In business for more then 8 years, expected to hit 1 billion users in 2012, revolutionized social networking and I still get a redline when I type Facebook in Microsoft Word. Giving it the respect it deserves, a made-up word for a made-up little world that it has created. I think like me, Billy (Mr. Gates), refuses to bow down to the giant, that is Facebook*. Nevertheless, the reality of it is that Facebook has not only “revolutionized social networking” it has changed social interaction forever. Facebook has changed how we eat, drink, hang out, take pictures, make friends, have sex, not have sex and flat out live our daily lives. Its safe to say that Facebook created its own society and not being a part of that society is considered, appalling and uncivilized. Consequently, once and for all, I will declare to the world or to anyone who chooses to read this at least, why I choose not to be on Facebook.
Before I start listing my grievances I want to clear up that I do not question the usefulness of Facebook. Facebook IS actually a great tool to catch up with friends, post pictures, waste time, secure dates, and jerk it to pictures of girls at the beach/pool. I was a member of Facebook for three years and used most of its vast utilities (except for graffiti, I’m glad that fad died quickly). However, I soon realized I had joined a world, which was adding unnecessary social obligations, and accountability.
Pre-Mature … Opinions
Most humans are judgmental by nature (a scientific fact that I’ll conveniently never find a citation for). We judge everyone, people we know and we don’t know, while we sit on the metro, sit in class, work or when we just sit and people watch in general. However, Facebook takes, these judgments to the next level. It is quite a common occurrence for a fellow Facebook member to create an entire imaginary personality of another Facebook member based on one status message, picture, wall post, or even the simple like button.
Take for example the famous pastime of hanging out. A famous American tradition, whether it’s at someone’s house, bar, club or restaurant, everyone (with friends) enjoys hanging out. However, if a picture is posted, status message updated or a new friendship is formed on Facebook because of this hangout, frenzy breaks out in the Facebook community. Opinions are shared about the friends that are hanging out, where they are hanging out, what they were doing, their outfits, political views religious views, etc. If a new friendship is formed during that hangout between two single people of opposite sexes eyebrows are raised in curiosity on whether intimate relations are being pursued. Whether, positive or negative, Facebook members conveniently create opinions on anyone notable at said hangout within minutes of any update on Facebook.
These opinions and judgments are not limited to just casual hangouts, but also weddings, vacations, news articles, and of course, relationships.
The Facebook Commandments
Facebook has created many unnecessary social obligations. Facebook has made it compulsory for Facebook members to accept someone’s friendship after one hangout; invite someone random to a party just because you know that person will see the invitation on someone else’s wall; or even having to share a picture with someone just because they happened to be with you at that moment. Although all of these are annoying in its each way, none of them are as silly and needless as the obligation to announce the status of your intimate relationship with the entire Facebook community.
Prior to 2004, we all found out a person’s relationship status either through mutual friends, standing outside their window or from the horses mouth itself. However, Facebook has created a new phenomenon in regards to relationship statuses. Instead of the option of filling out your relationship status on Facebook, Facebook members create imaginary cyber pressure to update your relationship status accurately and in a timely fashion. And if a Facebok member does not update his or her status, other members automatically start to assume negative thoughts about that member. “Is he hiding something?” “Is she embarrassed of him?” “Is she still doing it with her ex?” “Did he die?” A person could be in perfect health and announcing his relationship to the world outside of Facebook, however, the Facebook community sits uneasy because they were left out.
We Find YOU Accountable
Facebook adds on piles and piles of unnecessary accountability. One little action on Facebook can cause a ripple effect resulting in needless blame, embarrassment, and/or loss of limbs. How many times has one drunkenly hit the “like” button to a picture of an unknown girl at 2 AM on Saturday night? This may not seem like a unfixable error, since you can delete your post, however, Facebook does you the courtesy of sending an immediate email to every single person tagged in that picture and telling them what exact time you clicked the “like” button. You’re stuck with that reality forever. You can’t comment on that picture explaining yourself because that would make the situation worse nor can you pretend that it never happened because there is electronic proof. That simple (creepy) “like” not only pointlessly gives every girl in that picture needless confidence but also ruins your chances with each and everyone of them.
Facebook holds you socially accountable for every status message, wall post, picture or any minor action at all …and trust me it make sure there are consequences.
Some people will read this and agree with some points and disagree with others. But I know many people will read this and think that it’s complete nonsense, and that even though they are part of the Facebook society they do not live by its rules. To those people I ask you to think about the next time you spend more then 5 minutes discussing Facebook updates with another person…
Can I bill this one to Zuckerberg? Or is he running a bit dry after the Instagram purchase?
*Yes, I wrote this before Microsoft sold AOL Patents to Facebook.