Thursday, January 15, 2009

To Facebook or Not to Facebook

As you might be able to tell from the sub-title of this blog, I don't have a Facebook page. I have three primary reason for not participating:

  1. I really do think I am too old for it. Facebook began as a way for Generation Y (or are they Gen Z now? Gen AA?) to connect with each other. I am fundamentally disconnected from that generation - I don't know many of them (just family really), so anything that would connect me more to them seems like a weird attempt on my part to become more like them, to get younger. That feels creepy to me. And funny, too. My wife's father and my boss have pages, and they are both over 60. My first reaction when I heard they had Facebook pages? I laughed to the point of wetting my pants. I don't want other people to have the same reaction towards me.
  2. I just do not want to be that accessible. There are a lot of people out there I don't want to deal with. Having a Facebook page greatly reduces my ability to not-connect with those people. Some dude from high school I sort of knew? How should I handle their friend request? "Um, thanks, but I have been able to survive the past 15 years without having the slightest idea what you have been up to, so I think I will try to go a little longer and see if I can make it. If I find myself unable to live another day without knowing what you are doing very second of the day, I will let you know, and we can be friends." There's a Seinfeld episode where Jerry gets introduced to a new person and Jerry decides that he doesn't need anymore friends - he has enough. I feel the same way (and yes, I realize that being such a Dick in a public place increases the chance that I will have fewer friends now, but this is simply the truth).
  3. I don't need one more thing in my life that I need to carve out time to take care of. My wife stated that this was her reason for not participating early on, and this was her number one fear as she was creating her page. It seems to me that maintaining a Facebook page is more work that I don't need. I would rather be playing mandolin or Xbox or impressing liberal views upon my daughter. What if she turns into a Republican because I was poking or tagging "friends"? What kind of a father would that make me?

Yet the urge is there, and it grows stronger everyday. I have a strong conformist streak within me, and I can feel the pull of Facebook like the Millennium Falcon in the Death Star's tractor beam. There's an interesting article on Slate today that outlines many of my objections even better than I can. But the author also extols the virtues of Facebook, and I think they are important. One of my goals at work this year is to learn about social networking sites, and discover how 21st century marketers can put them to use. This idea was applauded by my boss, and I have been wondering since then, "will I be able to research and learn about these sites without actually participating on them?" I am not sure yet, but I think I know the answer. My sister-in-law called it awhile back: "You're going to get a page. I know you will."

There another interesting article on Slate today discussing the impending crossroads that Google and Facebook will reach. I believe that sometime in the not too distant future Google will DOMINATE the web in ways that are hard to imagine right now. Maybe I can wait it out, and instead of a Facebook page, I can get a GoogleFace page instead...

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