into fairly distinct compartments. There are close family, not-so-close family, music friends, orienteering friends, work friends, college friends, grad school friends, faculty friends, neighbors. Mixing them all together would be completely incoherent. (If there are ways to create different access levels so that content is visible to some kinds of friends and not others, then this may not be an issue. But I have not heard any reference to this feature).

3. The thought of being contacted by someone who sat two seats over from me in geometry class in the 1980s holds no appeal whatsoever.

4. I am already easy to locate on the web. Having a unique name helps. Pleasantly, this has not resulted in my being contacted by anyone from my geometry class, and I think it’s because of the slight extra effort required to do so.

5. Facebook fosters an annoying bit of innumeracy, namely: as the number of accounts approaches the size of the population, the entire population must therefore belong. Instead, it seems to me that most new accounts are for products, businesses, events, and multiple accounts maintained by the same person, perhaps as a way of dealing with #2 above.

6. My band did have a MySpace page, but having my content surrounded by blinking ads for weight-loss products was so depressing I soon stopped logging in. Maybe Facebook doesn’t have any blinking ads, but how could it not?

7. I’m optimistic that eventually, never having been on Facebook will make me an object of envy.

8. A friend of mine was telling me about her Facebook experience – how she connected with an old college friend who broadcasts frequent and detailed updates of, among other things, everything she eats, but how it would be rude to “unfriend” her.

9. The Dear Prudence advice column (to cite but one example) is filled with stories of people who have decided to mess up their lives and their families’ lives by deciding to try and reconnect with their prom dates.

10. My job entails fair amounts of data-crunching, database programming, writing scientific articles, and communicating with co-workers by email. All of these things involve typing while looking at a lit screen. When I get home, I seek out – even crave – activities that do not involving typing while looking at a lit screen.

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