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I’ve been thinking a lot about my “online life.”  Since I received my first online capable computer (a Compaq laptop with a sweet dial-up modem) for my high school graduation in 1997, I have been addicted to talking to people, posting personal websites, photos, blogs, networking, etc, etc, etc.

But recently, I’ve noticed how different my life would be without the likes of Facebook.  No less than 537 people have access to my favorite quotes, books, movies, music, celebrities, websites, tv shows, my friends, and at least one thing that I say each day.  That’s right, I can reach over 500 people at just the click of a button.  Am I the only one that thinks that is insane?  What really irks me, is that 537 people are able to tell me just exactly what they think of me and my message for the day.  537 people now have the ability to embarrass, irritate, harass, and sexually objectify me – in front of 536 other people.

Dating is completely different now.  The minute someone learns your first and last name, they can find out anything you have carelessly posted, and they get to judge you freely, without you being there to explain that the photo of you and that guy is just a dear friend, or your brother.  Or that you don’t REALLY drink every time you go out, that’s just the only time someone brings a camera.

People I would really rather not stay in contact with are able to just shoot me a message and interrupt my peaceful life at just a click of a button.  Someone I casually hand my business card to can instantly know almost everything about me.  The guy I casually blew off at that party can now find me through his friend, ask me out (on Facebook, such a gentleman), and then write back how unhappy and disappointed he is with my response.  You can’t have acquaintances anymore – they are suddenly a part of your daily life, which is exactly what they are looking for when they look you up.

And if you choose to block information from some but not others…boy are you an asshole.  How dare you wish to keep any part of your life private?  I’ve been trying to figure out how I can still enjoy the enjoyable part of online networking, while still remaining as private as possible.  When you extend this task to over 500 people that you know in varying degrees (I actually know almost all personally, with the exception of some local political figures), it becomes rather daunting.  Yes, I know how to use the privacy features – let’s see you categorize 537 people.

Right now, my solution is to chuck Facebook.  I’m not sure I can do it, and what will probably end up happening is that I will limit the profile information that everyone can see, including daily posts.  When it comes down to it, I just don’t care what people think about the cartoon that I found funny, the fact that I had a doughnut for breakfast, my political opinions, or that photo of me and my friends getting tanked.  No one seems to subscribe to “If you can’t say something nice…” anymore so I can either stop posting those things, or remove access to them.  Decisions, decisions.

I’ve always maintained that if you’re IN my life, you’re in my life.  Facebook is not a substitute for a phone call.  Sure, it’s an ok way to send out an invitation for something casual, but posting “hello” on someone’s wall just doesn’t qualify you as a friend.

I won’t pretend that I have better things to do than troll Facebook for hours at a time.  I don’t intend to save the world, or become some sort of super-fit human being with all the time I would save.  Honestly, I like having the access to so many people – so many of whom I love and adore and miss very much.  I suppose this is a heads up – I won’t be as accessible.  There just has to be a better way to enjoy this MY way.

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2 Comments

  1. This is fantastic. I’ve been thinking of ditching FB altogether, or limiting use of it and making more of my profile private. Very insightful assessment of social networking. There isn’t anything like when one of those jackasses that you knew in the Navy finds you and tells all about how you drank too many Heinekens, and got sick on the busride back to the ship.

  2. Prospective (and current) employers are checking facebook entries routinely now. It’s cost people their jobs, or their next job.


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