Facebook-resistant need to wake up
The few who continue to resist joining Facebook consistently show some startling misconceptions. Refusing to embrace new ways to connect with others, they begin a series of misinformed excuses. “Time,” perhaps, “privacy”, “complicated”, even “pointless”. Wherever it starts, though, it always descends into the same ignorant theme: that it can be labelled as some sort of “trend” from which they want to be at a distance.
This is not an issue of conformism. There is nothing to gain from labelling Facebook “the work of the devil” and washing one’s hands of it. But there is everything to lose. Facebook’s success relies on the simple truth that finding, connecting with and communicating with people is so much easier on it—to paraphrase, it is incredibly useful. By burying their heads in the sand, the reactionaries are missing out.
Missing out, though, does not mean missing out on eaten-up time. Facebook in its purest form (that is, with wasteful applications blocked) is a utility, and like all utilities, it helps users make efficient use of time. Because people share the nows and whats on Facebook, which relays the information collectively through its main page, the News Feed, users can keep up with more friends and more happenings in less time. Logging on regularly takes a bit of discipline, but the benefit per minute is enormous, especially for generally busy people.
Far from driving everyone apart, then, it draws more people together. And contrary to speculations of the reluctant, Facebook does not replace physical interactions with electronic ones. It complements those interactions, makes them more lively. That memorable moment at last night’s gathering? Capture it, share it, talk about it, and watch it go from memorable to priceless. Organising an event? Promote it, share it, send invitations, take suggestions and see who’s coming. Not your perfect day? Believe it or not, people do care.
In fact, it is impossible to lead a life on Facebook without a life in person. And those with reservations about sharing their lives online have no excuse: Facebook has extensive privacy options that allow users to dictate exactly what to share with whom.
Is it possible, then, to be anti-Facebook without being anti-social? I guess it could be, but it does create a real hindrance for others in their social circles. When a friend’s not there to invite to a party, to tag in a photo, to share a link or video with, it’s like some void in place of where they’re meant to be. Facebook facilitates a sense of community and openness. We keep up with each other, get hold of each other and learn a myriad of things about each other. But it’s not the same when some people are missing.
There should be no shame in Facebook being part of everyday life. It is not something at which people can just scoff as if their distance is honourable. There are real, tangible benefits for everyone every time someone joins Facebook. No time should be wasted. Everyone should help to enlighten the Facebook-resistant.
Related earlier post
- Bebo cannot hold in the face of Facebook (9 January 2008)