Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I usually just read it over my girlfriend's shoulder anyway

As I mentioned before, I am one of the few lonely souls who still hasn't joined Facebook. Now I've got Farhad Manjoo all up in my grille about it:

Friends—can I call you friends?—it's time to drop the attitude: There is no longer any good reason to avoid Facebook. The site has crossed a threshold—it is now so widely trafficked that it's fast becoming a routine aide to social interaction, like e-mail and antiperspirant. It's only the most recent of many new technologies that have crossed over this stage. For a long while—from about the late '80s to the late-middle '90s, Wall Street to Jerry Maguire—carrying a mobile phone seemed like a haughty affectation. But as more people got phones, they became more useful for everyone—and then one day enough people had cell phones that everyone began to assume that you did, too. Your friends stopped prearranging where they would meet up on Saturday night because it was assumed that everyone would call from wherever they were to find out what was going on. From that moment on, it became an affectation not to carry a mobile phone; they'd grown so deeply entwined with modern life that the only reason to be without one was to make a statement by abstaining. Facebook is now at that same point—whether or not you intend it, you're saying something by
staying away.

Really? What am I saying? I don't want to "poke" anyone or be "poked"? I'm not especially anxious to hear from some (OK, maybe all) of the people I went to high school with? I don't want to get constant updates on what my faux-friends are doing?

I guess my bottom line is that, even though I have a blog and broadcast some of my personal life to literally tens of strangers daily, I feel like Facebook is sort of weirdly intrusive. All the updating and writing on people's walls and everyone knowing when I eat lunch just seems like a lot of work or something.

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